Whenever I tell people I “do human rights work,” they automatically assume I am some sort of leftist. People who know me find that hilarious; but it is rather tragic at the same time because it reflects the fact that the left has imposed its own definition of what does and does not constitute human rights. For several years, I have been working with activists on the ground in South Asia primarily; people like anti-jihadist Muslim Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, who was imprisoned and tortured by the Bangladeshis after exposing the rise of radical Islam in that self-styled “moderate Muslim country.” Most of these dedicated individuals have sacrificed their comfort, their relationships, their security, some even their lives to defend the victims, and when asked will tell you that they would do so again. Among the hundreds whom I work, we would be hard pressed to find any who are not politically conservative or who do not recognize the left as one of human rights’ two greatest opponents, the other being Islamists. Thus, the current international zeitgeist will not allow their efforts—or more important their causes—to be recognized as true human rights battles. Perhaps it is because they are openly pro-US and pro-Israel, perhaps because they are fighting the Red-Green alliance of leftists and Islamists. Perhaps it is because the left cares more about ideology than people—which is only one reason why conservatives are far better suited to advocate for the downtrodden.
Recently, they have seen this double standard on display with the manufactured furor over the Gaza terror flotilla. While the United Nations, European Union, Muslim world, and the talking heads in the mainstream media are up in arms over the killing of nine “activists,” with suspect ties and motivations, they have not wasted a single breath over the destruction of Hindu communities in Kashmir, Pakistan, and now Bangladesh by Islamists who have been allowed to operate freely by complicit governments and an uncaring world whose silence tells the perpetrators, “Go ahead, they’re only Hindus.”
Between 1941 and 2001, the Hindu population of Kashmir dropped from 15 to one percent, with the most precipitous drop coming around 1990 at the hands of Islamic militants. From about 1965 to 2001, Pakistan’s Hindu population went from almost one in five to one percent, and I saw many of them streaming into India recently ahead of the advancing Taliban. The Bangladeshi Hindu population fell from almost one third at the time of India’s partition to nine percent in 2001; and 13-15 million remaining Hindus face ongoing murder, gang rape, abduction, forced conversion (to Islam), assault, dispossession of their ancestral lands, and religious desecration—even under a new government that the left, the media, and the diplomatic corps have declared “pro-minority.”
Reports of these atrocities come to us daily, and we have developed a strong network of informants and investigators to confirm or refute the allegations. Our conclusions are made with caution, so we recognize that even what we can confirm is likely just the tip of the iceberg. During just the first two months of this new government’s tenure, we confirmed major anti-Hindu atrocities at the rate of one and a half per week; in Spring 2009, we confirmed an anti-Hindu pogrom behind a police station in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka; and in a 25 day period this March and April, we confirmed at least eight anti-Hindu incidents: rape (including child rape); abduction; forced conversion to Islam; beatings that sent critically injured victims to the hospital; attempted murder; and more. The government took no action in any of these cases with cover-ups reaching the ruling party’s upper echelons.
What makes it more chilling is that these attacks are not carried out by al Qaeda or other terror groups but by the victims’ neighbors, who acted knowing they could do so with impunity. Millions have been killed or otherwise violated; and State University of New York’s Professor Sachi Dastidar estimates that some 49 million Hindus are “missing” from the Bangladeshi census: the murdered, those forced to immigrate or convert to Islam, and those never born. While there has been no outrage about this atrocity—aside from those of us fighting it, the victims, and their families—the international left never tires of calling for strenuous action on behalf of Palestinians whose living conditions are like royalty’s compared to the squalor and illicit refugee camps in which most victims live. I know; I have seen both.
History’s most successful cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing have occurred when a committed cadre of true believers convince masses of common people to commit heinous acts—that they otherwise might not even dream of committing—against a targeted minority. That is what is happening in Bangladesh where there might be no Gestapo or Janjaweed, but where the Hindu population will disappear, perhaps within our lifetime, without immediate action. Yet, when the left demands that we act with such immediacy, it is for nine people who purposely put themselves in harm’s way to support a terrorist entity that lobs missiles onto schools in Southern Israel.