Dr. Richard Benkin Bio
Unholy alliance of radical Islamists and Communists
Stop Them Before they Kill AgainBy Dr. Richard Benkin Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Democracies never get it quite right, always responding to tyrannies too late. In 1936, Nazi troops crossing into the Rhineland had secret orders to retreat at the slightest sign of resistance; but it was only Hitler’s first land grab so we let it go.
Two years later, we let him have Czechoslovakia to fuel our false hopes that he was someone we could live with. If you find references to Nazi Germany overdone, try Biafra, Rwanda, and Darfur, where we acted only when the body bags were piled too high for us to ignore.
Well, step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the greatest offer of yours or anyone else’s lifetime. Today—and it is unfortunately a limited time offer—you have the chance to stop genocide before it happens; not before it begins. That ship has already sailed; in fact, it has been chugging along for over 30 years. We can, however, save tens of millions of lives if we act now.
The place: South Asia. The targets: Non-Muslims, primarily Hindus. The perpetrators: an unholy alliance of radical Islamists and Communists. Surprised? Thought the Red Menace died out when the Iron Curtain fell? Not so. Communists remain very active in Asia and have reprised the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939 when then, too, seemingly irreconcilable enemies made nice with each other based on their shared opposition to democracy.
This alliance first surfaced in 2005 when Nepalese Maoists provided safe haven for Al Qaeda forces on the run from coalition troops. While we were counting on Pakistan’s soldiers to destroy Al Qaeda, its diplomats and intelligence agents played a key role in saving it. A year earlier, an unnamed American diplomat in Nepal warned, “Al-Qaida’s nest in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been destroyed. The birds are looking for a new home.” Based on a growing state of turmoil there—thanks to a communist putsch that had claimed over 13,000 lives—he suggested Nepal could be that home.
Not a bad call, but of course, we ignored him. As a result, those Al Qaeda forces today menace the world’s third largest Muslim country, Bangladesh, a mere stone’s throw from Nepal. As their reward, the Maoists were made part of Nepal’s government, a feat they were unable to accomplish on their own. According to reports from Indian intelligence, the whole deal was brokered out of the Pakistani embassy in Katmandu. This level of cooperation is being replicated throughout the area that lies between Iran and China—where one in every four human beings lives.
Imagine if the United States or Canada had a law enabling the government to seize the land and property of any non-Christian and give it to a Christian. You can’t, can you? It is contrary to our basic values and our sense of justice. But in the Islamic nation of Bangladesh, the Vested Property Act (VPA) empowers the government to seize the land and property of non-Muslims and give it to Muslims. In Pakistan, it is called the Enemies Property Act and has been key to that country’s anti-Hindu jihad, which has all but eliminated a community that used to number one in four Pakistanis. When Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan in 1971, Hindus were almost one fifth of the population; but the new country adopted the VPA, noting that its name and not its content differed from the Pakistani law. Dr. Sachi Dastadar, who has studied this phenomenon for decades, counted up to 3.3 million acres of Hindu land seized in the 1990s alone. Today, Hindus represent only nine percent of the people, and their oppression is growing worse in Bangladesh with the growing Islamist ascendancy.
VPA victims have been subjected to murder, mutilation and ritualized gang rape, as well as legalized thievery. At first, private gangs committed the atrocities, but later victims reported government officials and uniformed men led the attacks. Brutalized and penniless, the refugees fled next door to the world’s largest Hindu country. But West Bengal, the Indian state bordering Bangladesh has had a communist government since 1977. Its atheistic leaders reject any bonds of faith in favor of internationalist goals and have thrown their lot in with the Islamists. VPA victims have been put in camps then sent on forced marches. The West Bengal Stalinists refuse to recognize them as refugees or give them legal standing and have turned a blind eye to cross-border attacks and further Muslim atrocities. West Bengal uses its own vested property law to seize ancestral lands and dangle them before the masses.
Dr. Dastidar says the problem is as much political as moral. The Communists fear being voted out of power if the strongly anti-communist VPA victims are granted citizenship. He also noted, “Many [West Bengal] state officials are Bangladeshis [but only] Islamist-approved Bangladeshis are given safe haven in West Bengal.” In Bangladesh, most VPA beneficiaries are party members or other apparatchik—the very people who are charged with overturning the law. No surprise that in July, Bangladeshi ambassador to Washington, M. Humayun Kabir, told me that the current government “had no plans to address the Vested Property Act during its [indeterminate] tenure.”
None of the parties responsible for taking action are doing so. The national Indian government maintains a hands-off policy toward West Bengal. The U.N. refuses to grant the victims refugee status, which would entitle them to both material and legal benefits. Misnomered “human rights” groups like Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch are silent as well, save an occasional anemic statement. AI’s web site says nothing about this blatant ethnic cleansing whose victims number in the tens of millions. Yet, its page on fighting terror, which should identify these perpetrators, instead is almost entirely concerned with Guantanamo. AI has called for “international human rights monitors in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” but none in West Bengal.
Some Bengalis are fighting back, but they need our help. The moral question posed to us is: Will we again act only when it is too late to save them?