Tag Archive | "Myanmar"

Militants Threaten China’s OBOR Initiative in Myanmar


NOVANEWS

Militants in northern Myanmar have once again put China’s One Belt, One Road initiative on hold. It should come as no surprise that Anglo-American history played a direct role in their creation, and currently fund and back networks supporting them. 

The BBC has mounted a recent propaganda campaign aimed at once again placing pressure on Myanmar’s military, within a wider effort to drive a wedge between Myanmar and China.

Amid an already ongoing and deceptive narrative surrounding the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar’s southwest state of Rakhine, attention is now being focused on the nation’s northern state of Kachin.

Nick Beake of the BBC produced a narrative aimed at intentionally preying on the emotions of viewers. The report revolved around alleged hardships suffered by Kachin villagers fleeing from a supposed government offensive. The report was absent of any context or evidence and was based entirely on hearsay from alleged villagers Beake claims to have interviewed.

Beake would conclude that his report represented the “first eyewitness accounts of the Burmese military targeting civilians in their latest offensive in Kachin State.” And supposed eyewitness accounts were all Beake presented. At one point Beake’s report even cited third-hand reports of torture and rape – stories fleeing villagers claimed they had only heard from others, but did not directly witness themselves.

The only specific death Beake cited was of a man of military age he claims was killed during the supposed fighting. Beake avoided mentioning whether the victim was a Kachin fighter or a civilian caught in crossfire.

The BBC’s Nick Beake makes little mention of the actual conflict and no mention at all that Kachin militants are among the most heavily armed and well organized in the divided nation of Myanmar.

And while the BBC report briefly claims that Kachin militants “have been fighting for independence for decades,” it never mentions the central role the British government itself played in creating Kachin militant groups during World War II to protect their colony, how Kachin militants played a role in resisting Myanmar’s bid for independence, and the role these militants have played in preventing Myanmar’s progress forward as a unified nation ever since.

Manufacturing Crisis, Foiling Chinese Interests 

The BBC report and an uptick of sudden concern over Kachin State come at a time when Beijing has been working to foster peace deals to end the chaos unfolding along its border with Myanmar.

An April 2017 article in Foreign Policy titled, “China Is Playing Peacemaker in Myanmar, but with an Ulterior Motive,” would include a revealing subtitle:

Beijing is trying to end the long-running conflicts along its border with Myanmar — but only because it can’t exploit the region’s resources at will anymore.

While Foreign Policy attempts to cast doubts on China’s motivations, it inadvertently reveals that Kachin militants and their conflict with Myanmar’s military are impeding Chinese interests, providing an essential clue as to who the fighting benefits and who is likely encouraging and enabling it.

Foreign Policy makes mention of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy coming to power and and the role that Suu Kyi herself played in protesting and obstructing Chinese-led infrastructure projects – including dams, roadways, ports, and pipelines – in Myanmar. Foreign Policy fails to mention the decades of US-UK funding that created and propelled Suu Kyi’s government into power.

Foreign Policy does claim however (emphasis added):

In 2015, elections raised up the Nationwide League for Democracy, an opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, though the military retained control of important ministries and substantial influence in the parliament through a new constitution. Instead of a client state on its southwestern border, China had to deal with a government that was keen to find great powers to balance Beijing’s influence. 

Of course, those “great powers” being referred to reside in Washington, London, and Brussels. And despite hopes that Myanmar would bend entirely before the West, it appears that many deals are still being pursued by Beijing and there are still receptive parties in Myanmar working to meet Beijing half way.

Conveniently, Kachin militants have renewed fighting along China’s borders, threatening to complicate development projects in ways mere politics cannot. Foreign Policy would admit:

China’s hopes to restart the [Myitsone] dam were complicated by a resumption of fighting between the KIA and Myanmar’s military after a cease-fire had broken down after two decades in 2011, shortly before the dam was put on hold. The instability has often closed the border and threatened China’s huge business interests in timber, gold, and jade.

Repeated claims that Myanmar is now a “democracy,” and that China must answer to protests and opposition to their projects, sidesteps the fact that opposition to Chinese projects is anything but “democracy” in action. Those behind these protests are funded and directed by US and UK government organizations.

Foreign Policy even cites one – the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) – but fails to disclose its foreign funding. KDNG is mentioned in a US State Department cable disclosed by Wikileaks titled, “Burma: Grassroots Opposition to Chinese-Backed Dam in Northern Burma.” The cable also admits (emphasis added):

An unusual aspect of this case is the role grassroots organizations have played in opposing the dam, which speaks to the growing strength of civil society groups in Kachin State, including recipients of [US] Embassy small grants.

KDNG general secretary Steve Naw Aung would make a point about China’s close relationship with Myanmar’s military and the resistance to Chinese-led projects from the new – and very much US-UK-backed – government headed by Suu Kyi.

This is why more recent reports like Nick Beake’s BBC segment often insist atrocities are carried out solely by Myanmar’s military with Suu Kyi’s government portrayed as a helpless onlooker. Similar narratives have been applied to violence carried out against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, despite the most violent and aggressive forces assaulting Rohingya communities are drawn from Suu Kyi’s support base – not the military.

The Foreign Policy piece reveals how Kachin militants may still yet be persuaded by China to choose peaceful development over conflict driven by whatever promises have been made by the “great powers” likely underwriting their cause, or at the very least, trying to encourage it. Foreign Policy makes mention that beyond infrastructure projects like dams and natural resource extraction – China also seeks to create transit routes through Myanmar to both India and to the Bay of Bengal.

It is no coincidence that conflicts closely minded, even openly cultivated by the US, UK, and other European governments have erupted and now burn precisely in the path of these planned transit routes.

Routes to India pass through contested Kachin State. Routes to, and a port facility on the Bay Bengal so happen to be located in Rakhine State, the heart of the ongoing Rohingya crisis.

Kachin Militants – An Anglo-American Time Bomb    

The Irrawaddy – a media platform funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – wrote a 2012 article titled, “Memories of WWII Run Deep for KIO [Kachin Independence Organization].”

In it, the article admits that Kachin fighters formed part of the British Empire’s colonial army. It also mentions the strategy of divide and rule used by the British, stating (emphasis added):

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, the Kachin, along with the Karen and Chin ethnic groups, comprised the overwhelming majority of local troops who served in Britain’s Burmese colonial army, a force that also consisted of Gurkha from Nepal and Punjabi troops from India. The Kachin and the other groups were all considered trusted “martial races” by the colonial authorities. In contrast, Burma’s colonial army had few if any members of the Burman majority, a deliberate policy of divide and rule whose legacy is still felt in the country today.

The article also mentioned the US government’s role in training factions of Kachin fighters during World War II, stating (emphasis added):

Although the KIO did not begin its armed insurrection against Burma’s government until 1961, more than 16 years after the end of World War II, a good portion of the founding leadership of the KIO, including the group’s first head Zau Seng (no relation to the aforementioned major), were veterans of the Second World War who were trained in guerrilla fighting as part of Detachment 101 operated by the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a predecessor of the CIA, or under a similar group organized by Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) called the Kachin levies.

As revealing as this is – it still enables Western governments and media to claim Kachin fighting after the World War was done on their own accord. However, a revealing history is laid out by Kachinland News in a piece titled, “The Biography of Du Kaba Lahpai Naw Seng (Part III),” which published  part of a British officer’s speech to his Kachin fighters at the conclusion of World War II.

The officer stated (emphasis added):

You endured many hardships displaying extraordinary stamina and perseverance. Due to this, you have vanquished the more powerful, better-equipped Japanese troops despite having much less manpower. Defeating the Japanese is just the beginning of your legacy. Now to protect and safeguard the recaptured lands, we will begin creating all-Kachin Battalions.

Of course, this “safeguarding” was being done on behalf of the British Empire as a means of re-consolidating control over British Burma. Those “all-Kachin Battalions” would eventually be formed and would form the foundation of Kachin militant groups now fighting in Myanmar today.

An All Too Convenient Conflict 

It is clear that Kachin fighters were formed as part of the British Empire’s strategy of maintaining control over Myanmar – then called Burma – and it was clear that the British saw Kachin fighters as a means of consolidating power after World War II concluded.

It is also confirmed that the US has funded fronts in Kachin to impede Chinese-led development projects – development US diplomats themselves admit the region desperately needs and are not receiving from either the government of Myanmar itself, or from Kachin “freedom fighters” who amass wealth for themselves and leave nothing behind for the rest of Kachin State’s population – according to another Wikileaks-disclosed US cable.

While evidence is scarce concerning what sort of backing Kachin fighters may or may not be receiving from Washington and London today, their representatives are revealed to be in contact with US diplomats in neighboring Thailand in the northern city of Chiang Mai.

Recent fighting all too conveniently spoils Chinese efforts to move projects forward. It also places additional pressure on Myanmar’s military at a time when the US seeks to cut back or co-op its power in favor of the Suu Kyi government Washington and London spent millions of dollars over decades placing into power.

Regardless of who is encouraging and enabling Kachin fighters today, the BBC and other Western media organizations are clearly coordinating their narratives to leverage the conflict against both Myanmar’s military and in a bid to impede Chinese-led development.

Should sufficient traction be made, the stage the BBC and other media organizations are setting with their familiar “humanitarian” narratives, will soon be occupied by Western governments and Western-funded fronts seeking to displace Chinese interests in northern Myanmar and setting back its wider, regional One Belt, One Road initiative.

Understanding the US desire to impede the rise of China reveals what appear to be otherwise disparate conflicts as linked together, both within Myanmar itself, and across Southeast Asia as a whole. Once this is understood, it is easy to decipher emerging conflicts as they unfold – especially as the Western media attempts to leverage them to suit Western interests.

Beijing can be expected to continue seeking peace along its borders in order to move long-delayed projects forward. In the coming weeks and months, China’s patience and resilience will be put to the test by the West’s capacity to both create chaos, and wring from it a sense of order more to its liking.

Posted in China, MyanmarComments Off on Militants Threaten China’s OBOR Initiative in Myanmar

Undocumented Myanmar Migrants in Thailand: Border Capitalism, Disrupted


Note to readers: please click the share buttons above  

Through to the back of the cremation grounds where the fields of sugarcane begin, Ko Soe and I coast our bicycles to a stop. It is mid-December, and the sugarcane stocks are tall now, taller than us. Somewhere amid these fields Myanmar migrant workers from the nearby Apex garment factory are hiding. We know this because Ko Soe had only minutes ago been talking with one of them by phone, but then the connection had died; presumably this worker’s phone had run out of power. So now we dismount and look around for an entrance into the fields. The sugarcane is far too dense to walk through, even if we were to leave our bicycles behind. Uncertain how to proceed, we soon spot a man standing, looking at us from the edge of the fields where some car tracks come to an end. Ko Soe calls out and, as we approach, explains to the man that he, too, had worked at Apex, having quit only a few months prior. “We’ve come to see the workers’ situation,” he adds.

The man, whom we now see to be in his early twenties, leads us down a narrow path walled by stocks of sugarcane. When the trail reaches a small stream, we lift our bicycles and carry them along the watercourse until, as directed by our guide, we lay them aside and jump across the brook to an isolated patch of banana trees. It is here that we begin seeing the migrants, bunched together with their baskets of food and clothing, standing, idling, chatting with each other, and reclining on woven mats laid out on the ground. Some of the men are smoking. Others chew quids of betel. A few young children are milling about, and I even spot a couple of babies being held. To my left a young women lies on her back reading a Burmese romance novel. An older woman, speaking by phone to a migrant friend elsewhere, laughs as she explains her predicament. Someone else brings out a tin of biscuits and passes it around to share. The migrants waiting here smile and greet us, thanking us for coming.

Hiding in the Fields

There are, perhaps, about fifty migrants here – mostly women – crowding out small patches of open ground among the banana trees. Although Apex had, I was told, employed upwards of three hundred workers only a few years earlier, the workforce seriously declined when large groups quit in a series of disputes over unpaid wages; others left following the recent closure of the factory’s weaving department. Hence, the migrants hiding here are all that are left, among whom are a handful I know from my previous visits to the factory.

In response to our enquiries about their situation, the migrants tell us that they fled into the sugarcane field this morning while it was still dark, taking with them supplies of rice, boiled eggs, pickled tea, and packaged snacks they had prepared the night before. Initially, they say, the Apex factory owner, who is based in Bangkok, had given instructions that the workers were not to stop production despite news of impending raids. At the last minute, however, the personnel manager got cold feet and told the workers they should temporarily hide out in the nearby sugarcane fields because neither he nor the owner could guarantee their security. The migrants we are speaking with ask us, in turn, what we know of the raids elsewhere, and they name a factory nearby where they have heard the police who came up yesterday from Bangkok have already arrested the workers.

Today is December 15, 2012, one day after the deadline for undocumented migrants in Thailand to register for temporary passports and work permits, thereby escaping their status of illegality. Like the vast majority of the more than 200,000 Myanmar migrants in Mae Sot, in northwest Thailand’s Tak Province, those hiding here amid the sugarcane lack documentation for legal residence and work in Thailand. And like most everyone else in Mae Sot’s migrant community, they knew the registration deadline was approaching; billboards had been put up, and loudspeaker-toting pickup trucks had toured the town, announcing in both Burmese and Thai that those not registered by December 14 would face up to five years in prison, with fines up to 50,000 baht (just over $1,600 U.S.). Government officials in Bangkok had further announced that over one million undocumented migrants would be deported. At other factories in Mae Sot, workers had fled across the nearby border to Buddhist monasteries in the Myanmar town of Myawaddy to wait until the Bangkok police departed. Everyone seemed to know it would only last a few days; this was not the first registration deadline to pass, nor was it the first time raids had been conducted in Mae Sot.

Although most Mae Sot migrants knew in advance of the registration deadline, only a small minority had actually applied for passports and work permits. For the majority, the cost of obtaining these documents through any of the area’s many private passport companies was prohibitive – more than they could save in a year. While it was possible for employers to advance the money to cover the cost, this was not a common practice in Mae Sot. Most factories, such as Apex, simply avoided immigration hassles and potential raids by paying off the local police with monthly fees deducted from the wages of the undocumented migrants they employed. This was, presumably, why the Bangkok (and not Mae Sot) police had been entrusted with the task of enforcing the current registration deadline. In the end, however, very few raids actually occurred in Mae Sot when the registration deadline passed. Out of some four to five hundred factories in the area, I heard mention of only two where such raids apparently took place. And shortly thereafter, the Thai Ministry of Labour announced a three-month extension to the registration period.

Had the threats of raids, arrests, and deportations all been for show? Or had the Thai government heeded humanitarian appeals for an extension to the registration period, such as that voiced by the head of the International Labour Organization? Perhaps policymakers in Bangkok had recognized that mass deportations would have severely undermined Thai industry. In any case, the migrants I met in the sugarcane field went back to work a few days later. They did not, to my knowledge, ever register for passports or work permits while employed at the Apex garment factory, despite the extension granted.

The Social Production of Border Capitalism

The central contention of this book is that the Mae Sot industrial zone, as a spatialized regulatory arrangement, has shaped and made possibly certain forms of class struggle – the effects of which have disrupted and transformed the site’s border capitalism. This argument contrasts with analyses that would see the regulatory arrangement of such zones as being fixed in advance by state policies – developmentalist, neoliberal, or otherwise. I therefore analyze Mae Sot as a dynamic social space – a politically charged space – whose movement is born of the site’s internal contradictions. This is, moreover, a movement that persistently threatens to disrupt the site’s existing social relations, whose conditions of possibility were, in part, born of antecedent class struggles.

The on-the-ground regulation of migrant labour in Mae Sot can thus not be read off of official state policies. Rather, the everyday regulation of migrants in Mae Sot remains contested at the local level, persistently reshaped, and often ambiguously understood by the migrants to whom it applies. As a designated Special Border Economic Zone, Mae Sot’s spatially bounded regulatory arrangement, proximity to the Myanmar border, and distance from central Thailand have enabled a particularly acute situation of despotism organized around the optimization of low-wage, flexible labour for the purposes of capital accumulation and border industrialization. Yet the ways in which migrants have responded to the forms of regulation they confront have forced regulatory actors – such as employers and local government officials – to adjust their regulatory practices accordingly. It is in this way that border capitalism, as both situated relations of production and a spatialized regulatory arrangement, is socially produced.

The argument I advance here is clearly inspired by the work of Henri Lefebvre. But I draw more specifically from the operaista (workerist, often glossed as autonomist Marxist) tradition that grew out of Italian factory workers’ struggles in the 1960s. Writing in an early issue of the workerist journal Classe Operaia, Mario Tronti laid out a critical approach to understanding capitalist development – whether it be technological change, capital relocation, regulatory reform, or the reorganization of the labour process. The particularities of capitalist development, argued Tronti, were best understood not as neutral technical innovations but as reactions to the threats to capital accumulation and managerial prerogative being posed by concrete working-class struggles. As Tronti maintained,

“We too have worked with a concept that puts capitalist development first, and workers second. This is a mistake. And now we have to turn the problem on its head, reverse the polarity, and start again from the beginning: and the beginning is the class struggle of the working class. At the level of socially developed capital, capitalist development becomes subordinated to working-class struggles; it follows behind them, and they set the pace to which the political mechanisms of capital’s own reproduction must be tuned.”

Building on Tronti’s innovations about the primacy of workers’ struggles in catalyzing capitalist development, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have extended the argument to account for multiple cycles of restructuring: “Workers’ struggles force capital to restructure; capitalist restructuring destroys the old conditions for worker organization and poses new ones; new worker revolts force capital to restructure again; and so forth.” It is along such workerist lines that I analyze in this book the transformations that have occurred in Mae Sot’s regulatory and industrial landscape.

Taking stock, however, of workerism’s achievements and shortcomings, Steve Wright has pointed out that workerist analysis (at least in its earliest years) was limited by an often narrow focus on collective struggles at the point of production, thereby neglecting “the world beyond the factory wall.” How, we therefore need to ask, are the struggles of subordinate classes outside the workplace related to the reproduction and transformation of capitalist relations at the point of production? And further, how do such struggles affect the broader regulation of proletarian populations? To address these questions I bring into the analysis of capitalist restructuring, along with factory strikes and workforce socialization, struggles over migrants’ mobility outside the workplace, and migrants’ everyday evasion of – and engagement with – the police. The book’s overarching narrative presents these various struggles as constitutive moments in the transformation of Mae Sot’s regulatory geography, at the scale of the workplace and at the scale of the industrial zone.

It needs to be stressed at this point that labour struggles on the border have never been wholly spontaneous outbursts – automatically generated, as it were, by Mae Sot’s regulatory arrangement. Rather, they have emerged out of gradual processes of migrant subjectification and class formation – what I refer to in chapter 5 as everyday recomposition – that are grounded in the relations and experiences of migrants along the border. Particular workplace struggles in Mae Sot have also typically entailed extensive deliberation and planning “behind the scenes” among the workers involved, as in the case I examine in chapter 6. For these reasons, within the circuit of regulation → struggle → new regulation, there are countless agentive moments in which individuals have intervened and influenced the process of Mae Sot’s regulatory transformation.

Posted in South AsiaComments Off on Undocumented Myanmar Migrants in Thailand: Border Capitalism, Disrupted

Six Points in Myanmar Leader’s Rohingya Speech That Fail Fact-Checking


NOVANEWS
Myanmar's National League for Democracy party leader Suu Kyi looks at supporters after speaking about the general elections in Yangon
Criminal Aung San Suu Kyi

On Tuesday, Myanmar’s state counselor and de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, broke silence on the ongoing Rohingya crisis in a televised address. But the speech required reasonable fact-checking and was even described as a “a mix of untruths and victim blaming” by Amnesty International.

Suu Kyi called on the international community to assist the country’s authorities in resolving the ongoing Rohingya Muslim minority crisis. She added that the government intends to carefully examine the situation and listen to all incoming arguments and counterarguments. Nevertheless, there were some dubious claims by the country’s leader that need to be scrutinized.

1. “We want to find out why this exodus is happening.” 

This claim directly contradicts the Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, chaired by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The document was submitted to national authorities on August 23 and puts forward recommendations to end the crisis in Rakhine. In particular, the report details the reasons behind the ongoing Rohingya crisis, including the lack of citizenship for Rohingya Muslims and military and police actions in the region.

“Unless concerted action – led by the government and aided by all sectors of the government and society – is taken soon, we risk the return of another cycle of violence and radicalization, which will further deepen the chronic poverty that afflicts Rakhine State,” Annan said in a statement.

Other rights groups, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also issued reports on the causes of the crisis, blaming the Myanmar government of “ethnic cleansings” against the Rohingya minority.

The UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said last week that the situation in Myanmar seems like a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing.”

2. “Since September 5, there have been no armed clashed and there have been no clearance operations.”

This point is disputed by rights groups as well as by those who have fled the violence in Rakhine. For example, Amnesty International reported September 14 that it had detected at least 80 massive fires in inhabited areas across northern Rakhine since August 25 when the crisis broke out. The organization also cited eyewitnesses who said that soldiers burned houses and then randomly shot fleeing people.

In turn, Human Rights Watch said that 62 villages were set ablaze between August 25 and September 14.

3. “More than 50 percent of the villages of Muslims are intact.”

This claim is very hard to verify since there is no free access for journalists and international observers to Rakhine. Human Rights Watch reported, citing satellite images, that 214 villages have been almost completely destroyed. At the same time, the government said last week that 176 out of the 471 (37.4 percent) Rohingya villages targeted by the army were empty. Moreover, not all Muslims living in Rakhine are ethnically Rohingya.

4. “I’m aware of the fact that the world’s attention is focused on the situation in Rakhine. As a responsible member of the community of nations Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny.”

In fact, international organizations have repeatedly criticized Myanmar’s authorities for its reluctance to cooperate with aid groups and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

For example, Amnesty International has accused the government of denying aid workers access to the region. In December, Kofi Annan also criticized the government’s denial of access to Rakhine for aid workers.

5. “It is not the intention of the Myanmar government to apportion blame or to abnegate responsibility. We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence.” 

In fact, the government and state-controlled media have repeatedly blamed the crisis on “extremist terrorists.” At the same time, they have ignored reported human rights violations by the military and security forces.

6. “All people (in Rakhine State) have access to education and health care services.”

In reality, most Rohingya people are denied citizenship and access to the majority of government services in Myanmar, according to the report by Annan’s commission.

“Movement restrictions have a wide range of detrimental effects, including reduced access to education, health and services, strengthened communal segregation, and reduced economic interaction,” the report read.

It also added that Muslims are often prevented from accessing medical services across the region.The recent operation by Myanmar’s military and security forces was launched following an attack by Muslim insurgents of Rohingya origin on security posts in Rakhine State in late August. The attacks prompted a harsh response from the authorities. Hundreds of people have died in the continued clashes, while thousands have been forced to flee.

The conflict originally started about a century ago. The latest upsurge has gradually escalated since 2011, hitting its peak in 2012 when thousands of Muslims sought asylum in special refugee camps on the country’s territory or fled to Bangladesh. Another escalation took place in 2016. According to the UN, up to 412,000 people from Myanmar’s Rakhine State have fled into Bangladesh since August 25.

Related:

Rohingya Refugees Fleeing From Myanmar to Bangladesh Just Want to Survive
Rohingya Crisis: Myanmar’s De-Facto Leader Ready For Global Inquiry
Moscow Calls for Refraining From Interfering in Myanmar Internal Affairs
Rohingya Displacement in Myanmar Can Amount to Ethnic Cleansing – Guterres

Posted in BurmaComments Off on Six Points in Myanmar Leader’s Rohingya Speech That Fail Fact-Checking

Myanmar: Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Oversees Rohingya Genocide


Aung San Suu Kyi

Reading commentary, analysis, and even alleged “reports” from the Southeast Asian state of Myanmar, it would appear that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi – poster child of American and European “democracy promotion” – is helpless to avert what is quickly expanding into wholesale genocide against the nation’s Rohingya minority.

In reality, Suu Kyi’s political coalition has for decades been bolstered by highly politicized sectarian factions, including saffron-clad “monks” who have regularly employed street violence in support of Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. These same factions – also for decades – have pursued a policy of racially and religiously charged, politically-motivated violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya population.

234231231231Myanmar’s Rohingya – many of whom have lived in the nation for generations – had at one point coexisted with Myanmar’s majority ethnic groups. It was only relatively recently that enterprising political factions decided to use racial and religious tensions as a means of galvanizing and radicalizing opposition aimed at undermining the then military-led government and bringing Suu Kyi to power.

It was warned years before Suu Kyi came to power that should her party win elections, free reign would be granted to her supporters to fully and openly pursue their genocidal agenda. The NLD has won the elections, and that genocidal agenda is now unfolding.

Covering Up Suu Kyi’s Ties to Sectarian Extremists… for Years    

This fact is omitted across the Western media’s current reports, in an effort to exonerate Suu Kyi from any responsibility for the ongoing violence.

CNBC News, for example, in an article titled, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi under fire as Rohingya crisis escalates in Rakhine,” claims (emphasis added):

A year after becoming Myanmar’s de-facto leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi is coming under a barrage of international criticism for her failure to end alleged military crimes in the country’s northwest.

About 1.1 million people in the state of Rakhine identify themselves as Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority that has long suffered persecution in the Buddhist-majority nation. The group’s origins in Myanmar can be traced back to the fifteenth century, according to the Council of Foreign Relations, but Rohingyas have yet to be granted citizenship and remain unable to vote.

Strategically omitted from CNBC’s coverage is the fact that it was Suu Kyi, her NLD, and street demonstrations led by her “saffron” supporters that protested the previous government’s attempts to grant the Rohingya provisional citizenship and voting rights ahead of the elections that saw Suu Kyi’s NLD come to power.

Australia’s ABC News would report in a 2015 article titled,Myanmar scraps temporary ID cards amid protests targeting ethnic minorities without citizenship,” that (emphasis added):

Myanmar’s government says identity cards for people without full citizenship, including Muslim Rohingya, will expire within weeks.

The scrapping of ID cards snatches away voting rights handed to them just a day earlier (Tuesday), after Myanmar nationalists protested against the move.

The Rohingya, along with hundreds of thousands of people in mainly ethnic minority border areas, who hold the documents ostensibly as part of a process of applying for citizenship, will see their ID cards expire at the end of March, according to a statement from the office of president Thein Sein.

The “nationalists” were of course, Suu Kyi’s “saffron” supporters.

Saffron and Secular Savagery 

Readers may remember Myanmar’s “Saffron Revolution,” a 2007 “pro-democracy” protest named after the “saffron” robes of the “monks” who led the street protests. Backed by the United States and British governments, the protests followed the same pattern of “color revolutions” carried out elsewhere to advance Western interests, including across Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

The “Saffron Revolution” is now rarely mentioned by the Western press, though in 2007, the US State Department-funded propaganda platform, The Irrawaddy, would report in their article, Suu Kyi Greets Monks at Her Home; 10,000 Monks Demonstrate in Mandalay,” that:

Detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, dressed in yellow, came out of her home, where she is under house arrest, to pay respect to protesting monks who marched in front of her home on Rangoon’s University Avenue on Saturday afternoon, witnesses said.

The Irrawaddy would also report:

On Thursday, The Federation of All Burma Young Monks Unions called on students and civilians to join hands with monks in public demonstrations against the military regime which has ruled the country for almost 20 years. 

Human Rights Watch, in a lengthy report titled,The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma” (PDF), further exposes the role several sectarian factions in Myanmar played in bringing Suu Kyi to power. It mentions by name the many sectarian unions and associations that were involved in creating the power base and street fronts that helped bring Suu Kyi into power.

Those mentioned, also concurrently involved in anti-Rohingya violence, include the All Burma Monks Alliance under which many others fall.

The UK Independent in a 2012 article titled,Burma’s monks call for Muslim community to be shunned,” would mention several by name:

The Young Monks’ Association of Sittwe and Mrauk Oo Monks’ Association have both released statements in recent days urging locals not to associate with the group. Displaced Rohingya have been housed in over-crowded camps away from the Rakhine population – where a health and malnutrition crisis is said to be escalating – as political leaders move to segregate and expel the 800,000-strong minority from Burma. Earlier this month, Thein Sein attempted to hand over the group to the UN refugee agency.

The All Burma Monks Alliance would even send representatives to Washington DC to attend a US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) event alongside other political allies of Suu Kyi and her NLD party – who while secular – also support discrimination and violence against the Rohingya.

The US Funds Them All… 

The Alliance’s own website in a 2012 post titled, Trip to Washington D.C,” states (emphasis added):

On September 19 and 20, 2012 the All Burma Monks Alliance monks traveled to Washington, DC and joined many friends in welcoming Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the United States. They watched as she received the Congressional Gold Medal, which is the highest honor given by the US Congress. They attended the event honoring her at American University and another event which honored recipients of the National Endowment for Democracy’s 2012 Democracy Awards.

These included Aung Din [a] leader of the 1988 student movement and a former political prisoner who is co-founder and executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma.

Aung Din – far from the only secular supporter of anti-Rohingya violence – is also the author of several crypto-racist articles circulated throughout Western policy think tanks defending discrimination and violence against the Rohingya. One, published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) under the title,Rohingya Is More than a Human Rights Issue for Myanmar,” complains:

…the United States should avoid pressuring Myanmar to accept the Muslims in Rakhine state as an indigenous ethnic group and give them citizenship immediately. In Myanmar, neither the government nor the people will bow to such pressure, and changing their status to an indigenous people is not under consideration.

Aung Din’s “US Campaign for Burma,” is a Washington-based front both funded by the US government, and lobbying the US government for funding to other pro-NLD fronts both in and bordering Myanmar.

Among these US-funded fronts, included the Indochina Media Memorial Foundation in Bangkok. Run by Western journalists concurrently heading the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT), the foundation trained pro-NLD agitators in communication and media.

One of the “graduates” of this foundation was Pe Myint, Myanmar’s current “Minister of Information.” He now uses the “Ministry of Information” to prevent even the use of the term “Rohingya,” and regularly disseminates propaganda further inflaming national tensions.

In other words, from the “saffron-stained grassroots” to the highest levels of Suu Kyi’s government, anti-Rohingya violence is so deeply ingrained and has been for years, it was only through the Western media’s monopoly over information until now that has prevented this impending – and now unfolding catastrophe – from being noticed and averted.

Considering the extensive support the US has provided to place Suu Kyi, her NLD, and various supporting factions into power, and considering America’s track record for implementing regime change around the world, is it any wonder ultra-violent racists are hacking Rohingya minorities to death in Southeast Asia, while Washington’s proxies in Ukraine commit similar atrocities in the name of Neo-Nazism, while Western proxies in Libya and Syria do so under US-Saudi inspired Wahhabism?

While it is tempting to wade into the sectarian minutia of each and every one of these conflicts, there is but one common denominator, cynically inflaming tensions among groups that have in the past and could in the future coexist. This cynical process is carried out not for religious or ideology reasons but for self-serving geopolitical gain.

Posted in AsiaComments Off on Myanmar: Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Oversees Rohingya Genocide


Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

October 2020
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031