I have seen that there is a petition that will be presented to Parliament in Malaysia, signed by NGOs, calling for the withdrawal of Petronas from Myanmar.
I am really sorry, but this is just absurd.
No one seems to have comprehended the first thing about business and economic influence. Not only is it near impossible that Petronas will leave Myanmar; making this demand basically futile; but it totally misses the fact that Petronas HAS influence by BEING there.
Think of it on a smaller scale. If someone is abusive to you, and you happen to know someone who is friends with that person; would you actually just tell them “stop being his friend because he is abusive”, or would you tell them “your friend is abusing me, can you please talk to him and get him to stop?”
It seems to me that, at least in terms of a political solution to the Rohingya issue, activists have been devoting themselves to essentially symbolic efforts rather than practical ones. I don’t know if this is due to insincerity or ignorance; but the result (or lack of result) is the same.
Western military support for Myanmar is minuscule to the point that it plays almost no role whatsoever in the army’s capacity to carry out the genocide. The recent bill introduced in the US Congress to prohibit certain types of military assistance and cooperation is being hailed as a significant step; though it comes after more than half of the Rohingya population has already been driven out of the country, and even though it will have zero actual impact on the army’s existing capabilities. Even this is a symbolic act.
The recent Council on Foreign Relations article talking about this bill, and what other steps might benefit the Rohingya, makes no mention of multinational corporations when listing other global actors with the power to influence the Myanmar regime; though the economic development of Rakhine state, and the creation of conditions favourable to foreign investors are absolutely the key elements driving the ethnic cleansing. The article is not discussing steps for resolving the crisis, it is discussing steps for continuing to avoid resolving it.
We are at a point now where the Rohingya issue is no longer even going to have a political solution, and it will become exclusively an issue of humanitarian relief, which will basically never end. The regime has been practical and realistic and systematic in pursuit of its agenda all along; but activists and NGOs advocating the Rohingya cause have been anything but. The word “Rohingya” is now going to be synonymous with the word “refugee”, and it will remain so for generations.