Speaking on Myanmar Genocide of Rohingyas, The Oxford Union Genocide Panel, 29 Jan 2018

Saying "Sorry!" to a Rohingya brother who survived Myanmar Genocide, Kutupalong Camp, Bangladesh, 7 Nov 2017.

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

Meeting with The Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt. Honourable Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, M.P., State Guest House, Dhaka, 4 Nov 2017

"National Traitor and Enemy of the State" for his opposition to Rohingya Genocide. Sun Rays, 16/9/17

Myanmar issues a landmark 13-points Patriotic Code in Defence of Faith and Race

Presidential Decree
Naypyidaw, Myanmar

Myanmar Patriotic Era 0001

Subject: Boycott All the Kalars of Myanmar

The following set of cultural codes of conduct was issued as a Presidential Decree.  All patriotic Myanmar are by decree required to observe them strictly.  

Your government is in the process of 'a cultural police force' whose mission it is to ensure the purity of race and faith in Myanmar. 

With -For-Buddhist-only-Metta.


Presidential Ayatollah Thein Sein 

cc: The learned Ven. Wisseitta Biwantha

Issued by the Ministry of Public Enlightenment

The 13 Codes of Conduct Myanmar Patriots must observe strictly.  

1). I will no longer call myself a "Buddhist", a follower of that dead Kalar, Gotama Buddha.

2). I will refrain from drinking our national tea (chai-tea or te ta rek) or eating Nan-bya (or flat bread) because they were the niggers' inventions on the Indian sub-continent.

3). I will no longer observe any Myanmar cultural codes because of its heavy 'nigger' influences, including wearing longyi or sarong.

4). I will not visit any temple or pagoda in Myanmar or anywhere else as Buddhist architecture originates in the land of Kalar - India sub-Continent.

5). I will not bow down to or show any form of respect to any Saffron Robed males as their robes were invented by the Kalars of Gotama Kalar's era 2,600 years ago.

6). I reject any symbol and emblems of Kalar Buddhist Emperor Asoka or A-thaw-ka, including 969.

7). I will no longer use more than half of our Bama vocabulary which is made up of Pali and Sanskrit, the languages of the 'niggers' of ancient India.

8). I will shun any educational organization that bears the nigger word 'Takkasila' or Tat-ka-tho or University (including the Military Takkasila or Sit Tat-ka-tho).

9). I oppose the Union of the Republic of Myanmar and any entity that operates under that official banner, owing to the fact that the Union's founding Panglong Treaty was brokered by a Kalar, Ambassador U Pe Khin.

10). I will not observe Martyr's Day or stop paying respect to the country's national martyrs because two of them, Principal and Minister Razak and his bodyguard Private Ko Htwe, were niggers.

11).  I will no longer participate in the Myanmar New Year Water Festival again because of its Indian origin. 

12).  I will no longer claim U Thant, the first Asian UN Secretary General, a accomplished of son of our Myanmar because of his mixed Bangali Kalar 'racial' origin.

13). I will no longer use Arabic numerical symbols because as a patriotic Myanmar, I feel visceral about the 'niggers' of the desert, the Arab.  

Myanmar's Emerging Radical Voices against the State-led "Buddhist" Hate Campaign

Some of the radical (read truthful) voices in Burmese society are beginning to speak out LOUD AND CLEAR against the existing dictatorship with Thein Sein as a puppet president, 28 June 2013

his name is U Htay Nyunt, and obviously connected to the NLD as he said towards the end he was responsible for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's security during an upcountry trip to the old British colonial hill station/summer resort and now the Army town Pyin Oo Lwin or May Myo.

The gist of his remarks:

1) stop wasting your time looking for circumstantial evidence and fringe groups. we see the big elephant in the room that is responsible for all the instabilities. Are you still looking for elephant footprints with a pair of magnifying glasses

2) Who was behind Kyauk-ni-maw Crisis? (the story of an alleged rape and murder of a Buddhist woman which triggered the Rohingya cleansing and anti-Muslim pogroms)

3) in the past 20- plus years these men have misruled the country and did everything they wanted . they want to carry out doing what they have been doing.

They were forced to make changes, and finally had to bring in Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD into the legal parliamentary politics. Now they want to keep repeating the same old politics. You know she survived the government-orchestrated mob assassination at Depayin in 2003.

4) why did one of the alleged criminals committed suicide in detention? was it possible?

5) why was no one brought to justice for the brutal mob slaughter of 10 Muslim pilgrims in Tauk-goke in a country the regime would happily jail those who fail to make an overnight visit to a friend's house or stay overnight at a place other than he or she is registered?

6) my wife is from Sittwe. The Rohingya and the Rakhine were not hating each other or fighting nastily with one another. So, who is whipping up this Rohingya-Rakhine conflict??

7) one of the business of Buddhist Sangha or monks is to help with the Buddhist lay public's spiritual quest and liberation.

the Monks should not concern themselves with matters that have nothing to do with them.

Marriage is about individual choices, and let anyone marry whoever they want. It's not your or monks' business.

8) this is no longer the era of "General Council of Buddhist Association (GCBA), a remotely political Buddhist cultural association that became a nucleus of the later nationalist movements). No longer the time for regulating footwear in pagodas and temples.

9). one of the problems of our country now is people are not minding their business (implying monks are NOT minding their business of spreading loving kindness, teaching the Buddhist public to regulate and curb their greed, anger and delusions).

10) as long as the existing dictatorship in Myanmar (under a new disguise) is allowed to exist the people will never be able to lead a free and democratic political life.

11) be reminded we are a country with the Myanmar Ayatolla Khomeina in the background.

12) let me tell you something. I was in charge of her security matters during her upcountry trip to PyinOoLwin or May Myo.

Here is what I found in one place (please show the slides):

"People's Force Office" or Swan-ar-Shin in Kyauk Hse area, senior dictator Than Shwe's birthplace

The pictures of People's Force office show the office is still in operation.

So, you think we have a country under any rule of law?

(Swan-Ar-Shin is the notorious Brown Shirt, organized as the violent thuggish wing of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (now the ruling party) with its ultimate patron Than Shwe).
28 June 2013 04:02

Metta for "Mus"?!! You must be kidding!: A New Myanmar and its "Buddhist" Tales

In our Myanmar A-wee-zi (an abode of Buddhist Hell)

Brother, tell your beloved "Kalars"
'Neither "Mus" roaches nor "Bangali" viruses
are welcome' here.

In our Golden Land

You may no longer find Kipling's 'flying fishes'
But there are generals still lying
And monks frying the "roaches"
In the midst of these sitting ducks
Amidst "Kalar-haters" and ethnic cleansers
Waiting until the next terror has struck

Let me tell ya
We are a nation of nationalist "Buddhists".
Don't ever forget
Gotama and Asoka were greatest Buddhist "nationalists".
We now have our Hpone Hpon (the Ven.) "bin Laden"
With his shaven head and serene looks

He is our national hero in place of your 'fallen (liberal) idol'
Mighty is he, commanding 3,000-strong Buddhist monastery
amongst the Order of 500,000.

Hear our Osama out:
"Honestly, I felt I wanted to fight weapons with weapons. I am a Burmese bin Laden".

Metta for "Mus"?!!   You must be kidding!

"Yes, Wirathu is our learned Brother", so I have been told by a 'socially engaged monk'.
Our Myanmar's Osama,
Foremost bin Laden, a son of "Buddhist" Laden
A peaceful son of Gotama the Enlightened

The Reverend ain't "the Face of Buddhist Terror".
How dare that Hannah 'Bitch' calls him 'terrorist'
He ain't scared of you "lying journalists"!

Source: Al Jazeera The Stream 
Serene is his looks, soft-spoken is he, and mild are his manners
Preaching "Buddhist" peace
the peace of the wolf guarding the faith against the "Mus"!

"Brother, No peace for 'Mus'!"

The kind our Our Norway-financed patron-generals  are pursuing
With the Kachins, the Karens, the Shan, the Mon and all the rest.
Wolves' peace with the sheep

We are indeed a peace-loving nation
We even named our old capital "End of Strife", or Yangon
Making peace-deals
Committing pogroms of 'mad dogs', the 'Mus'
left, right and center.

Make no mistake.  We are under attack, Brother.

Even our Right Honorable Dissident Brother Win Tin agrees:
"... international community is siding with the Muslims (in Myanmar)".

Our business-friendly version of peace, the global peace industry seeks.
And smart Oslo sees the value of Myanmar peace.
Yes, peace be with Telenor, Statoil, Coke and Unilever. 

Brothers from Oslo and London, will you please stand up
And identify your bids, Telenor or otherwise.

Don't forget the gas, BAE, Unilever,  - and the Interfaith
In that order,
As the Rt Honourable Blair might have whispered to our leaders's ears
Source: Daily Mail 

But, Tutu the Bishop, you just wasted your ethical lines and our precious Vipassana (meditation) time
Preaching peace on our Muslim apartheid and
Calling for an end to our "Bangali" pogroms.
Ah, "Mus", what do they know about peace?

Peace is for Pacification!

Immigration and Man Power Minister ex-Brigadier Khin Yi in front of a purpose-made painting which depicts Myanmar's Nazi-like policy "Our race will not disappear because the earth swallows us.  But it will, if we allow other races to swallow us".  (Myanmar has adopted and institutionalized anti-Islam policies since the military rule was instituted in 1962.  The Armed Forces have been "cleansed of Muslims" (and to a lesser extent) Christians from any and all strategic and important positions). 
In our patriotic Armed Forces
We have another 500,000 of our patron-brothers.
And they shout:
No to Compassion or "Metta for the 'Mus'!" 
Yes to "2-child Eugenic" for the roaches!

Even our human rights defenders would shout, 
"National Security" First, "Human Rights" last!

"No 'Mus' No pogroms", we all say in unison.

Our reverend monks say out loud:

Sadu/Thadu, sadu/Thadu, Sadu/Thadu
 Or good-deeds have been done. 'Well-done! Well-done! Well-done!

You see, there we are with our un-broken bond
Our Myanmar "Buddhist" bond of shared
ignorance, bigotry, and national "Buddhist" delusions

United we are
In the Bama "Buddhist" delusions
In defense of our "Buddhist" nation
Protecting forever our 'not-so-intelligent' women.

Sisters, we have an additional Sixth Precept:
Thou shall not mate nor procreate with your Muslim mates. 
 Not legally.

Yes, our "Buddhist" nation, right or wrong.
Our pro-peace President, right or wrong
Our Rakhine brothers, Nazi or not.

No matter that we are a nation
On the verge of a Bosnia-like self-destruction
While keeping the 130,000 Rohingya
On the verge of near-famine in their camps of semi-concentration
We are not even counting the 110,000 Kachins, 300,000 Karen and Karenni, 12,000 Muslims
All displaced and down-trodden
Half-starved and terrorized by our brothers in Armed Forces

Never mind all that
Our "Buddhist" 'frontier market' is up for grab
Which "donor-investors" throw money to get
While our communal hopes get dashed.  

We say, in our "frontier Ah-wee-zi"
"Hell with "Human Rights""
No Compassion for 'Mus'"

You may rejoice, or you may rejoice
But Gotama Buddha is always on our side!
Yes, Lord is always on Myanmar's side!

We sure can count on the members
of our bigoted-enough intelligentsia
Yes, the "silence of our Myanmar Lambs"
Where art thou -
Bama artists, painters, cartoonists, writers, journalists, poets, inside and in diaspora ??

Our 'donor'-financed cilvil society
of racist Buddhists
And our western-educated pimpish pragmatists
In the shadow of iconic Peace'Nobelist'
Working with President "Nobel Peace short-list"
With her mantra of Rule, Rule, (racist) "Rule of Law"

"Buddhist" Racism?
No such thing here, Sister.
Only peaceful Buddhists, defending our faith
We ain't scared of ICC, We ain't concerned about your TIME.

poisoned by 50 years of the murderous Ar-nar-yoo mya (the crazed power-mongers)
mis-led by the noble dissidents
screwed by outside corporate interests
ill-served by the Orwellian media hype:  
Hollywood's Lady is the nation's Mummy,
Regime trickery is reforms,
Peace means (Telenor) Phones.
National Destruction is Sequential Democratization.
Despair is Hope.
Business Deal is peace.
Rohingya Pogroms are freeing up the land
Our Buddhist land for our National Development!
Source: Al Jazeera English

All this, we call 'discipline flourishing democracy'
Washington's proxy project it as Myanmar's "Half-baked" Democracy

But who cares, really?  
We are Buddhists.

All things pass.
Nothing is permanent
That is,nothing except your corporate interests!

Source: Coca-Cola opens Myanmar bottling plant while teaching the Myanmar people how to sip with  the Rt Honorable  Madam Albright from Albright-Stonebridge leads the way

So Madam Albright, give me your Coke, or give me Death!
We are a backward people "who have never had a sip".
It would really be a bliss!
Yes, we want Coke, lots and lots of it.
Ah, Mr Solheim, don't forget to bring Oslo's Statoil.
now that Telenor is in.
Soros' bid is out.
What's all this fuss about
federalism and ethnic peace!

Come, Come, come to our Golden Land
Peace can wait.  Peace must wait.
Sell your Coke to our Cokeless-people
And drill all that gas and oil.
Till the end of our genocidal Arakan coastal line.

C is for Coke
And D is Democracy
Coke always come before Democracy.
Peace is for (Telenor) Phones. 

This is our A-awee-zi (or an abode in the"Buddhist" Hells)
Our Myanmar is a state in A-wee-zi
Our country is a state of A-wee-zi
We are following our Myanmar way to A-wee-zi

Ah, but "there ain't no space for good men (and women) in our Buddhist hell.
Not for the sane
Not for the truthful
Not for the compassionate
Certainly nor for the "Mus" nor for the Bangali "roaches"

This is our Golden "Buddhist" Land
And ours and ours only
Of Crooks, Cons, Cronies and Criminals
Camouflaged as philanthropists, pragmatists, peace-makers, patriots, and advisory pimps
In the service of presidential aspirants.

Baby-Cronies are taking up philanthropy, thanks to the crony-laundering Nobel Lady.
While Daddy-Generals in their new snake' skins grab a second chance.
Old regimes were bad.  We are a new blood.
Say "Peace"! And shout "Poverty Reduction"!
Smile for the cameras.
Hit the right 'Development' node.
Wait for the global applause.

No matter what, our Lord Buddha always loves us.

Peace be with you, Brother.  

Wall Street Journal: TIME Story Prompts Support for Controversial Buddhist Monk, 24 June 2013

Excerpted from WSJ's TIME Story Prompts Support for Controversial Buddhist Monk, 24 June 2013

The president’s office, in its response to TIME’s cover, said Myanmar does not discriminate against any religious group, and grants constitutional freedom to those practicing any religion including Islam....

Mr. Ramakrishnan believes that “further radicalization of some Buddhist elements” is almost certain to continue in Myanmar, evident through the large following behind the radical monk.

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Burma's president, Thein Sein in the Oval Office. Until two years ago the former general was on a US blacklist. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Maung Zarni, a Burmese academic at the London School of Economics and a close watcher of Myanmar developments, pointed out that the statement was specifically released in Burmese, indicating that “it is meant for domestic political consumption.” This, he argues, was issued to make the government popular in the eyes of the bulk of Buddhists who fear the country’s Muslim minority.

Click here for the full text of the WSJ blog by Shibani Mahtani. 

Is this the 'face of Buddhist terror'?, The Stream, Al Jazeera Englsh, 24 June 2013

Time magazine’s decision to label Burmese monk Ashin Wirathu as “the face of Buddhist terror” in its July cover has drawn criticism from all sides.

Wirathu, a proponent of Buddhist nationalism, is known for controversial statements comparing Muslims to "African carp" and describing them as quick-breeding and violent. Some have blamed his speeches for the rise in anti-Muslim violence in the newly democratising nation-state. The government of Myanmarissued a press release condemning Time’s cover story, and Wirathu was quoted as saying, “This is being done because the Islamic extremists want my downfall.”

The ICG’s 2013 In Pursuit of Peace award for President Thein Sein, which was handed to Minister Aung Min in New York on April 22. (Photo: The President’s Office website)

For the full text of The Stream, click here .

Myanmar: Imminent risk of arbitrary arrest /Judicial harassment

"The Letpadaung copper mining project has displaced farming families in 26 villages from their land, with more than 7,000 acres confiscated in 2010.

In 2012, peaceful protests began against the project and were heavily repressed by the autorities.

In November 2012, the police used smoke bombs to disperse the crowd, injuring dozens of demonstrators, including monks, and triggering a national outcry. Activists have been facing harassment since protest began.

On April 25, 2013, villagers in the Letpadaung area tried to plough their fields but were prohibited by police from entering pursuant to an order issued under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code[1].

It is reported that the police opened fire on the crowd and Ko Soe Thu and U Maung San, two villagers, were arrested along with U Aung Soe, a member of Yangon People’s Support Network.

On June 1, 2013, the District Court of Shwebo sentenced U Aung Soe to 18 months in prison, Ko Soe Thu and U Maung San to six months imprisonment in total disregard of their right to due process of law, after having been detained incommunicado during 30 days."

To read the full text click here

Also see Asian Human Rights Commission's analysis
BURMA: Two sharply contrasting reports on the struggle for land at Letpadaung, 3 April 2013

UN disputes Myanmar President's denial of religious violence, ABC Interview with Quintana, 25 June 2013

Earlier this month Myanmar President Thein Sein claimed that violence in Rakhine State was criminal in nature rather than based on religion or ethnic background. But it's a claim the United Nations denies. Kesha West speaks with Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar.

Anti-Muslim Speech Gaining Acceptance in Burma

Both Myanmar private media outlets and President Thein Sein government rally behind neo-Nazi "Buddhist" monks in reaction to TIME's Cover Story "The Face of Buddhist Terror".

“State security forces failed to protect either community, resulting in some 100,000 displaced, and then increasingly targeted Rohingya in killings, beatings, and mass arrests while obstructing humanitarian access to Rohingya areas and to camps of displaced Rohingya around the Arakan State capital, Sittwe,” according to the HRW 2013 World Report.

Amnesty International reported, “Police and army have arbitrarily detained hundreds of men and boys, mostly from Muslim-dominated areas, and subjected many of them to torture and other ill-treatment.” The 2013 Amnesty International report said security forces and other state agents committed “unlawful killings, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment.”

Internally displaced Rohingya boys in a camp for displaced Rohingya people in Sittwe, northwestern Rakhine State, Burma, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Dr. Maung Zarni, a Burmese democracy activist, and research fellow at the London School of Economics, makes the case in an interview on March 28 in the Tricycle publication that the state is engaged in genocide but no one wants to call it that.

“After the military proxy party lost by a landslide in the most recent elections, they decided that the time was right to drive out the Rohingya in order to both curry Buddhist majority favor and demonstrate their relevance in reformed Burma. But you know, it’s not possible for any state in this day and age to destroy an entire population of 800,000 to one million. Not after Nazi Germany. Instead, the military has created a situation where there would be communal riots. In doing so, the military state has attempted to do what amounts to outsourcing genocide.”

Excerpted from:
Anti-Muslim Speech Gaining Acceptance in Burma

By Gary Feuerberg, Epoch Times | June 24, 2013

To read the full text click here

The Pogroms against Myanmar Muslims and the Rohingya have only begun.

In 23 June-dated Burmese language statementPresident Thein Sein reportedly defended 969, the certifiably anti-Islam hate group as a "peaceful" campaign while lashing out against TIME for running a Cover Story "The Face of Buddhist Terror" in its 1 July issue, with a mug shot of the country's most notorious, but widely popular anti-Muslim demagogue and ex-criminal convict in Saffron robe - Wirathu.

This presidential stance is consistent with the official, collective view of the Presidential Inquiry Commission on the Violence in Rakhine State contained in its whitewash report released in April this year.

Both Thein Sein and Wirathu are TIME-"honored" men, one in ex-general's clothing and another in Saffron disguise.  They both look serene, mild-mannered and soft-spoken.  But do not be fooled by the appearances.  These men are lethal and liars.

At the risk of being dismissed as 'conspiracy theorist', I have argued that the ruling military has been the main culprit behind the mass violence against all Muslims of Myanmar and the official sponsor of the ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya since in 1978.

My contention has always been anchored on my first-hand knowledge of the Burmese generals, their oft-cited "mindset", their opaque inner workings, as well as my 25-years of research on this Black Hole of Myanmar.  

Before anyone who is now advising and consulting western businesses and government, I had gone inside the belly of the beast, and what I saw, smelled and picked up was nasty, racist, Neanderthal and conspiratorial - against the people.    

Besides having come from an extended military family in Mandalay, whose members include Senior General Than Shwe's first-ever commanding officer who married him and his wife Kyaing Kyaing and the late dictator General Ne Win's VIP pilot, from 2004-08 until Cyclone Nargis I worked in good faith and out of disgust with Washington's hypocritical Burma policies and disillusionment with what I already knew to be a failed leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, with 3 powerful heads of Burmese military intelligence.

Since its inception in 1960s, the Burmese generals have armed drug warlords such as the late Law Sit Han (or Lo Sing Han) of Kokant Han Chinese in Northern Shan State or the Wa now Eastern Myanmar while granting them 'ethnic militia' or 'Special Adminstration' status in exchange for the latter's services as semi-official-intelligence gatherers and armed buffers against genuinely ethnic minority resistance fighters.

Playing one ethnic group or faith-based community against another is the stuff of the colonial and imperial powers.  When an alien power rules over multiethnic colonized 'natives' then seeing ethnic and religious conflicts as the direct outcome of imperial 'divide-and-rule' policies. 

As early as the end of the WWII and the re-establishment of the short-lived British colonial rule in 1945, no one other than the late Aung San, the principal architect of Burma's independence had openly argued that the ruling British were deliberately stirring up racial and ethnic tensions, with the purpose of de-stabilizing the colonial Burma on the verge of national independence.

Aung San's in-your-face analysis of the Raj can be applied equally to the current tensions-soaked Myanmar in the transition led by the internally colonial government whose ultimate power rests in the hands of the active duty generals. 

For precisely this divide-de-stabilize-and-rule is the strategies of all successive Myanmar military governments in power since 1962.  For nothing like multiethnic unity and harmony will diminish the society's reliance on the State's armed forces for their physical safety.   

Despite the discernible finger-prints on the mass crime scene, which the predominantly "Buddhist" Myanmar has become, for the Rohingya and the Myanmar Muslims, the international media, the experts, the investors, the diplomats, etc have remain incredulous of the instrumental role the state in Myanmar and its managerial generals have been playing in the pogroms against the Muslims and the genocide and ethnocide of the Rohingya.   

In due course, the world will realize the skeptics of the hyped up 'reforms' in Myanmar and 'conspiracy theorists' - that is, a significant section of the Burmese who live the painful realities of the country and skeptics knew what they were talking about.

However, I don't really think the international media and consultants are that stupid or naive to view the regime as 'innocent bystanders' unable to stop the pogroms and rise of Nazi 'Buddhist' campaign. Nor do they have high empirical standards against which the instrumental role of the State in Myanmar in the organized mass violence against the Rohingya and since March this year all Muslims there.  

The more accurate answer for the West choosing to ignore the elephant in the room is this:

the need to bring its ailing economies out of the ditch and contain China's rise, the Western Establishment - including academics, experts, consultants, editors, policy makers, diplomats and so on - are unprepared to address Myanmar's genocidal Nazi like situation on the ground, beyond making the right noises.  

Certainly, western governments and investors alike are not prepared to wake up to the reality that the main culprit behind the neo-Nazi Buddhist campaign against the Muslims and the Rohingya is really their new found business and strategic partners in Naypyidaw. 

A recent German Government's attempt to object to the characterization 'neo-Nazi' in an internal German language memo where the author accurately and honestly described the rise of 'Buddhist extremism' and attendant mass violence was as 'Nazi-like' speaks volume about where the West stands on the Rohingya and Muslim pogroms in Myanmar.

The Europeans are indeed not alone in their refusal to accept the nasty reality - that their business partner in Naypyidaw led by ex-General Thein Sein and ex-General Thura Shwe Mann, formerly #5 and #3 ranking leaders in Than Shwe's food chain, are genocidal criminals against the Rohingya, Muslims, the Christian Kachins and other ethnic nationalities.  

The senior American diplomats in Rangoon were extremely hostile even to the Human Rights Watch's careful choice of words 'ethnic cleansing' of the Rohingya.  One diplomat even went on to chastise the HRW as 'having gone too far this time'.   

So, what we are witnessing in Myanmar today is a case where a double-impunity is being granted. 

Myanmar government grants 969 neo-Nazi Buddhist campaign against the Muslims a total impunity while itself enjoying the impunity from the international community, including Western governments, the mainstream media the likes of Time, New York Times, and so on.

With powerful players looking actively the other way and explaining away the mass violence against the Muslims and the Rohingya as 'a dark side of Myanmar's opening' or part and parcel of greater freedoms of speech, the pogroms against Muslims and the Rohingya will worse. 

In fact, they have only begun.  

TIME's Cover Story on "Buddhist Terror" misses the point while raising the specter of further anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar

just read the cover story "The Face of Buddhist Terror" in TIME's international edition, 1 July 2013.

Here is my analysis:

 TIME's cover story touches on the violence towards the Muslims by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Southern Thailand. 

It has put the anti-Muslim violence in these predominantly Buddhist - and deeply racist - societies on the world's map of English speaking consciousness.  But, on balance, TIME may have contributed negatively to the Muslim pogroms, especially in the case of Myanmar. 

The main problem with TIME's otherwise commendable piece, alerting the world to the rise of "Buddhist Terror", is the piece explains, rather inaccurately, the rising tide of neo-Nazi "Buddhist Terror" using the lens of Myanmar's 'democratization', 'the great opening', the increasing 'freedom of speech', under the reformist government (nominally) headed by ex-general and President Thein Sein. 

Lamentably, this is the mainstream but empirically inaccurate template which has repeatedly been used by the Western media, policy circles and think-tanks to explain away Muslim pogroms as 'dark side of Myanmar's great opening'.  

The International Crisis Group (ICG) is the lead proponent of this template, normalizing and naturalizing it as 'part of the democratization process' with detectable undercurrents of utilitarianism. In turn, this explanation has conveniently been offered by the ICG's 2013 recipient of "In Pursuit of Peace" award and Nobel Peace Prize short-listed nominee President Thein Sein himself.

As a matter of fact, it was under Thein Sein's watch as Chair of the National Security and Defense Council Myanmar's Rohingya and the rest of the country's Muslim communities have experienced the devastating waves of mass violence against the Rohingya and the Muslim communities at large across more than 2 dozen towns and cities across Myanmar, from Western Burma, lower Burma, the plains and the highlands. 

The contours of this 'democractization-contributes-to-the-rise-of-violent-conflicts' framework are easily detectable in the following passage:

"But Burma's democratization has also allowed extremist voices to proliferate and unleashed something akin to ethnic cleansing. The trouble began last year in the far west, where clashes between local Buddhists and Muslims claimed a disproportionate number of Muslim lives. Machete-wielding Buddhist hordes attacked Rohingya villages; 70 Muslims were slaughtered in a daylong massacre in one hamlet, according to Human Rights Watch. The communal violence, which the government has done little to check, has since migrated to other parts of the country. In March, dozens were killed and tens of thousands left homeless as homes and mosques were razed. Children were hacked apart and women torched. In several instances, monks were seen goading on frenzied Buddhists." 

No doubt, many a genuine Buddhist monks - as opposed to the military's moles in Saffron Robes and a significantly large segment of the Buddhist public in this predominantly Buddhist society - have been involved, in spirit and in deeds, in this essentially hate and fear-soaked violent campaign against the Muslims and the Rohingya, wrongly perceived as 'illegal migrants' and 'cancerous viruses' all threatening faith, race and national security. 

This participation by the laity and the Buddhist Order obviously supports TIME's choice of words "Buddhist Terror". 

However, that's only half the story, and in fact, a less important one at that. 

TIME's cover story left out what in my view is the most crucial aspect of the rise of Buddhist Terror in Myanmar: the state's ideological and political mobilization of the historical Islamophobia that is known to pervades in all state and societal sectors, not dissimilar to the nasty process of ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the midst of  former Yugoslavia's break-up. 

Consequently, TIME's cover story has made two seriously negative contributions to Myanmar's already tense and insecure society.

First, it will most likely add more fuel to the already tense social relations, instigating, unwittingly, future horizontal anti-Muslim violence by the now really outraged Buddhist masses as evidenced in the angry reactions from Myanmar's opinion makers and leading dissidents.

Second, it enables, if unwittingly, the State and its central management - not simply 'hard-line fringe elements' - in Naypyidaw to continue concealing its own involvement in numerous disguises, including its decision to chose NOT to nib this rise of Buddhist terrorism in the bud. Myanmar's generals and ex-generals have never been known for their restraints when it comes to crushing any mass incidents that can threaten order and cause instability. 

If anything Myanmar military, Southeast Asia's largest after Vietnam's is known for its trigger-happiness in dealing with civil unrest, mass revolt, riots and so on.  And all security forces in Myanmar only take orders from the highest level of command in Naypyidaw.  And the bug stops at President Thein Sein's desk.  His  choice as Chairman of National Defense and Security Council, Myanmar's ruling executive body, to allow several major waves of Rohingya and other Muslim pogroms which displaced nearly 150,000 Muslim children, women, men and the elderly since last June speaks volume about where he and his deputies stand on the death and devastation of Myanmar's Muslims, and the systematically persecuted Rohingyas. 

But the military-State IS 100% behind 1) the Rohingya ethnocide and genocide in Western Burma and 2) the rise of Wirathu, an ex-criminal convict from 2003-2012, and anti-Muslim ideological campaign against all Muslims in the whole of Burma. 

Myanmar military today is completely "cleansed" of Muslims in any significant positions. The Muslim-free Armed Forces, generally speaking, is the direct outcome of the generals' aggressive and decades' long pursuit of an unwritten policy of cleansing the most important national institution of 'Muslim infidels', not unlike what Hitler did to the German state institutions, including German universities. 

Anti-Muslim publications have been approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs' Department of Religious Affairs over the past 15 years, at least. 

According to Dr Kyaw Yin Hlaing, the Presidential Adviser, assistant professor of Asian Studies at the City University of Hong Kong, and the secretary of the Rakhine Violence Presidential Inquiry Commission, there have also been recorded and reported incidents where the military intelligence spread deliberate rumors and false information (for instance, the story of a Muslim rape of a Buddhist maid in Mandalay in 2007 which he used as evidence of the military's attempts to incite violence against the Muslims in the upcountry city) designed to stoke and create anti-Muslim riots in various parts of Myanmar as a strategic tool for giving the public an outlet to vent - at the expense of vulnerable and utterly un-armed Muslim minorities and away from its leadership and policy failures. 

In the unfolding campaign against the Muslims, the still-fully military-controlled State with a quasi-civilian facade is not just not doing anything during the waves of mass violence: it is in fact an active and willful patron of the mass violence against the Muslims, for a variety of ideological and strategic reasons. 

Still crucial questions about the role of the transitional state and its leaders remain unasked.

In the research literature on the studies of mass violence and genocide, especially in the context of political transitions and societal uncertainties, historically nasty regimes are found to play dirty and murderous.  Milosevic in Serbia/Bosnia and Indonesia's TNC in the then East Timor, Jakarta's colony, come to mind.  That's a story for another day. 

States do - and will continue to - conspire in pursuit of their own core interests. For those who are evidently bent on defending their power, wealth and control will not - and do not - stop at anything - even if it means strategic and deliberate unleashing, facilitating, triggering of what TIME labels "Buddhist Terror" against the weakest and most vulnerable among its citizens. 

By doing so, the sinister and conspiratorial behavior of the reforming State in Myanmar has thumbed its nose at the world's major governments and commercial interests.  For it knows full well that the latter, themselves with piles of skeletons in their own backyards, are simply licking their lips for Burma's 'frontier market' and natural resources.  

There is a double-impunity in play: the military-state in Myanmar has for all intents and purposes granted the 'Buddhist terrorists' national impunity while the leadership of that state itself is enjoying international impunity, thanks to the emerging strategic and commercial equations of the West vis-a-vis China.

To the dismay of those of us informed Burmese with deep concerns for human security - that is, security of affected individuals and communities, TIME's cover story "The Face of Terror", simply repeats the self-interested logic of the West and the rest.  Unfortunately, when the security of a global capitalist order and a regime that has long been the main source of terror towards the Burmese citizenry, irrespective of faith, location and ethnicity, is fast becoming one, international community, so-called, places the security of institutional/corporate/strategic interests categorically above the security of human persons and their communities.  

"It's Buddhism, stupid!" is TIME's central and misleading message once again enables Naypyidaw and its generals and ex-generals to externalize their central role and responsibility in the Muslim pogroms to the 'racist' Buddhist monks and ultra-nationalist Burmese public.   Repeating this false narrative, President Thein Sein has absolved himself and his administration  of any wrong doing or responsibilty this already in his August 2012 on the initial wave of pogroms against the Rohigya.  

This type of reportage from the dominant corporate media is troubling indeed, and it is beyond doubt at the expense of the Burmese public.  

One seriously wonders when the mass media will take seriously the distinct possibility that the military and its leaders are conspiring against their own people.

As a Burmese critical of both the Western corporate and strategic interests desperately and belatedly pursing  their own respective agendas in Myanmar, I can't help but detect clear signs that the corporate media conglomerates including the New York Times and TIME may be trapped in the hegemonic framework of playing a global cheer-leader for any emerging frontier markets and any old dodgy military states whose entry into the Club (of Capitalist Economies) will be welcome.

It comes at a heavy societal cost to the Burmese, irrespective of their gods and faiths.  

Ultimately, the formerly integrated and peaceful Muslim and Buddhist communities which are now increasingly distrustful and fearful of each other stand to lose most from this process - and this type of international reportage.  

SPECIAL REPORT: A Buddhist Minister’s Experience of the Myanmar Muslims Genocide Awareness Convention 2013

Rev. Danny Fisher
June 18, 2013

Two weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Myanmar Muslims Genocide Awareness Convention in Culver City, CA. I went because I felt it was important to put my presence where my mouth was: as I’ve indicated here at this blog, the situation in Burma has been incredibly distressing to me, and rather than simply talk about it, I want to be more involved in helping in any small way that I can to get it resolved.

I’ve certainly tried to be involved, at least from my desk. My friend Joshua Eaton and I collaborated last year on an open letter from Buddhist teachers and scholars and others on Islamophobia that you can read at buddhistletteronislamophobia.wordpress.com. (Joshua authored the letter — though a few of us offered little tweaks and edits — and I put together the website and helped him get the word out and generate signatures.) Not long after I also added my name to “A Joint Buddhist-Muslim Statement on Inter–Communal Violence in Burma”, authored by my friend Bill Aiken at SGI-USA. In addition, I took the time to write a substantial post about Engaged Buddhist icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s silence and lack of action on this matter back in November, and you can read that post here.

Satellite imagery by Human Rights Watch that shows “widespread destruction of Rohingya homes, property.”

As I explained in that post, for the uninitiated: the Rohingyas are the 800,000 or so Muslims who live in the western part of Burma. They have lived in the area of the Rakhine state for centuries, with much immigration and flight between Burma and Bangladesh — the result of ever-changing political fortunes and conquest. British colonialists encouraged their immigration from Bangladesh in the nineteenth century to boost their agricultural yield in the region. By 1939, the population of Rohingya Muslims (and tensions with local Rakhine Buddhists) had risen to such a degree that a commission of inquiry decided to close the border. Once World War II began, the British left the region, and terrible violence erupted between the two groups. Thousands died. More bloodshed ensued when the Japanese arrived: the Rohingyas were supporters of the Allies — some of them even served as spies for the British — who had promised to support them in their goal of a separate Muslim state. Tens of thousands are believed to have fled to Bangladesh at this point. Following the coup of 1962, more were forced to seek refuge in Bangladesh and Pakistan due to the junta’s targeted attacks on the Rohingya community. In 1982, General Ne Win tightened a nationality law in the country and effectively (and illegally) rendered the Rohingyas a stateless people.

Today, the United Nations consider the Rohingyas “one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.” Right now there is considerable unrest and devastating violence — dozens are dead, whole villages have been razed, and well over 100,000 have been displaced — in the Rakhine state as a result of what the Agence France-Presse identified as “the rape and murder of a Rakhine women and the revenge mob killing of 10 Muslims.” By last fall, Human Rights Watch had issued a report noting that “recent events in Arakan State demonstrate… state-sponsored persecution and discrimination [of the Rohingyas],” including murder, rape, and mass arrest. Reuters released a shocking special investigative report not long after which led with what was essentially a confirmation of HRW’s report: “The wave of attacks was organized, central-government military sources told Reuters. They were led by Rakhine nationalists tied to a powerful political party in the state, incited by Buddhist monks, and, some witnesses said, abetted at times by local security forces.”

International news agencies and the Buddhist media have since been following the situation closely, and have reported on those in the Burmese sangha who are encouraging violence, as well as those trying to do something to help. It was all this news and information that brought me to the Myanmar Muslims Genocide Convention on June 9th.

Attended by easily 250-300 people or more — the crowd grew steadily throughout — the audience at the convention was made of largely persons of South Asian heritage, quite a few of them readily identifiable as Muslim from their hijab, kufi, and other distinctive dress. Things got off to a very strong start with some simple, important points of clarification from host Devin Hennessy. In the context of the event, a “Myanmar Muslim,” he stated, was “any Muslim living in the borders of the country, regardless of ethnicity.” This is an important point considering that, even though the Rohingya Muslims of the Rakhine state are dominating news coverage right now, there are more than one-hundred ethnic groups in Burma, and many of them have Muslims in their ranks. Hennessy also laid the groundwork for later discussion about proper terminology in this situation by stating that it had “escalated to a genocidal level,” and that the word “genocide” was being used specifically because what is happening is “within the criteria” for its use.

Culver City Mayor Jeffrey Cooper
These introductory remarks were followed by a dua from a young boy in attendance, and a statement from Culver City Mayor Jeffrey Cooper. As the mayor took to the stage, I braced myself for the usual, rote politician’s speech at these sorts of things, only to be very pleasantly surprised: he spoke movingly as both “a Jew and the husband of a Burmese Muslim woman” about how much the cause and the event “hit home” for him. The powerful launch of the event wrapped with the singing of two national anthems: the United States and Burma’s.

Before speakers and others rose to speak, the Burmese American Muslims Association presented a video of their own making (with quite a lot of clips from this Al Jazeera English report) to set the stage for anyone unfamiliar with the situation in Burma. Two things in particular struck me in the video presentation, though neither were surprises exactly — just shocking to see explicitly: first, this clip from the BBC, which shows an attack on Muslim-owned gold shop, with police doing nothing and Buddhist monks joining in the violence. Second, the explication of how precisely what’s happening in Burma now fits with scholar and Genocide Watch president Dr. Gregory H. Stanton’s “8 Stages of Genocide” was arresting.

This segued nicely into Dr. Stanton himself, who presented prepared remarks for the conference via video. He noted that the plight of the Rohingya has been on Genocide Watch’s radar for at least two years, and offered useful perspective on what it means to be a Rohingya right now: no ID cards (needed for education and travel), placement in displaced persons camps and forced labor for many, no government employment, limits on marriage/childbirth, coercive situations, and a host of other indignities. Dr. Stanton also highlighted the unique threats to Rohingya refugees and “boat people” fleeing Burma.

In addition, he noted that the attacks on Muslims in Burma had reached the level of genocidal massacre, saying that “the world must speak out.” He chastised Aung San Suu Kyi, calling her much-discussed silence as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate “unacceptable.” Dr. Stanton also outlined other things that he felt must happen now: (i) Burma’s parliament must pass legislation to make the Rohingya citizens with full rights; (ii) displaced persons camps must be dissolved with UN and ASEAN assistance; (iii) authorities must cease all rights violations; and (iv) Bangladesh must stop turning away and pushing back refugees. This was the first of many times that the issue of Rohingya citizenship would come up in the proceedings.

The second instance came with the next speaker, who also spoke via video: Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, campaign officer for Burma Campaign UK. She began by lamenting that the international community still hadn’t “gotten the balance right” in terms of praise for Burma’s reforms and concrn/penalty over human rights violations. She pointed out that sanctions on Burma had been lifted despite stated benchmarks not being met; by her count, at least eight international laws and treaties are currently being violated by the Burmese government. As many others have pointed out, she reminded the audience that the Rohingya’s exclusion from citizenship in particular represents a clear violation of Article XV of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. “Casual racism and intolerance exist and must be acknowledged and confronted,” she said. “The Burmese have to decide what it means to be Burmese.”

Rev. John Iwohara. Photo by the author
At this point, after quite a bit of information had been presented, the organizers wisely changed up the pace and brought Rev. John Iwohara of the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple to the stage. “It is difficult to receive a human form,” he preached, explaining the Buddhist way of helping others, or, at the very least, “acting less inhumanely.” “The pain and loss of losing a loved one is the same for everyone; you don’t feel more or less if you’re a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Christian or a…” he continued. He invoked the Dhammapada‘s fifth verse and King Ashoka’s experience at the Kalinga War as resources for Buddhists thinking about their approach to this situation. “Let us take this opportunity to exchange anger for love, and violence for beauty. May every life help us find beauty and joy.”

The Buddhist representation at the conference continued in a way with Gordon Welty from the U.S. Campaign for Burma, who named Soka Gakkai International president Daisaku Ikeda as “his mentor” during his remarks. A board member of the organization, he offered a helpful blow-by-blow of how things in Burma have escalated to the point of genocide. Like his predecessors, Welty stated that the removal of the 1982 citizenship law was the “first step” in fixing the problem. He also said authorities must “unambiguously” devote themselves to ending mob violence.

Omar Jubran, executive member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-LA 
A rousing speech by Omar Jubran, executive member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-LA, was followed by a presentation of photographs by Matt Rains. Rains has done striking, groundbreaking work photographing Muslims in Burma, and jolted the audience as much with his words as his images. He claimed to have seen “boxes of DVDs from the national government” delivered to monasteries and video halls, which were then used to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment. “This has all been devised by the government,” he said flatly.

Naama Haviv, a genocide expert with Jewish World Watch, spoke next about genocide in general. She joked about being the only speaker who didn’t know anything about Burma, but added that genocide happens in places where leaders are “habituated” to it. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, she reminded us, was actually the second (arguably third) such event in that country’s history. With such a violent past in the form of the military junta’s reign, she felt Burma was definitely a place that we should continue to watch closely.

Naama Haviv, a genocide expert with Jewish World Watch 
Statements of support from House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce and Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing were read by Hennessy before the mighty Dr. Maung Zarni rose to speak. Buddhist magazine readers will undoubtedly recognize Dr. Zarni, whose name has been coming up a lot lately: his piece “Buddhist Nationalism in Burma” was a feature in one of the most recent issues of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and Alex Caring-Lobel interviewed him not long ago for Trike’s Awake in the World blog. A Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics, Dr. Zarni received applause when he began his remarks by saying, “I offer my apologies as a Burmese — and a Buddhist at that.” Saying he felt compelled to “speak truth at any cost,” he castigated his fellow Burmese for “sleepwalking into a genocidal space,” adding that “the Buddha himself was not a Burmese, so he would be treated as such an outsider [under current laws and conditions].” Joining the chorus of voices decrying the 1982 citizenship law, he noted that “this problem has come to the Rohingya,” and not the other way around.

Dr. Zarni was followed by Dr. Wakkar Uddin (Director General of the All Rohingya Union), Dr. Nora E. Rowley (a humanitarian doctor who works with refugees in Burma), and Htay Lwin Oo (Myanmar Muslims Civil Rights Movement). Dr. Rowley’s comments in particular made an impression. She referred to the country’s leadership as the “Burman supremacist regime,” took the international media to task for “lazily or complicitly” framing the situation as “Rakhine versus Rohingya,” and pointed out what Human Rights Watch has observed about the national police force in the country.

A panel discussion and Q&A with Haviv, Dr. Zarni, Dr. Rowley, Dr. Uddin, and Lwin Oo followed. Among the questions addressed was, “Why haven’t a majority of Buddhists — who are supposedly against violence — come out to strongly denounce the racist ’969 Movement’? Are they silently supporting them?” Dr. Zarni spoke about the false, fear-based narrative of 969, and how it ”criminalizes” Islam, and produces a largely complicit Burmese Buddhist population in the country. He then went “on the record” to say that the 969 Movement enjoys “the full backing of the Burmese state.” He continued, “In this [current] scenario, the 969 Movement is going to thrive and help destroy the Muslim communities. Therefore, I think it is important for the Buddhist community to wake up to the danger of 969, which is self-destructing the Burmese society.”

Dr. Maung Zarni. Photo by the author 
While the question, and Dr. Zarni’s response, were helpful, the question that was more important to me personally was, “What can Buddhists, particularly Buddhists outside of Burma, do to help?” So I set out to ask a few of the conference organizers and participants this question.

“Burmese Buddhist is different from other forms of Buddhism,” one of the conference’s spokesmen, Yousef Iqbal, told me. “So they don’t actually look at other Buddhists as ones who can inspire them. Unless you can find a Burmese Buddhist, in Burma’s Theravada Buddhist tradition, to say, ‘Killing people is wrong and you should not do it,’ I’m not sure how much it will do.” While he acknowledged the important contributions of Buddhists from other traditions, like Rev. Iwohara, he was clear about what was needed: “More participation from the Theravada, the Burmese Theravada Buddhists. They should be involved, especially those who have spiritual authority.”

Iqbal’s co-spokesman, Yusman Madha, was more optimistic about the wider Buddhist community. “It would definitely be helpful — definitely,” he said in response to my question of whether or not a more pronounced, ecumenical Buddhist response to the situation would be useful. “The teachings of their faith are being flouted by these thugs, and they should now speak up. There are Buddhist monks in Burma speaking up, but they are in the minority.”

Dr. Wakar Uddin
Dr. Uddin agreed, and told me, “American Buddhist organization can do a lot to influence the [anti-Muslim] monks in Burma. We really believe that American Buddhist leaders can have a tremendous influence on this situation, and teach the heretical Buddhists in Burma that this is not the right path. We would like to open up more of a dialogue with the American Buddhist community, in fact. We’ve spoken to some monks here in America, and they’ve been receptive. The vast majority of Burmese Buddhists in America have a totally different vision [then their fellows within Burma]. We can work together — the Rohingya in diaspora and the American Buddhist community.”

As we talked, Dr. Uddin added, “We look forward to making these connections with American Buddhists, but we don’t have the means and know-how. We don’t know who to approach, or how to approach them. We’ve asked ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America, to help us open up a dialogue. We need to get connected to Buddhist leaders and discuss this and develop strategies.”

Before the conference, but even more so after, I was determined to help. After talking with Dr. Uddin about approach, I’d like to say, for whatever it’s worth, that I’m happy to help in any way I can to make these connections and get this conversation started. If you’re the leader of a Myanmar Muslim group and you’d like assistance making connections, please leave a comment. And if you’re a Buddhist leader, please feel free to leave a comment alerting us to anything you might be willing to do or offer.

Dr. Uddin offers a good starting point for us as concerned Buddhists in America: just get Buddhist American leaders to the table with Rohingya in diaspora to talk. At the very least, let’s all of us, as Buddhists in America, make sure this happens.

At one point during the conference, it was observed that the event bore the year 2013 in its title, implying that the Myanmar Muslim community is digging in for what portends to be a long struggle. If we as Buddhists in America truly aspire to love all beings the way a mother loves her only child, we need to get to that table with Rohingya leaders and see to it that this doesn’t become a yearly event.

For reconciliation's sake, Myanmar's Muslims need serious soul searching themselves

Having spoke out unequivocally against the popular tide of Islamophobia in Myanmar, I would be the last to endorse attacks and discrimination against Religious and Cultural Other on the basis of difference.

However, in the interest of finding a happy medium, the Burmese of all backgrounds need to make some of the long-standing practices, as well as the emerging ones among the Burmese Muslims, problematic.

Societies in general are ill-equipped to deal with differences. Instead they are set up for conformity in appearances, social practices, etc.

Even the culturally advanced more liberal/tolerant societies which embrace civil and human rights still think and act funny when it comes to outward differences such as dress, body hairs, colour of the hairs, piercing, etc. Examples abound such as the Orthodox Jews with their distinctive dress codes, beards, hats and so on, the "small feeted" Chinese women of the old days, the Amish in the US who refuse to partake in technologically driven modern communities, or the Mormons with their customs of marrying all sisters or keeping a dozen wives in a predominantly serially monogamous American society.

In Myanmar the emerging trends among certain Muslim communities, for instance, growing massive beards as a Muslim religious signifier, choosing to wear clothes that make them stand out and blasting calls to prayers on loud speakers at 4 in the morning in communities where the majority are non-Muslims are going to create more resentment, tensions and frictions, especially among the non-Muslims who have long been prejudiced - very prejudiced - towards the Muslims.

Then there certainly is a serious issue of forced religious conversion of non-Muslims,both men and women, before their marriages with their significant Muslim others, a practice no other faith is known to be engaged in as a matter of textual and spiritual precondition for a marriage.

Leading monks of the recent Buddhist monks meeting calling for the official ban on Muslim-Buddhist marriages on grounds of the Islamic/Quranic practice of conversion as the precondition for marriage.  Source: Kamayut media, 13 June 2013

In the YouTube clip above, various monks explained their logic behind their unsuccessful attempts to lobby Naypydiaw parliament for the legislation of religious conversion (from Buddhism to other religions, most specifically Islam). But I think their argument is going to be met with popular approval.

Here is Rev. Dharmapiya, one of the leaders of this 'Defend Our Race' draft legislation, which would make it illegal for Burmese to marry Muslims if the forced conversion is a precondition, expounding the proposed campaign's logic:

"We are fully aware of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which include the right to choose one's own faith/religion. We have no problem with Burmese individuals who convert to other (non-)Buddhist faiths. We take issue with the forced conversion, however.

From a nationalist perspective, the Buddhist majority have been bullied by the practice of forced conversion of Burmese upon marriage (with Muslims).

Buddhism is the predominant religion in Myanmar. If anything they should be converting to Buddhism.

Instead they are forcing our Burmese (women) into their religion (which requires conversions of non-Muslims before a marriage can be considered legitimate)".

Much as I unequivocally support the freedom of religion and the right to embrace any faith I must also say, objectively and in all fairness to the Burmese who complain bitterly about this Islamic practice of forced conversion, that certain social practices and marriage-related aspects of Islams are themselves are not innocent.

The forced conversion has been a century-old bone of major contention between the Muslims and the non-Muslims since the colonial time when 60% of Rangoonites were Muslims and other non-Muslim Indians.

For reconciliation's sake and as a matter of necessary strategy, some of the religious and social practices of the Muslims in Myanmar need to be adjusted.

Otherwise, the mainstream resentment towards the Muslims, which has been proven to be potent, violent and murderous, will be stoked further. And the discourses of 969 will get even more popular with the tradition-bound masses.

To belabor the obvious, almost all pious individuals the world over like to think their faith is timeless, better, superior, more rational and above all absolute. Indeed faith is read, grossly incorrectly, as above and beyond social, political and economic contexts.

The pious in Myanmar are no exception.

As long as they feel irreversibly and strongly absolute about the superiority and timelessness of their respective faiths there will never be genuine tolerance, appreciation, respect or peace among the faith-based communities of Myanmar.

I have no power to change the minds of any faithful - or infidel, for that matter, among "Myanmarese" or others.

So, I continue to watch,research, write and speak about the Burmese hell from abroad, with despair.

But the Muslims of Myanmar need to engage in serious soul searching to see if their own social and religious customs are part of the problems, or solutions.

God of all stripes, colours and odors may be absolute in the minds of the believers.

But we must certainly accept a simple verifiable fact: God doesn't run societal institutions.

God, by definition, does not live, engage, work with, fight for the welfare of even His followers, let along the collective humanity at large.

As religiously counter-intuitive as it may sound, one solution for the pious to seek light at the end of this dark and murderous tunnel in Myanmar today is to put God in the backseat and to start thinking reflectively and strategically in dealing with the fast and State-backed rise of Islamophobia. Once fear has been stoked and mutual trust and common bond broken it will take a long time to heal the communal wounds.

We can't simply blame the regime and its sinister motives and moves. Some things flammable are already in Myanmar society, abundantly: mass ignorance, popular anti-Muslim sentiment, and intolerance.

If there were a God I would certainly not worship or follow him, her or it. 

For He, She or It has not done anything to protect the Muslims of Myanmar from mass violence, to end the Rohingya genocide in the past 40+ years, to stop the menacing civil war against the Kachins, make the ignorant Burmese public to become slightly more open-minded and enlightened, help alleviate the abject poverty of Myanmar public in general, or stop the sex trafficking of young girls and women, punish the murderous, anti-Muslim generals, or bankrupt greedy cronies or hypocritical dissidents all in Myanmar.

Why would I in my searching and right mind want to follow this kind of God and treat His, Her or Its Words as 'absolute' and 'universal'? 

That is, the God that evidently lets the bulk of the Burmese of all faiths suffer immensely while letting the murderers, liars, and rapists in power walk free and even rewarded by the IMF, the Paris Club, the UN, the World Economic Forum and ex-Fascists in Tokyo??

I respect your right to believe in God and be pious.  But I must also point out that your God is not going to get you out of the expanding foxhole in Myamar, but your own critical self-reflection and strategic social adjustment will.