In the real world, most opponents in a fight are mismatched; the powerful against the powerless. Therefore, you should not engage them on their terms, but on yours. Fight them according to their weaknesses, not their strengths. And, of course, do whatever you can to gain leverage to amplify whatever strength you have.
This is the basic concept behind the strategy of the #WeAreAllRohingyaNow Campaign. The weak point for the Myanmar government is the economy; their need for foreign investment and development; and it is through multinational corporations that we can leverage the strength we have to ultimately bring an end to the genocide and to restore the citizenship of the Rohingya. We do not have the power to go toe-to-toe with the Myanmar army, or the government (and indeed, this would also mean going to-to-toe with most of the population); that is a losing strategy. Corporations have the power to do this, however, and we do have power over corporations; if we choose to use it.
Some have asked “what are you going to do if companies refuse to comply with your demands? Are you going to do more than merely ‘tease’ them periodically on social media?”
Well, first of all, it has to be understood that companies spend a considerable amount of money to promote their images on social media. This has become an essential element in their overall business strategy, and it can literally affect their share values if investors perceive that a company is facing any potential public backlash. So, “teasing” is a naively dismissive word for social media campaigning.
As we have stated previously during our outreach to Unilever, #WeAreAllRohingyaNow is adhering to a long-term, multi-stage strategy. We are committed to keeping our campaigns positive and constructive. We fully believe that taking a moral stand against the Rohingya genocide is truly the best thing any company can do, both in the region, and globally, for their own business interests, and we sincerely want to help companies realise this.
We have cultivated, are cultivating, and are in the process of organising grassroots support among regional consumers, as well as among international activists and organisations; and we have the capacity to escalate our outreach with organised consumer activity, either through purchasing or suspension of purchasing campaigns; and we do not rule out mobilising direct action if or when it becomes necessary.
The first stage of this effort is the recruitment of public support from major multinationals (ideally, those with significant investments in Myanmar and the region); this will have a ripple effect throughout the international business community, media coverage, public perceptions of the , and influence even the policies of state actors. From that point, we can move to a more proactive campaign, once the issue has the public backing of major institutions of private power; and we have plans in place for this.
We ask all those who are concerned about the plight of the Rohingya to lend their support to this gradual, but insha’Allah, effective strategy, and to persevere patiently and persistently to ensure that each stage of the campaign will be successful. The more people participate, the faster we can get results.