Zarni, at the launch of International Pepsi boycott campaign, Chapel Hill, N. Carolina, 27 October 1995

At the London School of Economic "Rule of Law Roundtable", 16 June 2012

Speaking on the Slow Burning Genocide of Rohingyas in Burma, with Professor Amartya Sen, Harvard University, Nov 2014

N. Ireland peace activist Mairead Maguire presenting Zarni with the Cultivation of Harmony Award on behalf of the Parliament of the World's Religions, Salt Lake City, USA 18 Oct 2015

Drafting the Oslo Communique calling for the end to Myanmar's Rohingya Genocide, Voksanaasen, Oslo, 27 May 2015

Giving the Annual Owen M. Kupferschmid Lecture at the Holocaust and Human Rights Project, Boston College Law School, 13 Apr 2015

Who and what gains from Myanmar's Genocide of the Rohingya and other Muslims ?

The site of massive violence and arson of Rohingya and other Muslim neighborhood in Kyauk Hpyu happened to be the site where China is planning a Special Econ and Technological Zone.

Why bother with mass eviction and typical Myanmar land grab when you have locally produced Genocide against the Rohingya and other Muslim inhabitants as a tool of 'developmental policy'?

It serves many purposes:

1) it makes the local Rakhine Kular-haters happy;

2) it rallies the majority "Buddhist" behind "Buddhism" and Naypyidaw's sociopaths in reformist guise;

3) it further chips away the Lady's popularity abroad (beyond her new role as "business cover");

4) it serves as a mass psycho-therapy for the oppressed of Burma who have 50-years' worth of pent-up hate, bitterness, anger and powerlessness;

5) it afforded the military strategists to play "political and historical anesthesiologist" with the "Buddhist" masses, most importantly the monks themselves who now rally behind the very army that slaughtered their Saffron monks only 5 years ago;

6) it gave again the regime in Naypyidaw a chance to frame the issue as "preemptive strike against 'radical Islam', which is the language of Washington; and

7) it allows space for political manipulations by disgruntled elements who have an ax to grind against Than Shwe who left them marginalized in the new power-wealth set-up.

Genocide and Human Rights -101 for Myanmarese "Human Rights Defenders"

This could be a tailored tailored and timely course for the new Myanmarese?)

Tell your nearest or favorite "Burmese human rights defender" about this round-table. 

After 25 years of barking "human rights", "revolution of the spirit" "freedom from fear" (of loosing the military's support for one's Presidential ambitions) the Burmese opposition needs a Human Rights and Genocide 101.

I am sure EU, the eventual outcome of gas chambers (to prevent future ones) and located on the very site of the world's largest genocide in history only 60 plus years ago, will be happy to pay for our esteemed "fellow dissidents" to attend, give speeches, or send opening keynote speeches.

P.S. I would be most grateful if you let me know of a human rights promoting patron, individual or organization, that might be interested in flying me business on A-380 and putting me up at either Kempinski Hotel Corvinus or Corinthia Hotel Budapest, with some pocket money - per diem is the term?? 

I would really like to contribute to the roundtable in that manner. I've been missing some free and fine wine and smoked salmon for some time now. 

The roundtable "Hate speech: The role of new media in the prevention of mass atrocities" is part of the Budapest Centre's "Prevention of genocide in practice series"

As Violence Continues, Rohingya Find Few Defenders in Myanmar













A Rohingya man sat amid the ruins of his burned home on Sunday in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

As Violence Continues, Rohingya Find Few Defenders in Myanmar

VIEW FROM ASIA, OCTOBER 31, 2012, 12:56 AM




Soe Than Win/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesA Rohingya man sat amid the ruins of his burned home on Sunday in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

HONG KONG — Violence has continued this week in western Myanmar, as an apparent campaign of ethnic cleansing is being carried out against the Muslim minority group known as the Rohingya — with little response or outcry from Aung San Suu Kyi or other human rights and pro-democracy activists in the country.

A group of several thousand Burmese marched on a Rohingya village on Tuesday to force the residents there to relocate, according to a new reportfrom Radio Free Asia. At least one person was killed when security forces fired on the mob.

Over the past 10 days, violence by extremists and vigilantes in Rakhine State has left at least 89 people dead. Nearly 30,000 people have been rendered homeless, most of them Muslims, pushed into squalid refugee camps. Countless other Rohingya have taken to the sea in a frantic exodus of houseboats, barges and fishing vessels.

Satellite photos published by Human Rights Watch showed a Muslim sector in the town of Kyaukpyu leveled by what appeared to be methodical and premeditated arson — more than 600 homes and nearly 200 houseboats were destroyed. Before-and-after images of the sector can be seen here.

“The opposition, including democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and other prominent figures, has hopelessly failed to intervene or calm the situation,” said the analyst and editor Aung Zaw in a commentarypublished Monday in his magazine, Irrawaddy.

“Many, especially in the international community and human rights organizations, were disheartened to see such inaction from those who still claim to represent the democracy movement.”

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has been notably restrained in the few comments she has made on the Rohingya clashes, generally saying that both sides are culpable and that the rule of law must prevail. But the Burmese activist Maung Zarni, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s belief that the violence was purely sectarian showed “a shocking naivete.”

“She should know better,” Maung Zarni said, adding that the Rohingya now have so few advocates in Myanmar that they’ve become “a people who feel they are drowning in the sea of Burma’s popular ‘Buddhist’ racist nationalism.”

During a forum at Harvard’s Kennedy School last month, according to astory on Global Post, a student from Thailand asked Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi to “explain why you have been so reluctant” to comment about the oppression of the Rohingya.

“The mood in the room suddenly shifted,” the article said. “Suu Kyi’s tone and expression changed. With an edge in her voice, she answered: ‘You must not forget that there have been human rights violations on both sides of the communal divide. It’s not a matter of condemning one community or the other. I condemn all human rights violations.’ ”

The South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, Meenakshi Ganguly, said in a statement quoted by Zee News:

The Rohingyas seem to have become the nowhere people. The authorities in Burma have failed to protect them, and Bangladesh refuses to provide asylum to those fleeing the attacks.

It appears that many are in stranded in boats hoping for refuge. India, with its long history of providing shelter, in fact to both Burmese and Bangladeshi refugees, should perhaps press both governments to do the right thing.

Burma needs to act swiftly to ensure the rights of its Rohingya population instead of disputing their citizenship. Bangladesh should open its borders and provide relief.

The Rohingya, who are Muslim, are not recognized as citizens by the Myanmar government, nor are they are among the 135 official ethnic groups in the country formerly known as Burma. Deeply impoverished and effectively stateless, the Rohingya are viewed by the Buddhist majority as unwelcome immigrants who have crossed over illegally from neighboring Bangladesh.

Just getting the terms and identifiers right can be a challenge. The Rohingya are referred to locally by many with the derogatory term “Bengalis,” after their language. Members of the Buddhist majority in the area are typically called Rakhines, after the state. Rakhine State was formerly known as Arakan, and the people there are sometimes called the Arakanese.

It was a bloody summer in Rakhine, with anti-Muslim riots triggered in June by the rape and murder of a young Buddhist woman, a crime that was blamed on Muslims. Dozens were killed in the fighting, and 75,000 fled, most of them Muslims.

President Thein Sein initiated a Riot Inquiry Commission after that violence and asked for the panel’s findings by Nov. 14. That deadline, commission members say, will not be met.

“We do not have enough cooperation from all sides,” said one member, Maung Thura, the country’s most famous comedian, who is widely known as Zarganar, his stage name.

“The local ethnic Rakhine, Muslim community, government offices, and even the members of Parliament have become increasingly less willing to participate,” Zarganar, a former political prisoner, told Radio Free Asia.

“It is very disturbing to see that the conflict has worsened,” Zaw Nay Aung, a democracy activist, told Rendezvous in an e-mail on Wednesday. “The Burmese, the majority of whom are Buddhists, are Islamophobic.”

He said anti-Islamic pamphlets have lately been circulating in western Myanmar, stirring up fear and anger among the Buddhists there. Some believe the military-dominated government is behind the propaganda campaign.

“These small booklets are not officially published but rather secretly disseminated,” said Zaw Nay Aung, who called the pamphlets “hate-literature” that suggests global Islam has embarked on a plan to make inroads into non-Muslim countries. The alleged methods in Myanmar are the practice of polygamy, the building and expansion of mosques and the seeking of ethnic minority status for the Rohingya.

Zaw Nay Aung’s pro-democracy group, Burma Independence Advocates, which is based in London, is preparing a report “about the regime’s possible conspiracy on the communal strife,” he said.

“I think this whole mess is deliberately created by the regime to have an effect of rally-round-the flag,” he said. “Many people in Burma today support President Thein Sein for his stance on the Rohingya. He said he would run for a second term, and he’s getting more and more support because of this religious/racial crisis.”

Aung Zaw, the Irrawaddy editor, described one theory that “the strife was intended to allow the Burmese armed forces, or Tatmadaw, to return to the spotlight.”

“In the past,” he said, “the former junta launched several military campaigns against the Rohingya — and every time the Burmese people rallied behind the military.”

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ASEAN Chief: Burma Unrest Could Radicalize Rohingya Muslims

The head of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is warning that ongoing sectarian violence in western Burma could radicalize minority Rohingya Muslims and threaten the stability of the region. 

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan is calling for the international community to intervene in Burma's western Rakhine state, where dozens have been killed and tens of thousands displaced in the latest outbreak of fighting between Buddhists and Muslims. 

“ASEAN can certainly spearhead a humanitarian engagement just to help the people to relieve the pressure, to relieve the suffering and the pain. 

Then there are other issues, that is beyond ASEAN that has to be taken up by the international community, by the global institution like the UN. It's the issue of political reconciliation inside. The world must encourage the issue of constitutionality.'' 

Surin says the 10-nation bloc is in a position to offer aid to Burma, but unless the situation is resolved quickly, Burma's 1.5-million Rohingyas could become radicalized, something he says could jeopardize the economic security of South and East Asia. 

The United Nations says 22,000 people have been displaced since last week in western Rakhine state. The Burmese government says the fighting has left more than 2,800 houses burned and 67 people dead. 

Human Rights Watch fears the death toll is far higher, based on the accounts of witnesses fleeing the fighting, which it says has disproportionately targeted Muslims. 

The U.N. said last week that the violence threatens to undermine the reforms enacted by Burma's new nominally civilian government. It called on Burmese authorities to bring lawlessness and vigilante attacks under control and to put a stop to threats and extremist rhetoric. 

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Who are the real, not perceived, Balkanizers of Burma?

Ultra-nationalist, greedy and security-delusional, generals in Burma - not ethnic and religious communities per se - are the single-most destablizing force in the whole of Burma. 

They mobilize natural prejudices among different organizations and communities - be it intra-KNU differences or Muslim-Buddhist divisions -- while keeping the nominally Buddhist majority in the vast sea of home-grown popular Fascism.

They are the real ones who are potentially "balkanizing" this multi-ethnic country sandwiched between two Asian giants.  




A Rohingya leader in his own words: Al Jazeera English

"The violence is Arakan is not (solely) communal violence. It is a state-organized ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya (and Muslims)."

-- Tun Khin, Burmese Rohingya Organization, UK



Al Jazeera English, Oct 30, 2012

Myanmar Media inflames the country's Home-grown Skin-head Ideologies


A Jingoist Media Foments Violence in Burma's Arakan state

Written by Sai Latt

Asian Sentinal, 29 October 2012

Encouraged by a rabidly irresponsible nationalist press, the Buddhist nationalists that constitute Burma’s majority population, along with the ethnic Rakhine minority, have adopted a siege mentality that Rohingyas, whom they call “Bengali” illegal immigrants and terrorists, are causing the problems in their otherwise peaceful country. 

The earlier anti-Rohingya campaign has now become an anti-Muslim movement. Victims of fresh violence that broke out on October 23 in central Arakan state are ethnic Kaman of Islamic faith. According to the United Nations, more than 28,000 people have been displaced in the past seven days – 27,300 of them Muslims, mostly Kaman. Thousands of homes have been razed and more than 100 people have been killed, according to most estimates. 

Similarly, Human Rights Watch released satellite images on October 26 showing a vast land area in Kyauk Pru township in Arakan State being burned to the ground. The organization said thousands of Muslims were floating in the sea, while many have landed on the banks of islands and ports in life-threatening condition. Aid organizations, international media around the world, and the once-exiled Burmese media are reporting the worsening persecution. 

Quite contrary to what the world is witnessing collectively –that Muslims are the mass victims in the Arakan conflict – the Rakhine and Burmese majority continue to believe they are the victims. This is not to deny that Rakhines are not victims. In fact, many have been killed and many houses have been razed. It is undeniable, however, that Muslims constitute a much larger majority of victims and refugees. 

Yet the majority population keeps repeating that Bengalis, even when the victims are not Rohingyas, are terrorists and troublemakers who fomented the violence and that therefore they and their religion must be suppressed. The majority do not accept that the violence must stop immediately, and that nobody deserves to be killed, tortured or expelled. They have not realized that the problems must be solved through political settlement. 

The political effect of self-victimization is that it lends support to an anti-Muslim campaign which is already manifested in large-scale violence. 

The immediate reason that Buddhist majority support the continuing violence is the domestic media, which has been publishing exceedingly biased news and nationalistic views, perpetuating public anxiety, feelings of insecurity and the sense of victimhood allegedly caused by ‘Rohingya terrorists’. 

In such a politicized environment, the first step to stop violence in Arakan state is to suspend the domestic journals, at least temporarily. It might sound quite bizarre to advocate the suspension of print journals in the new so-called “democratic” Burma. The ugly truth, however, is that the Burmese-language journals published are feeding misinformation and subjective perspectives that are turning the increasingly polarized population into a mob that won’t shy away from violence. 

In Burma, the power of the newly unleashed domestic journals is immense. The people, previously starved of information for decades, find newly established publications to be an oasis. In major cities and even small towns, newsstands are now everywhere. New journals keep appearing one after another, with an audience ranging from rickshaw drivers to government officials. 

The two most popular journals in the country are the Weekly Eleven and the Voice Weekly. They are also leading a media war against those whom they call “Bengali” illegal immigrants. These journals are not celebrating freedom of expression with responsibility. Even though the ideal of freedom of expression, which ideologically permits their political existence in a reformed Burma, is derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of human rights for all is nowhere close to their culture, ethics or political aspirations. 

Instead, they are pitting Buddhist Rakhines against the Muslim Rohingyas, who are altogether seen as ‘foreigners’ and a national security threat, however unproven. They support the former’s political interests at the expense of the latter, who have already taken the brunt of the abuse. Such a nationalistic stance is responsible for the people’s delusion. 

For example, The Voice Weekly published a story on October 27 (one day after Human Rights Watch released satellite images), that was entirely based on a single Rakhine source of information, the Arakan League for Democracy. It referred to a simplistic but politically motivated statement by the party and cited a comment by Myo Kyaw, secretary of the Arakan League, saying that a foreign organization, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, had ignited the conflict. The journal then weaved into the story a previous announcement by President Thein Sein that made it appear that the government and the Arakan League were in agreement against international organizations. 

Similarly, the Weekly Eleven ran two opinion pieces on October 28th (two days after the Human Rights Watch report and the same day the UN said almost all of the displaced victims are Muslims). Both pieces proceed from a Rakhine perspective that denies any chance for coexistence between Rakhines and Rohingyas. The authors accuse Rohingyas (and Muslims) as the cause of the problems. 

The second article, titled “Who pulled the strings from behind?” accused Rohingyas of initiating ethno-religious conflicts to realize their ‘ethnic dream’. It cited 30 Muslim religious leaders from home and abroad as visiting Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships during the conflict. The narratives suggest that Muslims perpetrated the violence, never mind the fact that those running desperately for their lives are Muslims.

Such biases and perspectives are not exceptions, they are the rule. Since June this year, both journals have consistently printed and posted explicitly anti-Rohingya news and views. 

Collectively, the journals fan popular misunderstandings and prejudices that the Rohingya are illegal immigrants despite living in the region for hundreds of years, that they are source of the problems, that they started the conflict by setting their own homes on fire and ran away, and that they are responsible for violence. The publications alleged that the Rakhines, not Rohingyas or Muslims, are the victims of the violence. 

By repeating the arguments about victimhood and “Rohingya guilt”, the journals mask the ugly truth that it is predominantly Muslims who are facing the violence. They continue to bombard peoples’ minds with anti-Rohingya views and accusations at the expense of the opportunity to call for ending the violence. 

Given that the two journals have become the most popular in the country regardless of quality and ethics, the audience uncritically accepts the information and views presented. They disregard all alternative information and views as false and manipulated. As such, the Burmese are having trouble accepting what the outside world is witnessing. 

To be fair, the violence is not all fomented by Rakhines. There have been attacks and counterattacks from both sides, with both taking casualties. But no one can deny that Muslims experience much worse attacks than their Rakhine counterparts. Otherwise, the 27,300 out of 28,000 displaced people in the past few days would not have been Muslims. 

Whoever started the conflict, there is no justification for the media to side with one group to support the expulsion of another. Yet, the most popular and influential journals in Burma have failed miserably. Instead of stopping violence, they have fueled the conflict by deceiving the public, by perpetuating public hatred of Rohingyas and by provoking fear, insecurity and victimhood, driving the public to legitimize violence and support angry mobs. 

Thus, the first step to stop violence in Arakan state shold be to temporarily suspend the Burmese language journals, which are shaping public opinion towards mob culture. Otherwise, people will continued to be fooled so as to keep rallying for violence. This is not a call to back away from freedom and democracy for a return to military rule. This is a call that unethical and abusive media costing human lives and dignity must be suspended.

Sai Latt is a Burmese and a PhD Candidate at Simon Fraser University in Canada.

Go to Original .

About Rants and Rats


I rant.  And I rant too much, so say my friends and foes.  Who is my audience, they ask?

Here is my thoughts on the subject: styles of Communications versus structures of interests and ideologies

It matters not whether I whisper, pillow-talk or speak with a moderate tone.   There are structures of interests and delusions that block what the powers that be don't want to hear.

So, the issue here really, is about rants and rats.  

My style of communications is not a problem. 

I know how to talk - my father made a living as a tactical talker: a broker.  I learned to speak while crawling around him closing business deals.

I have chosen to speak the way I speak because I think most institutions are run by scums who won't hear you out unless what you are saying resonates with them, advances their hidden agendas or  is what they need and want to hear.  

My religion may be 'to do good in this world" as the late Thomas Paine professed the idea to be his faith.

But I certainly don't count on their good will in order to "do good".  I have as yet to see the evidence that would make me enamored with the virtues of the benevolence of power, that is, the benevolence of scums, sharks and whores that climb to the top on the pile of skeletons and corpses.  

Obviously, my audience isn't the delusional and the depraved.  I am sure they wouldn't invite me to dinner either!

Nothing threatens ultra-nationalist Rakhine Fascists like the peaceful co-existence of Muslims and Buddhist communities

‎"dear sir,Kyauk Ni Maw is under attack.it's started at 7:30am local time. the security personals fired warning shots.the Rakhine terrorist are determined to wipe out kyauk ni maw before noon today.when i m typing this massage somthings very bad feeling goning on in my inner mind."

Kyauk Ni Maw has about 400 Rakhines and over 6,000 Muslims - who have been descendants of Arab and Persian traders from centuries back. 

This is also a model community where Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim communities have lived peacefully integrally for centuries. 

The ultra-nationalist Rakhine - led by Bangali-Rakhine Member of Parliament Aye Maung and his cohorts-- are reportedly trying to wipe out this majority Muslim community.  For nothing threatens these 

The eminent attack on Kyauk Ni Maw has nothing to do with the perceived migration of the Rohingya from Bangladesh. It is a plain old Fascism, with the anti-Muslim and anti-Rohingya twist. That's what prompted Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project to say the issue is about 'anti-Islam' racism of the nationalist Rakhine, the strain of racism that is institutionalized within the Burmese military as an institution which has succeeded in purging the country's armed forces of non-Buddhists, most particularly Muslims and Christians.  

First, they butcher the name "Rohingya", then they slaughter real humans - on the Eve of Eid


Burma-concerned individuals who are utterly ignorant of factual history - if not downright racist - accuse others who emphatically use the term Rohingya in reference to, yes, the Rohingya as "politicizing" a non-ethnic label.    

That includes just about every member of ruling and counter-elites - from President Thein Sein, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD co-founders -- ex-General Tin Oo and veteran journalist U Win Tin -- 88 Generation activists such as Ko Ko Gyi, Myo Yan Naung Thein, etc.

In media circles, policy makers and influential Burmese are engaged in mutually stupid and ill-informed conversations about whether or not the term "Rohingya" should be used as a matter of (truthful) editorial policy or not.  

To its credit, Washington-based Radio Free Asia has adopted a policy of using the term "Rohingya" in reference to, well, the Rohingya.  

Myanmar Muslim members and their Rakhine counterparts on the Presidential Rakhine-Rohingya Riot Inquiry Commission argued bitterly for two hours whether the persecuted - now ethnically cleansed - Rohingya of Arakan State should be called Rohingya or "Bangali Muslim".

Not a single known member of Burmese intelligentsia - journalists, artists, academics, teachers, doctors, etc. - who is him or herself not a Rohingya has come out in pointing out the un-erasable facts - that the Rohingya were a nationally and officially recognized ethnic community.

In some Burmese media circles, there have been internal debates as to how 'those people' should be referred to in their media stories!  None in the position of influence has acknowledged deep-seated and popular racism of the bulk of the population who are NOT Muslims or of Indian sub-continent ancestry.  

Ignorance, deliberate lies, Bama-eat-Bama mentality, absence of compassion, and missing humanistic vision  are primary products of half-century of generals' despotic, incompetent and acorrupt rule.  

They continue to pervade all segments of society, from top to bottom, east and west, north and south, civilians and soldiers, western educated and monastically schooled.   

Indeed popular racism of a neo-Fascist strain which has led to the unfolding Rohingya cleansing reign in Myanmar under the reformist duo of President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar's toxic racism is not confined to the 'natives' and their communities.  They have infested Western academics, or more accurately, reinforced the Made-in-the-West Orientalist Islamophia.  

A dangerous case in point is  the ex-Christian missionary-cum-academic - named Jaques P. Leider, the head of the French School of Asian Studies in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Leider has been going around the world telling different audiences that the term "Rohingya" is not an ethnic concept or idea. 
A founding member of post-colonial studies Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak reportedly characterized Leider's views towards the Rohingya "toxic".

Here is a must-read article from New Mandala for anyone concerned about the systematic attempt to erase a Muslim ethnic community literally and in terms of its own ethnic identity.

Judge for yourself who is lying, who is politicizing the ethnic label, and who is flirting with neo-Fascist ideals of the 'origin' and 'blood' of a people (s).

Myanmar Travel Reassurances to Westerners: Ministries of Foreign Affairs, "The West"

To those of you Myanmar-bound travelers with passports issued by EU, US, Canada, and Japan,

Myanmar is the ultimate "virgin" spot, we understand, where tourists, researchers, NGOs, investors and world leaders love to "have been" there.

Recent news about violent "sectarian" clashes in Western Burma may make you rethink about your travel plan to that wonderful country of Buddhists, open-minded reformist generals and ex-generals and iconic human rights defenders. Many of our most distinguished leaders in academia, business and politics who have been there will highly recommend Myanmar as a new hot spot, whatever your mission. Plus the Nobel-prize winning Leader of our Western Civilization - Barak Obama - will be travelling to that Golden Land of Genocidal "Buddhists".

Rest assured that the violence you have heard about on BBC and Al Jazeera is confined to a narrow strip of the Arakanese coast line, and away from tourist and media cameras, thereby eliminating any potential inconveniences to your stay in Myanmar.

Myanmar's reformist government headed by President Thein Sein - himself a Nobel Peace Prize-short-listed reformer -- has assured us, the authorities in The West, that his government is doing everything it can to ensure your safety and to facilitate your wonderful stay. He has further promised us that virtually all law enforcement agencies have been ordered to help your stay in Myanmar as wonderful and memorable as humanly possible.

Again President Thein Sein himself - incidentally, a very sincere, soft-spoken and harmless personality - has assured our Ministries that you will not hear gun shot fires, nor will you see boat loads of fleeing "Kulars or niggers" - much less their social media-circulated doctored images of mutilated corpses, charred belongings, and burnt houses. (Off the record: These damn human rights activists tend to sensationalize stories and exaggerate atrocities - it's just another case of ethnic cleansing. We have other really important business in Myanmar: BUSINESS).

These unpleasant things do happen off-the-beaten paths, and are part of the march towards civilizational progress. And we advise you not to meddle in Myanmar's genocidal events. Another place where you may soon seen genocide is Kachin State of Northern Burma; but again it would be wise for you to mind your own business while in Myanmar.

As Western countries, we often get accused of meddling in other people's affairs. After 25 years of barking at Myanmar authorities how to run their shop, they are heeding our advice, as a matter of fact. We know they mean business - no pun intended - when they tell us they are reforming their economy.

Aung San Suu Kyi, that Gandhian spiritual activist for whom we have boundless admiration, and her partner in reform President Thein Sein, are working towards re-instating the "rule of law" after its disappearance of half century. After all, the genocide of "kulars" in Western Myanmar could have been prevented if there was such a thing as "rule of law".

We are acutely aware of the Human Rights Watch's satellite imagery about large scale violence in the future Chinese port city of Kyauk Phyru, and you may have heard of un-substantiated allegations about the genocide or ethnic cleansing of a small Muslim minority controversially called "Rohingya". We are slightly embarrassed by the fact that this side issue of genocide is taking place right under the nose of the two Myanmarese Nobles - Madam Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein. Oh, well....

But we do expect you to show utmost respect for other people's cultures and ways of life.

In the predominantly "Buddhist" countries of South and South East Asia - for instance, Sri Lanka and now Myanmar - genocide is a "Buddhist" way of life.

As Western citizens, you are expected to show cultural sensitivities. Do not make your hosts loose their face. Do not mention the word "Rohingya" during your stay in Myanmar. The people are very historically minded and they will immediately reject such academic non-sense as "Rohingya", which is not an ethnic label, as emphatically stated by the esteemed French expert on Myanmar Jaque P. Leider

Plus who are we as Westerners to impose modern amenities like "human rights" and "genocide prevention"? We have had our share of genocidal cultural practice - plenty of it, in fact - since Columbus.

For those of you who are going to be travelling on 'democracy promotion' and 'civil society-state capacity building' - same thing -- bear in mind we have a very important mission ahead of us. We need your contribution as 'fore-players' before our strategic and business penetration.

So, do not - we repeat, do not - allow yourself to be distracted by any annoying news about "genocide" or "ethnic cleansing".

Whatever your travel purpose in Myanmar, and whatever your next destination after Myanmar, enjoy the chimes of temple bells. Kipling had long whetted our ancestral appetite when the gifted apologist of Empire memorialized this civilizationally genocidal place in his wonderfully Orientalistic, "On the Road to Mandalay".

Myanmar people there smile a lot. There will be "Burmese girls" waiting for you by the old Moulmein pagoda. Remember to not go westward towards Sittwe or Akrab though.

Buddhist monks do routinely recite "Metta Sutra" or "Loving Kindness" prayers for all sentient beings. Well, not quite. They have their "Kulars or Niggers".



And they are dealing with them in their own culturally appropriate way: Genocide.

Yes, it is genocide. But let's get on with your/own own wonderful Myanmar business - pleasure or business.

Have a most wonderful stay!

Idealistically yours,

Western Civilizational Authorities

Burma: New Violence in Arakan State

Satellite Imagery Shows Widespread Destruction of Rohingya Homes, Property

"New satellite imagery obtained by Human Rights Watch shows extensive destruction of homes and other property in a predominantly Rohingya Muslim area of the coastal town of Kyauk Pyu – one of several areas of new violence and displacement.

Human Rights Watch identified 811 destroyed structures on the eastern coastal edge of Kyauk Pyu following arson attacks reportedly conducted on October 24, 2012, less than 24 hours before the satellite images were captured. The area of destruction measures 35 acres and includes 633 buildings and 178 houseboats and floating barges adjacent on the water, all of which were razed."

2012 Burma Satimage

The Lady's Silence, Myanmar's Ethnic Cleansing and Myopic Ethno-Nationalism

The Lady, if herself a no racist, is certainly surrounded by ethno-nationalist racists - Rakhine, Bama, civilian, ex-generals, etc - who verifiably lack a national humanistic vision or compassionately democratic values - beyond the Orientalist understanding of people as 'blood-based'. 

The country's future is really, really bleak. the level of hatred, hostilities and resentment - all piled up over the past 50 years of racist neo-Fascist military rule is only beginning to find cracks. 

Any religious and ethnic group in numerical minority should be weary: ironically, this ethno-hatred of population can turn against the now genocidal Rakhines themselves. 

The myopic Bama nationalists are insane, but they are rational - in that they will never dare venting hostilities against Chinese and Chinese interests - because Mandalay, the epic centre of mass hatred towards Chinese - is too close to Beijing. 

Post-Mao China is not going to sit on its hand - unlike Mao's China which did nothing to stop Indonesia's massacre of Indonesian-born Chinese. the Chinese in Indonesia subsequently changed their names! Such is the outcome of despicable mass Fascism. 

In the colonial period following the Great (Stock Market) Crash of 1929, the Burmese turned on the Indian, particularly money-lending Chitteyers, a subset or caste of Tamis from Tamilnadu, although, according to the late eminent historian Dr U Than Tun, were less ruthless than Bama money lenders and Chinese lenders, because ethno-nationalists always need a weaker party to scapegoat. The farmers later turned against the British Imperial Rule - and they were all massacred. So, the Burmese have decided that the less exploitative, but more vulnerable Indians - the Kulars! - were more fun to beat up, abuse and kill. For to paraphrase George Orwell, behind the protection of a million bayonets, the Raj's civilian officers ruled "the natives".

The way to combat neo-fascist Rakhine and Bama "Buddhist" racism


To all my friends of Islamic Faith, particularly of the Rohingya ethnic background,



The way to combat neo-fascist Rakhine and Bama "Buddhist" racism is NOT an "Islamically-grounded" counter-racism.

It is HUMANISM - that we are all human beings, who want a safe and happy life for ourselves and for the ones we love, despite our superficial differences of customs, faiths and ideologies.

Buddhist teachings do NOT condone or justify what the Rakhine racists are doing to your fellow Muslims, that is, slaughtering the Muslims and Rohingya and purging Southern and Eastern Arakan State of other Muslims and the Rohingya Muslims.
There are still NON-racist Rakhine who have lived integrated lives - are still living - and who are so sickened and hear-broken by what Racist Rakhines are doing in their name and in the name of Buddhism.

Racism cannot be combated by a reverse or counter-racism in the name of another faith.

What we are witnessing is NOT Buddhists engaged in slaughter and destruction of Muslims.

It is simply hate-filled racist, fascist, murderers slaughtering Muslims and Rohingya Muslims in the name of Buddhism, national security, and Rakhine-land.

We should see right through this murderous philosophy, i.e., neo-Fascist racism of Burma - and not attribute it to Buddhism, or entire Rakhine people or Burmese people.

Otherwise, we will remain locked in a vicious cycle of Racism and Fascism.

Zarni's 10-minute in-depth analysis on the ABC Radio on the renewed "communal" violence in Burma


UN condemns Burma violence as death toll rises

Updated 26 October 2012, 16:19 AEST 

As clashes spread in Burma's Rakhine state, dozens have reportedly been killed and hundreds of homes have been torched since Sunday.

Several people were killed overnight as violence erupted despite a night-time curfew in at least two towns. The latest clashes are the first serious outburst of violence since June when a state of emergency was declared in Rakhine after 90 people were killed. In response to the recent violence, a UN investigator has said the Burmese government is delaying crucial decisions to help reduce tensions in these volatile regions.
Maung Zarni is a critic of both the current Burmese government and Aung San Suu Kyi and is a visiting fellow at London School of Economics. Listen to his analysis here. 

Presenter: Liam Cochrane 

Speakers: Maung Zarni, visiting fellow, London School of Economics.

Listen to the analysis .

Free Burma Coalition Manual (1997)

Free Burma Coalition Manual: How you can help Burma's Struggle for Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights, published by FBC, Madison, Wisconsin (1997).




Active Citizens under Political Wraps, Edited Volume, 2006

Published by The Heinrich Boell Foundation, Berlin, Germany and Chiang Mai, Thailand (2007)



To download this book in PDF format click here .



One dozen fundamentals that will shape Burma's future

1. The Pentagon and CIA want to have a toehold in Burma out of its Design against the rising China. 
2. Beijing will make counter-moves. 
3. Japan and its anti-Chinese Defense Establishment will jump on the American wagon. 
4. The Burmese generals are neo-fascists and national security-obsessed sociopaths.
5. Saffron-robed monks are morphing into Burmese skin-heads. 
6. The majority Bama public are deeply racist and anti-Muslim. 
7. Noble dissidents talk the talk of human rights, but don't walk the walk. 
8. The post-independence civil war of 60-plus years is raging on.
9. The Wretched of Burma will be radicalized. 
10. The bulk of the multiethnic population is not only deeply impoverished, but little or ill-educated.
11. The Resource Curse will continue.
And 12. Oh, there will be ASEAN Free Trade which will pin the Burmese down for the economic rape. 

Burma's future is bleak indeed.

Hotel Myanmar


The Rohingyas through the Burmese generals' eyes

According to a regime official I spoke to yesterday, Naypyidaw's view towards the burning and killing of the "Bengali" - their reference to the Rohingya - is this: Taliban and Hezbollah are moving into Western Burma now!

 All sick national security doctrines are self-fulfilling.

The Pentagon and CIA want to have a toehold in Burma out of its Design against the rising China. Beijing will make counter-moves. Japan and its anti-Chinese Defense Establishment will jump on the American wagon. The Burmese generals are neo-fascists. Saffron-robed monks are morphing into Burmese skin-heads. The majority Bama public are deeply racist and anti-Muslim. Noble dissidents talk the talk of human rights, but don't walk the walk. The post-independence civil war of 60-plus years is raging on.  The Wretched of Burma will be radicalized.  The bulk of the multiethnic population is not only deeply impoverished, but little or ill-educated.

Oh, there will be ASEAN Free Trade which will pin the Burmese down for the economic rape.

Burma's future is bleak.

Burma in Transition: Columbia University 14 Sept 2012


Myanmar as Asian Development Bank's Asian Tiger?

Myanmar as Asian Development Bank's Asian Tiger?: A Delusion on a Cosmic Scale

Numbers about human capital base tell a different and more truthful story:

Bama Rohingya refugees on Western Burma: 60,000 and counting


Kachin refugees on Eastern Burma: 80,000 and counting

Karen and other multi-ethnic refugees and IDPs in Eastern Burma: officially about 150,000 (?), but realistically over 500,000

Shan refugees: about 300,000 on Thai soil, but they don't exist because the Shans are not recognized as refugees in Thailand - (No official definition no empirical existence.)

Pockets of sub-Saharan conditions in Shan State, Dry Zone, Western Burma and Chin Hills

The number of ghostly villages with no labor force because all able body men and women left the country in search of jobs and opportunities across S. East Asia: COUNTLESS

Burma's skilled and unskilled migrant workers: about 2-3 millions most of them in Thailand

Another Burmese labor force scattered across the US: no exact stats, but more than 300,000 in the USA alone.

What is left in Burma:

400,000 soldiers who specialize in extortion, loot, rape, pillage, torture, execution and persecution

another 400,000 Buddhist monks who live off "Buddhist" public and its labor while spreading the State-orchestrated Anti-Buddhist message of Hate

another 0.25 million veterans of the Burma Army or Tatmadaw who are on state welfare

another 0.5 million members of the state bureaucracy most of whom are either professional incompetent or irredeemably corrpt, or both

99.9% of the Burmese "university" graduates who do not know what their first degrees BAs, BScs, BEds, BComs, BEngs, M.B.B.Ss., BVet, BAgri, etc. stand for

35% of all Burmese youth who never finish beyond 4th Standard/Grade

MYANMAR EGRESS' graduates who, after 3-months of crash course in nation building, leadership, public speaking and so on, think they are shoe-ins to become Presidential Advisers or "New Era Guru". (Egress was founded by those self-styled "king-makers" with deep ties to the dreaded Special Branch, with the purpose of training political wheeler-dealers and re-channel youthful energy into half-baked technocratic endeavors like serving the Generals)

This list goes on and on and on.

And you still think 'reformed and reconstructed Myanmar' - currently war-, conflict- and poverty-stricken - is a potential candidate to become the next Asian tiger?

We'd be lucky if we leave our 'stray dog' national standing in a generation!

Remark: Some of the stats are my own fabrications. Anyone who works with statistics would know that numbers, not just narratives, can be manufactured. So, take it or junk it, whatever your political purpose. But my essential thesis here holds: Burma will be lucky to end its 'stray dog' status in 2025.

Myanmar as ASEAN's Bosnia

The Pentagon and CIA are welcome in Burma.

OIC's relief office is NOT. 

This is the essence of "reforms" in Burma, yes, those reforms Aung San Suu Kyi has endorsed. 

Why did Naypyidaw renege on its official agreement to let OIC open a humanitarian affairs office in Burma?
 
Simple: OIC presence would have been rather inconvenient for the reforming Burma in times like these when the Rohingya properties and houses are burned down, families driven out like stray dogs, OIC would be bearing witness to the continuing on-again off-again periodic ethnic cleansing of these people on their own birthplace. 

Buddha forbids that OIC takes videos and pictures of Rohingya villages burning, children and women slaughtered and neo-fascist state and racist society act in collaboration towards their shared mission of ridding the country of Muslim Rohingyas. 

This is BOSNIA - except that ASEAN is no NATO. 

Here is the latest: 

from Lynn Lee

about an hour ago

Latest from our Rohingya contact in Rakhine state: "today at about night 10:00pm, Rakhine peoples fired Zaliya village (Rohingya village) in Minn Bya township, Arkan,Burma. According to immediate news,the whole Muslim village was almost burnt down,there were nearly 300 houses was burnt and the amount of death is unknown yet. help us Rohingya."

Robert Kelley, Kavi and Zarni discussing Burma's Nuclear Ambitions, FCCT, Bangkok, October 2010

Proliferation in Southeast Asian:

Is Burma a Problem?



Robert Kelly, former IAEA WMD Inspector
Maung Zarni, Chulalongkorn University
Kavi, The Nation

Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
October 2010

Zarni interviewed on Al Jazeera English's "People and Power", 2009

Myanmar: Beneath the surface

Two years after mass demonstrations against the military junta, People & Power goes undercover.

23 Dec 2009 08:34 GMT



Two years ago the world watched in dismay as Myanmar's military junta brutally crushed the so-called Saffron Revolution. It was the only show of mass opposition to have occurred inside the country in almost 20 years.

Now, that same junta is moving towards elections some time in 2010, but no one expects them to be either free or fair, based as they are on a constitution seemingly designed to ensure the survival of those in power. 

Filmmaker Hazel Chandler entered the country undercover for People & Power, to find out how Myanmar's people are fairing, and to investigate disturbing claims that the regime may be trying to develop nuclear weapons.

This episode of People & Power can be seen from Wednesday, December 23, 2009, at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 0600, 1230; Thursday: 0130, 1400, 1930; Friday: 0630, 1630; Saturday: 0330, 2030; Sunday:0030, 0530; Monday: 0830.

Parliamentarians at work

BANKSY


Two criteria for Bama "Buddhist" Patriotism

You love the country that denies Rohingya children access to food, school, healthcare, and everything else you want and seek for your children - rendering 90% of these "Bengali animals" illiterate?

And you love the country that has since independencen waged waves of internal colonial wars of greed, aggression and nationalist delusions against the Kachin, the Karen, the Shan, and so on?

You are indeed a Bama patriot!

Burma's Reforms Through the Generals' Eyes | A No Nonsense Conversation with Maung Zarni



6pm, Friday November 2, 2012
(Please see pricing and reservation procedure below)

There is absolutely no denying that significant changes are taking place in Burma. Only five years ago, the military-ruled country was a disturbing humanitarian basket case, a human rights hellhole and the Balkans of Southeast Asia. Now the very same country - still ruled by the same clique of generals and plagued by human rights abuses, humanitarian crises and violent ethnic conflicts - is framed by the international media and Western governments alike as "a model of democratic transition" and the next Asian "Tiger". 

It is not only is the liberal West whose heart is thumping with excitement about Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi, now transitioning into a presidential aspirant, is travelling around the world marketing her former captors and tormentors as "sincere reformers".

But how much of this is real? And how much is hype? Do we know what the senior generals and ex-generals, the country's most powerful stakeholders, think of their own reforms? Where do the next generation of military leaders, who have grown so accustomed to a sense of entitlement to rule - not govern - the country, stand? And where is the country heading under the new quasi-civilian management?

These are some of the key questions that will be addressed head-on in this "no-nonsense" conversation, between the outspoken UK-based exile Maung Zarni and moderator and interviewer Veronica Pedrosa.

Maung Zarni is one of the most trenchant critics of both the Burmese military regime and Aung San Suu Kyi, a pioneer in human rights cyber-activism and a Visiting Fellow with the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit (2011-13), at London School of Economics. As a student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he co-founded the Free Burma Coalition, one of the Internet's first and largest human rights movements, in 1995. He was one of the first Burmese dissidents to advocate strategic engagement with the military regime and worked with the generals from 2004 until Cyclone Nargis in 2008. He was educated at St Peter's Boys School in Mandalay and the universities of Mandalay, California, Washington and Wisconsin. His forthcoming book on Burma, provisionally titled "Life Under the Boot: 50 years of Military Dictatorship in Burma", will be published by Yale University Press.

Veronica Pedrosa is a veteran journalist of 20 years' international news experience. She has lived and worked in three continents, and her career encompasses the 'big names' in international news broadcasting. Veronica grew up in exile in London after her mother, also a journalist, wrote a biography of the then First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos. She was educated at St Paul's Girls School in London and Newham College, Cambridge.
Pricing Details:
Members: No cover charge, buffet dinner is 350 baht
Cover charge for non-members: 300 Baht, Buffet dinner: 350 Baht, for members and non-members alike.
Reservations: To ensure sufficient food for the buffet, we would greatly appreciate your making a buffet reservation at least one day before the program if you plan to join us for the dinner. (No penalty for cancellation if last minute conflicts arise.) Please also note that tables/seats will be reserved only for those with advance buffet bookings. To reserve, please call 02-652-0580-1 or click here to send an e-mail to info@fccthai.com .


Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand 
Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building 
518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station) 
Patumwan, Bangkok 10330 
Tel.: 02-652-0580 

Hours of Operation - 
All departments are open Monday-Friday and closed Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays 

Clubhouse 
(including Photo Gallery) 
10:00 am - 11:00 pm 
Restaurant 
12:00 noon - 2:30pm 
6:00 pm - 9:00pm 
Bar 12:00 noon - 11:00 pm 
Office 
9:30 am - 6:00 pm 

Why did President Thein Sein form the Inquiry Commission, if his intention was not to uncover truth?

Why did President Thein Sein form the Inquiry Commission, if his intention was not to uncover truth?  Aside from the very real possibility that a real inquiry will point to the fact that his government instigated the latest anti-Rohingya violence for a myriad of strategic reasons.

Why did the politically known entities even bother to join the commission?

Here is my analysis:

Second question, first.

Different rationales for different commissioners. For some like Zarganar and 88-generation's certified lead Racist Ko Ko Gyi, it was better to be 'in' than outside of this process. For the racists, this was an opportunity to get their version of events certified and their racist views enshrined in the Commission's official report. Yet for others, any signifier of POWER - words like "president" "parliament" "commission" - makes them wag their tails, ready their tong for licking generals' testicles and want to bask in their 2-minutes of limelight. And I can go on and on and on. 

Thein Sein and his senior bosses behind the stage/scenes formed the Commission, stacked it with a number politically highly respected individuals, publicized the line-up of the commission for public relations gain, and dampened international enthusiasm for outside, independent commission from OIC or UN and decided that they would deal with the Commission, in due course and as the situation developed. Thein Sein squeezed every drop of PR benefit from the commission's line-up - read the UNGA speech transcript and see what I mean. 

The commission served the IMMEDIATE GOAL of preempting the idea of outside, independent commission to investigate the violence in Arakan.

When that goal was met, (through a combo strategy of letting the Turkish delegation in, playing nice with the OIC delegations, playing humanitarian, in the eyes of the UN and INGOs, with the survivors of the latest Rohingya cleansing, quietly attempting to exploit the internal divisions within the OIC suc as Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other Islamic countries, as well as bending over backward in its dealing with Washington and other western entities) Naypyidaw junked the old game of optimally cooperating with the OIC.

Naypyidaw found 'people power' - by stoking the not-so-latent typical neo-fascist anti-Kular, anti-Muslim RACISM among the public at large. 

Now Naypyidaw of course is complying with the "people's wish" NOT to have any 'nigger' organization open an office. 

A "MOU" means nothing. Ask the Kachins and others who have signed or reached ceasefire deals with the Burmese regime. They can tell you how twisted and untrustworthy the military strategists are.

Forget President Thein Sein and front-line monkeys on Naypyidaw's stage. 

The ones who are making real strategic decisions don't bother to talk to media, opposition, diplomats, INGOs or PEOPLE!

19 October 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi's new problems

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's new problems are 1) pandering to both the interests of her Western political patrons and those of "her father's Army" in Burma while 2) disregarding the pleas from non-Bama
ethnic communities to stand with them in their time of dire needs.  Her new political stance is as unprincipled as un-strategic, from the perspective of democratization.

Here is a local analysis of Suu Kyi's "wins and losses" published on 18 Oct by Mizzima News Group.


A Must-Watch leaked official video: Ethnic Cleansing of the Rohingya

Watch  here

2004 FBC Report with a structural and geopolitical analysis



Common Problems, Shared Responsibilities: Citizens’ Quest for National Reconciliation  in Burma/Myanmar

Report of a Citizen Exiles Group

Co-authored by Zarni and May Oo

The Free Burma Coalition, Albany, California and Washington, DC

October 2004

Go to Source

Chasing Change in Burma

“Change” has been the most important buzzword in the world of Burma ever since the “8.8.88” events which brought down the flimsy bamboo fence of Gen Ne Win's “Burmese Way to Socialism.” And yet, generally speaking, most activists and analysts who make Burma change Doe-A-Yay or “Our Business” have failed to either affect the process positively, or adequately understand the unfolding process of
regressive change unleashed by the region's capitalist transformation.

The metaphor that springs to mind when I think about our Burma world of activists and analysts is the tale of “The Elephant and Six Blind Brahmins.” Some of us touch the ears and, with confidence, pronounce it to be a fan-like flat and flabby creature while others whose palms land on its legs describe the creature to be like a tree trunk.

Our issues seem to attract analysts, foreign and local, who elevate their more or less monocausal explanations into analytical mono-theisms. For these learned men (and women) tend to hold onto
their respective analyses rather religiously, be they historians mining fruitlessly the pre-colonial and colonial pasts for answers to the big questions confronting present-day Burma, statist political scientists who can only conceive the world through the prism of the (modern) State and state-building, norm-obsessed academics who weave their selective liberal values into their Burma analytical frameworks, or left-leaning analysts who remain stuck intellectually in their stale Cold War analytical paradigm.

As analysts and activists we ignore the ever-evolving realities on the ground—for instance, the increasingly anti-humanist, callous and feudal characteristics of the regime leadership and the categorically repressive nature of the State.

Who amongst the Burmese nationalists such as the late Aung San, or even the Burmese communists of the olden days, would have thought Buddhists in military uniform would behave in a far more fascist fashion towards the “Keepers of the Faith” than the Japanese Fascists during the World War II years? Or who would have imagined that the plight of local farmers in present-day Burma under Burmese rule would be far worse than even that of their peasant ancestors under British colonialism during the Great Depression of the 1930s? 

Worse still, what kind of native leadership would spend $600 million on Russian MiG-29s based on an unsubstantiated perception of threats to the country, while the World Food Program feels compelled to feed the poor in pockets of famine-like conditions across Burma?

In my 20-year involvement in the pro-change activism and debates, wearing different hats as an activist and an analyst, I have witnessed the emergence of pet paradigms, initiatives, policies and strategies. Emphatically, I am as guilty as anyone in having doggedly advanced my own pet paradigms, policy ideas and strategic initiatives.

The world of Burma analyses and policies resembles that of a pseudo-science or logical nonsense. It has no real process of elimination—that is, elimination of bad ideas, strategies or policies whose validity as truth claims can be verified or falsified, even in the face of qualitatively and empirically superior policy ideas and strategic possibilities.

Consequently, various sets of mutually incompatible policy logics (and even policy objectives) continue to co-exist. Some policy and strategy buzzwords spring to mind: sanctions and/or engagements, non-violence and/or armed resistance, dialogue and/or defiance, and reconciliation or re consolidation.

In today's Burma world of “pragmatic incrementalism,” revolution is viewed as an idea whose time has come and gone while radicalism, that is, attempting to address the root causes, has become a dirty word
among the Burmese who say they share with revolutionaries the desire for “real change.” Pathetically, some local talking heads are even publicly scornful of any Burmese who questions the wisdom of unconditional collaboration with the regime whose politics exclude vital operative words such as compromise, conciliation and cooperation.

The Burma ideas currently in vogue are “capacity building,” “civil society,” “gradualism,” “economic developmentalism,” “bottom-up reforms,” and so on. Never mind that the country is fast-heading towards a text-book case of “Natural Resource Curse.” Or that no parallel can be drawn between Burma's militarized, low-capacity and parasitical State under the Neanderthal leadership that lives off the back of forced labor, land and natural resources, and a typical East Asian “developmental state” (for instance, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and China) ruled by visionary and capable autocrats, well-trained bureaucrats, and innovative technocrats leading the labor force whose concern is largely this worldly success, all helped by the infusion of massive foreign direct investment, developmental loans and technological import.

Furthermore, many dissidents have felt compelled to distance themselves from their radical pasts. The cliche “we have found our enemy and it is us” is often thrown around when it comes to the opposition and its failure to effect change in Burma. The more adaptable ones amongst us have morphed into professional analysts.

All this is due in large part to the emerging analytical/academic and policy discourses which conveniently place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the opposition while ignoring the greatest elephant in the room, that is, the militarized State and the callous leadership that is surfing on the latest wave of capitalist transformation in Asia.

Yet the opposition is being blamed for its failures to adapt its strategies and campaigns to the changing geopolitics and geo-economic equations in the region and globally, for its failure to develop viable, alternative institutions and networks, for its lack of unity and for its personality-driven politics, just to name a few.

Before the two momentous events, Cyclone Nargis and the massive crackdown on the Buddhist Order, I too was one of the opposition's vociferous internal critics (while always remaining ever-scathing in my critique of its oppressor in terms of both its policies and leadership).

These are, however, defining events in Burmese history which signal a disturbingly regressive evolution of the psyche of both the decision-makers and their inner circle deputies. Additionally, there is an evolutionary dimension to the nature of State security institutions on which their power rests. 

The security apparatuses, most specifically the Tatmadaw, are evolving from a venerable patriotic force defending and serving the public into a popularly reviled parasitical armed organization serving only the interests of the top generals who behave more like Burma's 18th century feudal
war-lords than 21st century nation-builders.

Since these aforementioned watersheds, unprecedented in the country's living memory, one is forced to reflect critically on one's long-held views and analyses based on the significant new developments on the ground. Paraphrasing John Maynard Keynes, one needs to change one’s view when the information changes.

While other important factors deserve scrutiny by analysts and activists I would assign relatively greater explanatory weight to these two major factors: the militarized State and the regressively feudal nature of the military leadership that is surfing on the latest wave of capitalist transformation in Asia.

For contemporary events and processes in Burma are disproportionately influenced, if not completely dictated or shaped, by one or two personalities and these regime leaders devote inordinate amount of energy and resources to ensure these institutions remain fully in compliance with their whims.

At present we Burmese are in danger of becoming the world's first bunch of social changers whose highest aim appears to embrace the irredeemably oppressive regime in power. In fact, the latter is moving full-steam ahead to legalize its regressive political agenda, institutionalizing a new form of Burmese military rule, control and domination over the rest of the society using the liberal language of democracy. 

Ridiculously, the quibble amongst many of us is over how much constitutional and/or procedural tweaking the regime should permit us to do in Burma's domestic politics.

How times have changed! What of our democratic friends in solidarity with our once worthy cause?

While prime ministers and presidents in the West utter impassioned words of loud praise of and admiration for Aung San Suu Kyi (and presumably her revolutionary colleagues behind bars and in exile as well) policy wonks and career bureaucrats in their governments, quietly and not so quietly, explore ways to, in effect, accommodate the regime's “Burmese Way to Democracy.”

Here George Orwell must be turning in his grave as he would certainly recognize democracies' Double-Speak: pseudo-constitutionalism with a decidedly militaristic bent as the next best thing for Burma! These western liberals who walk the corridors of power certainly know better; but, they must all be pitying us and thinking that this is the best the Burmese can do, or deserve, at this point in history. And they are pushing our dissidents on the ground to swallow this rubbish.

I detect monotheistic views behind this not-so-honorable trend.

All mono-causal analyses single out certain explanatory factors, assign them disproportionate weight and proceed to manufacture narratives, policy or otherwise, as if they were exhaustive of all possible explanations and possibilities. In due course, analysts remain stuck in their mono-causal paradigms, turning their own pet paradigms into monotheistic faiths.

Here I offer sample monotheisms: “the opposition's lack of unity,” “Aung San Suu Kyi's presumed ideologically purity and her rumored stubbornness,” “China's and India's embrace of the regime,” “the omnipotent and ever-expanding modern State,” “the curse of geography,” “the bleeding-heart liberals' Good-versus-Evil Burma view and its resultant sanctions” and “the military's nationalism and its threat perceptions.” The list goes on.

Even if the opposition were united under a more operationally capable leadership and ethnic resistance stuck together, the much-touted unity would still lack socially transformative power, as long as the repressive State and its leadership remain strategically positioned in this unstoppable, amoral process of regional capitalist development unfolding before our eyes.

The most crucial question for me as a Burmese who wants “positive change” for my country is not simply democratization and ethnic equality, but most crucially how we as a society survive ecologically, economically and politically this all-encompassing capitalist transformation enveloping the region.




Dr. Zarni founded the Free Burma Coalition. He is a Research Fellow on
Burma at the Centre for the Study of Global Governance, the London
School of Economics and Political Science.






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