Combating Islamophobia in Myanmar is both a Principled Stance and a Strategic Necessity

For anyone or organization that wishes to see genuine democratic change and reforms in Burma or Myanmar it is imperative to appreciate that combating Islamophobia and the attendant mass violence against the Muslims there is not only principled and humanistic but also a strategic necessity.

A concrete example is in order.

In the old Arakan - now Rakhine - religious and ethnic communities had always co-mingled and mixed. Purity of ethnicity, customs, faiths and traditions is more a myth than a historical reality over the centuries.

For those who question, out of their commonsensically driven disbelief in any deliberate evil-doing by any ruling class, they need to know that the last thing Burma's generals and the military want in Rakhine State is peace and harmony between the Rohingya and the Rakhine.

Historically, the Rohingya leaders involved in Mujaheddin separatist movement of predominantly Rohingya districts in Northern Rakhine and the Rakhine separatists.  (In fact, Mujahaddins, the armed movement among the Rohingya and the then East Pakistan borderland-based east Pakistani was born when the Union of Burma government, also made up of anti-Muslim racists, closed off all legal and peaceful channels for the Muslims of Northern Burma to register and get their grievances addressed fairly and legally in the 1950s.)

The major and constant strategic consideration that has been running through the Bama military's policy towards the Rakhine state is to ensure these two communities do not unite against the Bama neo-imperial design on the Rakhine.

What I mean by neo-imperialism of the Bama military leadership is simply this:

suck the Rakhine state and its multiethnic and multireligious people dry (above and overground natural resources), control the territory and land with mininal regard for fairness and equity in the central and local relations in all dimensions, and adopt and pursue ethnic and religious 'divide and rule' among all peoples of Rakhine province/state.

The Muslims of Burma are kept divided as a matter of national policies, and so are the Buddhists and Muslims (and Christians).

Racism is a perfect tool that the Burmese generals use to keep themselves in power and to have 'chickens on the farm bicker, fight and kill one another' while the Lord of the Farm sits back and relaxes.  It is the Lord of the Farm that has, as a matter of factly speaking, manufactured triggers after triggers for the bloody conflicts among the wretched of the Rakhine State - both the Buddhist Rakhine and the Muslims of the Rakhine state.

Myanmar's private media outlets such as the ELEVEN Media and the Voice Weekly run by the army-bred cronies have also played a major role in whipping up the state's instrumental and institutionalized racism any the Muslims and anyone considered in solidarity with the oppressed Muslims in Myanmar.

That is why, the neo-Nazi "monk" Wirathu from Kyauk Hse, the up-country hometown of the aging despot Senior General Than Shwe near Mandalay, has been used as a strategic instrument by the Burmese military leadership. For he spreads rather effectively the anti-Muslim terrorism on behalf of President Thein Sein while the latter speaks the language of peace and harmony to please the ears of western 'donors', international business executives and global mass media. 

In direct reaction to Hannah Beech's TIME magazine portrayal of Wirathu as 'the Face of Buddhist Terror', President Thein Sein and his spokesmen, ex-Colonel Ye Htut and ex-major Zaw Htay, officially backed the neo-Nazi "Buddhist" preacher characterized him as ' a son of Lord Buddha' preaching message of peace!

Below is a hate and manifestly pro-terrorism speech straight from the horse's mouth.

Watch Wirathu's pro-terror speech - 52 second

(the date of the speech and the venue/occasion unknown, but appears to be recent).

"The guests (in reference to the 'kalars' or anyone considered of Indian sub-continental origin or increasingly of Islamic faith) need to read the hosts' face and behave accordingly. It's not the other way around.

Every Kalar must feel fear-struck at the sight of Bama - and of all other "tai-yin-thar" (Bumi-Putra in Sanskrit, or children of the land/earth)."

That is why, the fight against anti-Muslim racism is not only principled but exceedingly strategic in pushing for genuine social change in Burma.

Any Myanmar dissident leader who doesn't see this strategic necessity and spit out this oppressor's language 'national sovereignty' and 'national security' is complicit in the spread of Islamophobia and ends up aiding and abetting the regime that locked them up for years and tortured their own human rights activists to death.


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