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Op-Ed: US media ignores ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh

Op-Ed: US media ignores ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh

In recent days, Trump’s impeachment hearings and the US president reversing US policy on the Israeli settlements have dominated headlines in the American media.  It does not matter whether you are reading the Washington Post or watching CNN.   For the American media, it does not matter what happens in the rest of the world.  Anything that involves Trump automatically becomes front page news.  But is it ethnical that the American media behaves this way?  

Mass popular pro-democracy protests in China, Lebanon and Iran have been relegated to being back-page news.  The Iraqi popular protests against an Iranian proxy government are barely even mentioned in the American media anymore.   The plight of Syrian Kurds, Yezidis and Christians living under Turkish occupation has all been forgotten about.  Never mind that no one is getting ethnically cleansed or killed over the latest Trump scandal.  Most people care first of all about what is in their backyard and not what happens on the other end of the world, even if the incident abroad by its very nature should have been a greater news story.   Sadly, the American media reflects this bias.  

Given that this is the reality, it should surprise no one that the American media did not report that 200 Hindu families were forced from their homes by Muslim assailants in the Gopalganj district in Bangladesh in the first half of November, even though there were mass protests against it.  After all, Bangladesh is not located in Europe nor North America.  It is located in a poor region of Asia, which does not really influence developments in the US. 

Therefore, the American media does not value 200 Bangladeshi Hindus being forced from their homes in the same manner that they care about the latest scoop related to Trump.  After all, he is a rich white man, not a poor brown skin Bangladeshi Hindu.  In this manner, the American media turns a blind eye to the systematic abuse of human rights by the Sheikh Hasina government against the Bangladeshi Hindu community.   By not reporting on the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina faces very few international repercussions for her human rights abuses and this is most unfortunate.

Bangladeshi Bridges, Roads and Transport Minister Obaidul Quader built an Awami League office building on top of property seized from the local Bangladeshi Hindu community and the American media doesn’t report on this, even though people were threatened into giving away their homes merely because they were born into the wrong faith.   The Hindu community in Bangladesh has paid a price because of this.  Shipan Kumer Basu, President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, declared: “It turns out that the Awami League wants an exclusively Muslim country. As I said before and still say, Sheikh Hasina has a secret conspiracy in order to establish Shariah law. I urge the international community to come and visit. Only then will you understand how the government plans to expel Hindus, Buddhists and Christians from the country!”  

Why doesn’t the American media care about religious freedom and human rights across the globe anymore?  Why has the US become so isolationist?  Why does everything have to be based on transactional diplomacy and oil interests in the Trump era?   “Transactional diplomacy is practiced on the basis of ‘I don’t care about human rights abuses, I don’t want to muddy things up by insisting on American values, I just want the deal I want,’” Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, Massachusetts, told Christian Science Monitor.  Ever since former US President George W. Bush left office, America hasn’t had a leader that cares about promoting democracy and human rights across the globe.   Everything has become isolationist.  Everything has become valueless.  In the Trump era, it is all about transactions, oil and the art of the deal.  It is time that this changed.  






Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and the editor of the Economic Peace Center, which was established by Ayoob Kara, who served as Israel's Communication, Cyber and Satellite Minister. For close to a decade, she has been an Israel-based journalist, specializing in radical Islam, abuses of human rights and minority rights, counter-terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Azerbaijan, Syria, Iran, and other issues of importance. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media," a ground-breaking book endorsed by Former Israel Consul General Yitzchak Ben Gad and Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara that discusses how the media exploits the life stories of Palestinian female terrorists in order to justify wanton acts of violence. Avraham has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She received her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.