2016 ends in 24 hrs, or less. My country's collective crimes against the Rohingyas which Aung San Suu Kyi now oversees and Kofi Annan helps whitewash while the army pulls the trigger have no end in sight.
A silver lining is the letter sent to the Security Council by over a dozen Nobel laureates, with iconic business leaders, urging the paralyzed body to get up and run. Excruciatingly painful to know the world's august body runs in accord with the law of the strong, not on any appreciable concerns for human well-being or life. That is, despite whatever discourses of principles, rules, etc. spewed out on any number of global issues that concern all of us, humans.
This letter is significant, still, if only symbolically, and as a trigger to wake the conscience of 'small people'.
It matters in other strategic ways as well.
The International Crisis Group has triggered a new trend of framing Rohingya issue - from "communal or sectarian violence" to "potential international terrorism", the one based on the violent interpretation of Islam as a political ideology.
The letter will have impact in setting the Rohingyas' record straight: they ought to be viewed as the target group, the Jews of Burma or Myanmar, as opposed to potential recruits for the so-called "Islamic" terrorism.
I doubt that that the Security Council will heed the call to action simply because ending genocides has never been a lucrative business for any power. Power doesn't respond to human cries, but only to strategic calculations of its own interests.
A case in point: USA and UK - and their early inaction, wittingly, on the Nazi genocide. There are plenty of other cases where genocides were allowed to run their course.
Both the Americans and the British leaders and officials were fully guilty of culpability in the post-WWII genocides - or mass atrocities, in Cambodia and Rwanda. As a matter of fact, history repeated in the case of Khmer Rouge.
In the case of the Nazi genocide, British gov was more interested in securing the cooperation of Hitler's military intelligence over its paranoia about the anti-capitalist Soviet spy ring in UK than stopping Hitler from either snatching territories or de-Germanization of the German Jewry.
The first concentration camp was built on the outskirt of Munich soon after Hitler came to power in 1933. The British foreign intelligence KNEW what was up the Nazis' sleeves.
But Britain's priorities were driven by elite paranoia: British officials and leaders thought would overthrow the semi-feudal, semi-capitalist British Social Order and institute an "evil" Communist system of gov.
Disgustingly, the Buckingham Palace found it alright to seat Hitler's representatives in London at the head table with the freshly minted Hanoverian Queen and her openly bigoted husband Prince Phillip (no wonder Prince Harry found it appropriate to show up in Nazi uniform in a dress up party, decades after 5 million Jews were exterminated).
The truth is it was the English royal family that gleefully played host to Hitler's men in London.
The rich and the influential who typically backseat-drove US gov. were wining and dining with the American-educated Nazis. (Check Harvard's alumni list of Nazis, including Hitler's favorite architect). Henry Ford and JP Morgan were only two of many who were in bed with Hitlerites: lending money to and trading with the Nazis was their top concern, not the lives of the un-wanted millions - especially the Jews, the Romas, the Communists, the Disabled, and "the impure races". JP Morgan even got an honorary doctorate from the prestigious Oxford University, FYI).
After the war the Americans publicly led the Nuremberg trials where less than 100 top Nazis were tried and promoted the USA as "the liberator", using the images of thousands of corpses, or the dying, whom the SS didn't have enough time or energy, to kill, before they were forced to accept total surrender.
But what was less known was over 2,000 ex-Nazis were put on American payroll to help fight the emerging Cold War: no one in the world had better intelligence over the USSR than the Nazis.
Like Hitler's genocide, my own country's Burmese genocide of the Rohingyas didn't start out as a genocide. The only written plan, the smoking gun, if you will is The Final Solution by the ex-chicken farmer Himler, only in the maturing years of the Nazis.
The debate around the intentionality of the Burmese genocide will rage on, and the politics of naming the crime obfuscates and diverts attention away from the fact that the Burmese hybrid state is the latest barbaric Frankenstein, with the beautiful facade of the Asiatic female beauty, whose policies towards the Rohingyas are every bit as ugly, rotten and genocidal as her military-backseat drivers.
While the disingenuous Western discourses about 'the Burmese Spring' have lost their steam in the face of the atrocities realities on the ground - civil war in the East, the genocide on the Western borders, massive land grab and resultant displacement of rural communities and resource loot on a planetary scale, to name only a few - the dishonesty of Western powers is locked in: refusing to confront the international crime which their "human rights" Darling, whose false image they themselves helped manufactured over a quarter century.
Against this background, the letter by 23 distinguished names and icons matters.
Richard Branson, the patron-benefactor of the group known as The Elders, is among the signers of this letter which forcefully characterizes Myanmar's persecution of Rohingyas as "crimes against humanity" and "ethnic cleansing". And another signer, namely the retired Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, is an Elder.
One can't help wonder how Branson's action, as well as Tutu's, are received by Kofi Anna, who chairs the Elders.
The chair of the Elders, Kofi Annan, is engaged in the whitewashing of Myanmar's state crime, having been hired by Aung San Suu Kyi. (Her foundation reportedly has a total endowment of close to US$300 million, donated by the rich and the powerful around the world for her "humanitarianism" and "human rights promotion". Go figure!)
As head of UN Peacekeeping sitting in his UN Office in NYC, Annan sat on his hand, concealing one of the most important messages from the ground in the history of UN Peacekeeping, really a criminal behavior, in light of the fact that his dishonest hiding of the SOS from the UN Peacekeeping Force in Rwanda helped facilitate the death of over 800,000 Tutsi.
While acknowledging the shades of grey - alas, that cliche of "complexity", inherent in the ethnically motivated atrocities against the most vulnerable and the most persecuted ethnic community - whatever its name, official or self-chosen - I can't help see Rohingya issues as 100% Black and White, or the Good versus the Evil.
Call me naive, intellectually crude, or morally simplistic. I know from my heart of hearts, as a nation, a country, a people we the Burmese are committing a genocide, nothing less.
I have no power to end this inhuman and inhumane deed by my country-men - and -women, including the Burmese journalists who run western governments' mouth pieces, namely the Voice of America Burmese Service and the BBC Burmese Programme.
But, it's certainly not in name. Again what does it matter to the genocided Rohingyas that I raise my small voice?
Again the big voices have taken a stand with the Wretched of Burma. I take my hat off to these signatories of the letter whose use their fame in a truly noble way.
May their voice be the beginning of the end of Rohingya genocide.
Rohingya Myanmar: Nobel winners urge action over 'ethnic cleansing'
BBC News | Dec, 30, 2016 : 1 hour ag
OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND MEMBER COUNTRIES OF THE COUNCIL TO END THE HUMAN CRISIS OF ROHINGYAS IN MYANMAR
Dear President and Members of the Security Council,
As you are aware, a human tragedy amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity is unfolding in Myanmar.
Over the past two months, a military offensive by the Myanmar Army in Rakhine State has led to the killing of hundreds of Rohingya people. Over 30,000 people have been displaced. Houses have been burned, women raped, many civilians arbitrarily arrested, and children killed. Crucially, access for humanitarian aid organisations has been almost completely denied, creating an appalling humanitarian crisis in an area already extremely poor. Thousands have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, only to be sent back. Some international experts have warned of the potential for genocide. It has all the hallmarks of recent past tragedies - Rwanda, Darfur, Bosnia, Kosovo.
The head of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the Bangladesh side of the border, John McKissick, has accused Myanmar’s government of ethnic cleansing. The UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee has condemned the restricted access to Rakhine State as “unacceptable.”
The Rohingyas are among the world’s most persecuted minorities, who for decades have been subjected to a campaign of marginalisation and dehumanisation. In 1982, their rights to citizenship were removed, and they were rendered stateless, despite living in the country for generations. They have endured severe restrictions on movement, marriage, education and religious freedom. Yet despite the claims by government and military, and many in society, that they are in fact illegal Bengali immigrants who have crossed the border, Bangladesh does not recognise them either.
Their plight intensified dramatically in 2012 when two severe outbreaks of violence resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands and a new apartheid between Rohingya Muslims and their Rakhine Buddhist neighbours. Since then they have existed in ever more dire conditions.
This latest crisis was sparked by an attack on Myanmar border police posts on 9 October, in which nine Myanmar police officers were killed. The truth about who carried out the attack, how and why, is yet to be established, but the Myanmar military accuse a group of Rohingyas. Even if that is true, the military’s response has been grossly disproportionate. It would be one thing to round up suspects, interrogate them and put them on trial. It is quite another to unleash helicopter gunships on thousands of ordinary civilians and to rape women and throw babies into a fire.
According to one Rohingya interviewed by Amnesty International, “they shot at people who were fleeing. They surrounded the village and started going from house to house. They were verbally abusing the people. They were threatening to rape the women.”
Another witness described how her two sons were arbitrarily arrested: “It was early in the morning, the military surrounded our house, while some came in and forced me and my children to go outside. They tied my two sons up. They tied their hands behind their backs, and they were beaten badly. The military kicked them in the chest. I saw it myself. I was crying so loudly. When I cried, they [the military] pointed a gun at me. My children were begging the military not to hit them. They were beaten for around 30 minutes before being taken away”. She has not seen them since. Despite repeated appeals to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi we are frustrated that she has not taken any initiative to ensure full and equal citizenship rights of the Rohingyas. Daw Suu Kyi is the leader and is the one with the primary responsibility to lead, and lead with courage, humanity and compassion.
We urge the United Nations to do everything possible to encourage the Government of Myanmar to lift all restrictions on humanitarian aid, so that people receive emergency assistance. Access for journalists and human rights monitors should also be permitted, and an independent, international inquiry to establish the truth about the current situation should be established.
Furthermore, we urge the members of UN Security Council to put this crisis on Security Council’s agenda as a matter of urgency, and to call upon the Secretary-General to visit Myanmar in the coming weeks as a priority. If the current Secretary-General is able to do so, we would urge him to go; if not, we encourage the new Secretary-General to make it one of his first tasks after he takes office in January.
It is time for the international community as a whole to speak out much more strongly. After Rwanda, world leaders said “never again”. If we fail to take action, people may starve to death if they are not killed with bullets, and we may end up being the passive observers of crimes against humanity which will lead us once again to wring our hands belatedly and say “never again” all over again.
Professor Muhammad Yunus
2006 Nobel Peace Laureate
1996 Nobel Peace Laureate
1976 Nobel Peace Laureate
1976 Nobel Peace Laureate
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
1984 Nobel Peace Laureate
1987 Nobel Peace Laureate
1997 Nobel Peace Laureate
2003 Nobel Peace Laureate
2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
2014 Nobel Peace Laureate
Sir Richard J. Roberts
1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine
2009 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine
Former Italian Foreign minister
Founder and Editor, The Huffington Post
Sir Richard Branson
Business Leader and Philanthropist
Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
SDG Advocate, Film Director
SDG Advocate, Voice of Libyan Women
Business Leader and Philanthropist
Human Rights Activist
Former Italian Prime Minister
I can't be taken down.For my feet have always been firmly on the ground.
My career can't be destroyed.
For I have never pursued one.
My image can't be tarnished.
For it has never been manufactured.
I am unafraid to fall.
For I have never attempted to climb.
I can't be ostracised.
For I seek no external acceptance.
I am not given into applauses or flattery. .
For I know I am always less than the person that is being lauded or flattered.
I don't hold on to anything, applauses or condemnations, achievements
Nothing belongs to me.
And I am nothing beyond my present deeds.
For Nothingness reigns supreme inside.
I have no soul to corrupt;
nor is there a "core" to hold up as "incorruptible".
I am only a stream of deeds and thoughts held together by memory.
Not even that memory.
No regrets nor jubilations.
I too will pass
like another dust on this earth.
ZARNI, 25 Dec 2016
Myanmar's Nazi Parallel: Merging of Power Institutions (Faith/Race, Guns & Populist Party)
Around the issue of Rohingya, the merging of the anti-Rohingya racist society (all classes), the ruling military, the semi-autonomous NLD leadership, and most influential leaders of the Buddhist Order parallels the rise of Nazism in Germany and the stacking of the building blocks of German Society.
The consequences will go beyond the destruction of the Rohingya people as a self-identified group.
In the early years of the rise of Nazism post-WWI, the German Army was funding thuggish Nazi networks out of the army's secret funds.
Those who don't fully comprehend and appreciate the gravest danger of their various roles in the formation of this new Nazi-like force as cheer-leaders, participants, collaborators, demagogues, legitimizers, whitewashers, functionaries, advisers, etc. will live to regret their contributions to the conceivable demise of a Burmese society as we know it.
Against this backdrop the talk of 'democratization' 'economic development' 'civil society initiatives', etc. ring hollow, to me.
Lest we forget Adolf Hitler too talked about economic recovery, making the country great again, purifying the Master Race (in Burma, that is "Myanmar Buddhists", faith-defined identity), national unity, integration (at gunpoint), etc.
Remember Suu Kyi's delusional narrative of Myanmar overtaking Singapore in 20 years?
Hitler also talked about 'no personal gains' for himself, but for the common good of the entire German people.
This is the shared discourse among the country's powerful military, religious and political organisations.
A well-known "Buddhist monk" delivers this certifiably GENOCIDAL speech in Burma.
Myanmar governments, neither ex-General Thein Sein's regime nor today's Suu Kyi government has addressed the issue of genocidal hate speech in public life.
Instead these regimes have used the Law to jail activists for "insulting" President, Suu Kyi, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
All faiths and faith-based communities are a fair game in the "democratic" Burma.
There are signs of the emergence of horizontal conflicts, triggered by the regime's "strategic tolerance" of hate speech - a very potent genocidal strain - in Burma while the vertical conflicts (the conflicts between state actors - the military and the NLD - and non-state communities - such as genocide and civil war deepen).
If you speak Burmese and have a facebook account worth studying this categorically genocidal speech.
Myanmar Saffron-robed man delivers a genocidal speech.
Here is the gist:
Muslims and Christians as "parasites" and "dogs"
1) Muslims and Christians are "parasites" in our Myanmar Buddhist Society
2) even our proverbial monkeys on the hrone are not as dangerous as these creatures because monkeys just climb up and down the throne, and don't live on.
3) But these Muslims and Christians are like dogs that live on the steps of a stair casse: they will urinate on the steps.
4) Kachins, Karen, Mon, etc. are our Taiyinthar; but Christians and Muslims are NOT (Zarni's remarks: 90% of Kachin, and a majority of Chin, and 25% of Karens are Christians. But this man is too ignorant to know that or facts don't matter to him).
The Burmese as the Stupidest Race on Earth: We let these creatures in and don't see the danger they pose to our Buddhist society.
Starting with the (last) King Thibaw (of 1885) down to everyone of us, we have been stupid. Not only did we live under the British colonial rule for over 120 years, we let these dogs and parasites in - from different gates, like Western Gate (reference to Bangladesh-Burma Border region.
1) Repeat after me:
What is our society? What is our country?
We are Myanmar Buddhist Society and Myanmar Buddhist society.
Buddhist Monks as Leading Liberators of Buddhist Burma
Who fought and won independence from Britain?
Not Christians. Not Kular (the usage here is referring to Muslims).
Why the past kings were great?
Why do you think our past kings were great?
Because they were educated at Buddhist monasteries - not like today's political leaders who barely knew a few Buddhist prayers.
What they learn in non-Buddhist (secular) schools is good only for this life.
Buddhism is good for eternity.
It is imperative that we Buddhists must protect our Buddhism and our race.
Sixty years after independence from Britain, what is the progress?
What has grown?
The only growth in Myanmar is the growth of Christian and Muslim populations.
Economy has not grown, and poverty is pervasive.
Well, when their populations grow they will revolt and they will fight us.
Even with us Buddhist Myanmar being the dominant majority here our people are afraid of these anti-Dharma (the Dangers to our Buddhism) elements.
Burmese Buddhist Women and the Dangers
Our Myanmar women migrate to Thailand because there are no jobs here.
In Thailand, Thai police would pick up women from our country - Karen, Mon, Burmese, etc. - arrest them, and take them to hotels and do as they please, 10 years ago.
Now the Burmese are no longer putting up the abuses.They are fighting back. Recently a group of 3 Burmese men killed a Thai man.
The Thai race look down on our Myanmar people and use our workers only as useful labourers.
We will get to the point where Buddhism and Buddhists will disappear.
However, these anti-Dharma Christians and Muslims are not yet capable of destroying us.
We must keep faith in the Infinite Wisdom of Lord Buddha.
All the same we must strive to maintain and protect Buddhism and Buddhist race.
So, if you really love your own children - sons and children - please pass on to them Buddhist heritage.
We must put the fate of our Buddhist children in the hands of Buddhist monks. We must give them Buddhist education.
We must never entrust the Muslims and Christians to take care of our children.
Christianity and Islam are IDEOLOGIES. they have no God - like our Buddhism.
The most crucial thing is to give our children Buddhist education.
Only Buddhist education vis-a-vis modern education is the most profound, the most intellectual and relevant infinitely.
We must protect our RACE and Buddhism.
Our women must prefer to marry dogs to marrying Christian and Muslim men.
If they marry Muslims their married lives would be the worst form of slavery in the world.
It is our duty to protect Buddhism. To protect Buddhism we must protect Burmese Buddhists.
If we don't protect Buddhism all the pagodas and temples will be replaced by mosques.
The Irrawaddy is a disputable anti-Rohingya racist platform run by a group of anti-Rohingya Burmese, which published this racist cartoon.
Why would a well-respected Swedish journalist based in Chiang Mai, Thailand for over several decades make facts-up on the Rohingya and the Burmese politics surrounding the Rohingyas while choosing to ignore the genocidal context in which various forms of Rohingya resistance has developed over the decades?
One possible explanation:
jumping on the post-Truth bandwagon that rests on the pervasive and detectable Islamophobia and 'anti-terror' opportunism
"It is also not known whether today’s militants, as suggested, want to establish an Islamic state in northwestern Arakan State, or are looking only for new havens for operations in the region, including perhaps even India."
Remarkably for a Muslim population subjected to decades-of-genocidal policies, Rohingyas have committed not a single act of violence against civilians.
This largely absent Rohingya radicalism - as ICG has correctly noted - is even more remarkable when seen against the fact the largest number of Rohingyas in diaspora are in Saudi Arabia, the reported funding and ideological base for radical political Islam and all kinds of terrorist activities.
Never mind. Facts are no longer important in the growing post-Truth journalism. Lintner has joined this new club.
Here is one example of Lintner making facts up.
LINTNER's MANUFACTURED "TRUTH":
"In 1961, the last remaining rebels surrendered after an agreement was reached with the government. They were going to get their self-governing area, called the Mayu Frontier Administration.
Those early rebels did not call themselves Rohingya but mujaheeds. It was not until the late 1950s that the name Rohingya came into use and the government recognized the designation. U Nu, who had resigned as prime minister in 1958 to give way to a military caretaker government headed by Gen Ne Win, wanted to get the Muslim vote when he sought re-election in 1960—and the creation of the Mayu Frontier Administration as well as the recognition of the name Rohingya was part of that campaign."
1) Mayu Administration was already decided upon long before 4 July 1961 surrender by the Mujahideens, a radical armed group, that did NOT enjoy the widespread support form its own communities across N. Arakan, Burma - nor support from East Pakistan, at the time.
2) A) Rohingyas did call themselves Rohingya, a self-referential ethnic identity long before 1950's. The ascribed ID by the racist Rakhine was "Kaw Taw", by the British was "Arakan Muslims", etc. B) Mujihideens is NOT an ethnic name, but an honourable label for those who fight for justice. (Similar labels exist in all religious communities - Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, etc. This is not exclusive to Islam and Arabic world).
3) The top echelon of the Burma army was aligned very closely, if not openly, with U Nu's rivals from the Socialist wing of the umbrella Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League party, the ruling nationalist coalition which ruled the country. Aung San was head of the AFPFL and Nu was vice-chair. In 1958 AFPFL split, Nu led the Clean AFPFL Faction & the two socialists Kyaw Nyein and Ba Swe (home and defence ministers respectively) led the Stable AFPFL faction.
General Ne Win was commander in chief and Brig. Aung Gyi was 2nd in Command. Aung Gyi was one of the leading socialist nationalists before he joined the Army thereafter.
The whole country knew in the 1960's election campaign - which U Nu won in a landslide - Ne Win-Aung Gyi army was fully behind anti-Nu candidates - namely Ba Swe and Kyaw Nyein.
Nu turned to the Buddhist majority by making 2 major promises:
A) making Buddhism official state religion; the ballot boxes were painted Saffron or bright yellow, indicating Nu stood for Buddhism.
Rohingyas are overwhelmingly Musims. This was not going to get U Nu's Muslim votes.
B) promising to predominantly Buddhist Rakhines and predominantly Buddhist Mons their long-sought Statehood, from Rakhine Tai or Mon Tai to Rakhine Pyi or Mon Pyi, considered more autonomous administratively.
The plan to set up Mayu Administration for the predominantly Rohingya was made by the Ministry of Defence Border Affairs Division, as the Rohingya leaders from N. Arakan townships were bitterly opposed to granting Rakhine an autonomous statehood as promised by U Nu - and even long before that.
Because of their past bloodshed between Rakhines and Rohingyas during WWII, they pleaded with the Ministry of Defence Border Affairs NOT to be placed under Rakhine rule to be headquartered in Sittwe.
Mayu District Admin was the direct and positive response from Ne Win and his deputies such as Brid. Aung Gyi and Col. Saw Myint. NLD Vice Chair, then Lt.-Colonel Tin Oo, was the one who was ordered to set it up as he was the Commander of All Rakhine Command. But because the Mujihadeens were still quite active in N. Arakan, the admin was not operationalized. Tin Oo was reposted back to Rangoon, and Lt-Colonel Ye Khaung as Tin Oo's replacement operationalized the Mayu Admin, with my late great uncle - Major Ant Kywe - as Deputy Chief of Mayu District Administration in 1961.
Now let's look at Lintner's dismissal of Rohingyas' claim to identity and history in this borderlands area.
He cites the Israeli diplomat-cum-expert on Burmese Muslims Moshe Yega and Yega's THEORY and argues that Muslims of Arakan who now claim themselves "Rohingya" have nothing to do with the Rooinga - as recorded by East Indian company's Scottish amateur ethno-linguist Buchanan in his widely accepted field survey read at the conference in Calcutta in 1799.
But in 1999, in his Burma in Revolt - a journalist's scrambled account of protests, etc. known as 8888 Uprisings, he was writing the complete opposite.
There were a lot of minute details in the rest of the article which essentially spins that Rohingya militancy has an international Jihadist dimension and great potentials to become a serious terrorist issue.
ICG's report was far more nuanced, far more acutely aware of decades of deep sufferings of the Rohingyas while Lintner is so focused on showing the history of militancy, armed movements, etc. - weaving together completely UN-connected facts, over the last 70 years. Mujahideens of the 1940's and 1950's were long dead, and so have their independence inspirations or joining up with next door.
Not even the Kachin Independence Army whose cause Lintner espouses is pursuing the dream of independence or secession.
Look at this disingenuous framing of the motives or mission of the new Rohingya militants.
"It is also not known whether today’s militants, as suggested, want to establish an Islamic state in northwestern Arakan State, or are looking only for new havens for operations in the region, including perhaps even India."
How would a closeted anti-Muslim racist like Lintner know what the Rohingya militants which he has never met or known aspire to?
After all, Lintner could NOT even get the most elemental fact of how the official recognition of Rohingya ethnic name, and the minority status, as well as their own separate administration vis-a-vis the hostile Rakhine came about, something any competent Burma expert would have been able to research.
There are plenty of Burmese who would be happy to translate primary Burmese language documents and materials for western journalists, not simply for $ which they can use, but to prevent the Orientalists from butchering the past of their country.
Lintner is the journalist who can buy exact information deep within the Ministry of Defence, if he wants to expose truths and facts, say about Burma's N. Korea ties, underground tunnels, or missile shipment.
This is more than shoddy professional writing.
One can only conclude that Lintner is NOT really interested in getting facts and empirical explanations of Rohingyas, their suffering or their nominal resistance.
In my view Lintner has, in this piece on the Rohingya, engaged in a FAKE JOURNALISM, the purpose of which seems like post-truth opportunism.
Writing about terrorism, militancy, potential terrorism - all against the backdrop of (anti-Muslim) "Global War on Terror" - gets one relevant with governments, intelligence agencies and prospective funders.
Sadly - and outrageously - for the Rohingyas, this is tantamount to climbing the ladder stepping on the piles of the skeletons of Rohingya babies and grown up washed up on shores of the Naaf River, or the Andaman Sea.
As a former correspondent for the now defunct, HK-based Far Eastern Economic Review Bertil Lintner most dedefinitely KNEW what Rohingyas have been going through oscillate between ethnic cleaning and a genocide. After all, his employer was covering this issue with ominous titles such as "Burma's Brand of Apartheid" as early as 1978 - as the first large scale terror campaign by the Burmese Army was launched.
Finally, even the former head of Burmese Military Intelligence, and my old "pal", ex-General Khin Nyunt was more truthful about how many Rohingyas the military had driven out of Rakhine: close to 280,000 between Feb and June 1978. (See the Burmese language book "the Problem of Western Gate", by ex-General Khin Nyunt, July 2016).
Lintner didn't bother to upgrade his knowledge:
Lintner didn't bother to upgrade his knowledge:
"International interest in the issue came after the Burmese government in March 1978 launched a campaign code-named Naga Min (“Dragon King”) in Arakan State, ostensibly to “check illegal immigrants.” By June, at least 200,000 Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh, causing an international outcry."
This is not just bad journalism; it is post-Truth that rests on detectable Islamophobia and 'anti-terror' opportunism.
All the impressive details would intimidate any reader who is NOT versed in Burma affairs including Rohingyas, or terrorism.
But it is exceedingly difficult to detect which bits of Linter's details in this article are fabricated as he goes along, or which bits are empirical and factual.
If I were a policy maker or adviser or an intelligence analyst fishing for facts about potential "terrorism" arising out of the Rohingya context I would be very, very cautious about trusting Lintner - his "facts", "analysis", or reportage.
If you are concerned about the prospects for Rohingyas resorting to violence - out of commonly acknowledged desperation and loss of faith in the existing global governance mechanisms - UN, ICC, ASEAN, etc. - these two reports are a good place to start learning about the history and developments of organized resistance by the victimized community.
Both Euro-Burma Office's report, which has greater historical depths, and the more publicized and more current ICG report have some raw info and interesting observations.
Both reports agreed that the armed resistance by the Rohingyas can NOT be labelled "terrorism". Not as of yet. The Burmese gov. has been trying to make this charge or label sticks, straight from the highest level of leadership, perhaps with the exception of Suu Kyi. UnderThein Sein regime, his office of info - manned by Zaw Htay (ex-Major and now Suu Kyi Gov spokesperson) and Ye Htut (ex-Colonel and son of a retired or late Chief of Police), info minister - was directly involved in spreading false rumors about the Rohingya "terrorists" coming in to Burma as early as 2012-13.
The regime has been looking for ways or pretext to scale up the destruction of the Rohingya communities in N. Rakhine. S. Rakhine has been emptied out over the last 38 years, save those in IDPs camp (Miliitary Intelligence Services has engaged in trans-migration forcibly of Rohingyas into N. Rakhine. Former chief of intelligence ex-General Khin Nyunt openly discussed this "dumping of Rohingyas" from S. to N. Rakhine, where Rohingyas population have increased from about 75% in 1964 to now about 90-95%.
But what is noteworthy is ICG concludes, conditioally, that there is potential for the violent resistance to evolve into an international "jihadist", i.e., terrorist movement, IF THE BURMESE REGIME DOES NOT address the legitimate issue of persecution, the sufferings and the powerlessness and hopelessness of the Rohingya via restoration of freedoms and rights to the Rohingyas.
That is where the pros end.
The bad news is this:
ICG was one of the key influential players, who amplified the official rhetoric of Buddhist-Muslim "sectarian conflict" after two bouts of violence in 2012, and enabling the Thein Sein regime (and more historically the State) to absolve itself of any responsibility.
Thein Sein remade the perpetrating State into the Referee above the fray.
Now while communal dimension has always been there, it has been the State that organizes and directs this destruction against the Rohingya. Rakhines are not capable of inflicting large scale violence on the Rohingya.
Plus economically, both communities are interdependent in the sense that Rohingyas are producers of primary goods such as fish, rice, etc and the Rakhines are distributors and facilitators of commerce based on the produces.
It is the State that comes in and stir the calm waters. So, ICG has made seriously negative contributions to the international debates on the Rohingya - and the conflict in Rakhine.
Additionally, ICG refuses to use the existing legal and sociological frameworks - genocide and crimes against humanity particularly - which hold the State responsible for the crimes against this most vulnerable population - leads to ICG's focus on rights denial (like talking about individual trees while refusing to acknowledge that ICG is dealing with a forest.
This needs to be challenged frontally because it misdirects the policy focus away from the principal culprit - the Gov. of Myanmar and its leaders, including Suu Kyi and the generals - and on to the symptom of the crime - violent responses by the victims.
This is 'securitization' of a state crime; it is NOT a solution to the genocide.
Obviously, the first prerequisite to address the Rohingya sufferings is to acknowledge Burma's policies and practices as an act of international criminal/human rights law.
Finally, the long-term implications of ICG's security perspective - 'international terrorism' - which does have traction with terrorism-obsessed world order will be 1) it will shift the focus on holding the Burmese gov to account and allowing it once again to forge ties with other governments in the name of 'intel cooperation' and (potential) "anti-terror operations'. Singapore in the region is one such mini-anti-terrorist state, and so is Thailand, and so is Bangladesh.
That will draw these regional states away from the issue of Burma's international crimes and in due course enable the Burmese military-controlled State to absolve itself of any state responsibility to protect one of its own communities.
ICG's amplifications of the previous Thein Sein regime's disingenuous framing of state-instigated and -directed violence against Rohingyas in 2012 as "communal or sectarian" have called attention to the horizontal racism and hostilities between Rohingyas and Rakhine.
It is time for the analysts, academics and journalists to call a spade spade. Burma is committing crimes against humanity including a slow genocide with periodic spikes of mass violence. It needs to be internationalized as such, not securitized as ICG has done it although it has, to its credit, stopped short of throwing the charge of "jihadist terrorism" against the victims.
By Gregory PolingCenter for Strategic and International Studies
February 13, 2014
Rakhine State in western Myanmar has been the site of repeated outbreaks of violence between the Buddhists majority and its Muslim Rohingya minority, most recently on January 13. The details of what happened remain unclear, but it seems that dozens were killed. This follows widespread violence in 2012 that left more than 200 dead and 140,000 displaced.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says it has credible evidence that at least 48 Rohingya were killed on January 13 during an attack by their Buddhist Rakhine neighbors and security forces. The non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders said its personnel treated 22 Rohingya who were wounded during the attack. The government of Myanmar has denied any large-scale violence occurred, insists only one policeman died, and has refused calls for an international investigation.
All the details might never become known, but the incident in Du Chee Yar Tan, and the government’s angry and dismissive reaction, have refocused international attention on the larger plight of the Rohingya. Strangers in their own country, they are disenfranchised, discriminated against, and subject to unpredictable cycles of violence. Many in Myanmar, including prominent Buddhist monks and political leaders among the Buddhist Rakhine ethnic group, demand that they be driven from Myanmar by any means necessary.
Rohingya have few defenders within Myanmar, with hatred of them seeming to be one of the few issues that can bridge the country’s political divide. Any public figure who stands up for them can expect to be persona non grata. The narrative of the Rohingya has been overtaken by fiction, with their place in Myanmar’s history expunged by a succession of military governments looking for scapegoats and aided by the country’s already strong sense of Buddhist nationalism.
Q1: Who are the Rohingya?
A1: The Rohingya are a Muslim minority living in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and adjacent areas of neighboring Bangladesh. They are not recognized by the Myanmar government as an official ethnic group and are denied citizenship. Their population within Myanmar has been estimated at roughly 800,000. Most of this population lives in the townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung, where Rohingya are the majority, as well as in neighboring towns and the state capital, Sittwe.
Myanmar’s government claims that the Rohingya are not eligible for citizenship under the country’s military-drafted 1982 Citizenship Law. That document defines full citizens as members of ethnic groups that had permanently settled within the boundaries of modern-day Myanmar prior to 1823, the year before the first Anglo-Burman War. The government of General Ne Win drew up a list of the 135 ethnic groups that supposedly meet this requirement. That list is still in use by Myanmar’s current civilian government.
The British colonial government encouraged immigration to Myanmar from modern-day India and Bangladesh. This is a source of continued resentment within Myanmar, which is why 1823 was used as a cut-off for citizenship. The dominant narrative within the country is that the term “Rohingya” is a recent invention, and those who claim to belong to the group are actually the descendants of these colonial-era immigrants from Bangladesh.
But this narrative is demonstrably false. In 1799, Francis Buchanan, a surgeon with the British East India Company, traveled to Myanmar and met members of a Muslim ethnic group “who have long settled in Arakan [Rakhine], and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan.” That would indicate there were self-identified Rohingya living in Rakhine at least 25 years before the 1823 cut-off for citizenship.
Even if the name “Rohingya” is too taboo to be accepted inside Myanmar, the historical record is clear that the ethnic group itself has existed in Arakan, or Rakhine State, for centuries. A significant Muslim population lived in the independent Kingdom of Mrauk-U that ruled modern-day Rakhine State from the mid-fifteenth to late eighteenth centuries. Many of the Buddhist kings of Mrauk-U even took Muslim honorifics. The evidence suggests that this community is the origin of today’s Rohingya. The group likely assimilated later waves of immigrants from Bangladesh during and after British rule, but it did not begin with them.
Q2: How have previous governments viewed the Rohingya?
A2: Following independence from the United Kingdom, Myanmar’s 1948-1962 parliamentary government recognized the Rohingya as citizens. Prime Minister U Nu referred to the group by the name “Rohingya,” undermining the current narrative that the term is a recent invention. They were issued government identification cards and official documents, enjoyed all the benefits of citizenship, and the national public radio even broadcast several segments a week in the Rohingya language.
Maung Zarni, most recently a fellow at the London School of Economics, has uploaded several Burmese-language documents showing government recognition of the Rohingya during the government of U Nu and the early years of military dictator Ne Win’s reign. These include public statements, official radio broadcasts, government-printed books, and government-issued licenses.
Several members of Myanmar’s post-independence parliament publicly identified themselves as Rohingya. They opposed the inclusion of Rohingya-majority areas in a proposed Arakan State, which would later become Rakhine. As a result, U Nu in 1961 decided to carve out Buthidaung, Maungdaw, and part of nearby Rathedaung townships as the Mayu Frontier Administration, named after the river that runs through the area. It was administered separately from Buddhist-majority Arakan.
Life changed dramatically for the Rohingya under the military government of Ne Win. Benedict Rogers, in his Burma: A Nation at the Crossroads, cites a former minister in Ne Win’s government saying that the dictator “had ‘an unwritten policy’ to get rid of Muslims, Christians, Karens and other ethnic peoples, in that order.” Ne Win’s government systematically stripped citizenship from the Rohingya, starting with the 1974 Emergency Immigration Act and culminating with the 1982 Citizenship Law. The Rohingya-majority Mayu Frontier Administration was folded into Arakan State, and hundreds of thousands of them fled to Bangladesh during brutal crackdowns in 1978 and 1991.
Since then, the Rohingya have been systematically stripped of the rights of citizens. They have been blocked from travel, education, government assistance, land ownership, and even marriage and the right to have more than two children. They have been scrubbed from the national consciousness, and several generations in Myanmar have grown up being told by their government that the Rohingya are interlopers, stealing land and economic opportunities, with the eventual goal of overthrowing Buddhism as the country’s majority religion.
Q3: What comes next?
A3: In late March, the government of Myanmar will launch its first nationwide census in three decades. The Rohingya and many of their international defenders are concerned that the census will mark the first step in a campaign to cement their status as non-citizens. They will not be listed as one of the country’s 135 ethnic groups, and many Rohingya communities have so far resisted efforts by government officials to force them to register as “Bengalis.”
There appears to be some hope, as central government officials have recently affirmed that Rohingya may self-identify as such by marking “other” and writing in their ethnicity. Whether or not they will really be free to do so remains to be seen, as local and federal officials have a history of intimidation and violence against Rohingya during previous registration and census drives.
In the long-term, the census will not end the Rohingya’s quest to be accepted as a national ethnic group. Officials assert that it will only be a statistical exercise, and that any redefinition of the country’s ethnic groups will be decided by the parliament. All the momentum in the treatment of the Rohingya seems to be moving in the wrong direction, with legislative efforts underway to cement their status as illegal immigrants.
The outcry from the international community is likely the only reason that this has not yet happened. The U.S. and UK embassies in Myanmar issued a joint statement following the violence in Du Chee Yar Tan expressing concern and calling on the government to investigate. U.S. and European officials have repeatedly raised their concerns about the Rohingya during official visits to Myanmar. And even Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa raised the issue on the sidelines of an ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in January—the first meeting Myanmar hosted as ASEAN chair this year.
All of this international opprobrium has not led to an improvement in the lives of the Rohingya, but it has helped prevent further deterioration. Myanmar officials have asked foreign counterparts stop meddling in the country’s internal affairs and have angrily demanded that foreign officials and media only rely on Myanmar government spokespersons for information on the Rohingya. These reactions show just how explosive the issue has become within Myanmar. But it also shows that the government is discomfited by the international criticism.
Continued attention from abroad, and explicit promises that Myanmar’s good relations with foreign countries will be damaged by continued abuses against the Rohingya, are essential. It is also important that international actors not accept double-speak and falsifications regarding the Rohingya and their history.
Gregory Poling is a fellow with the Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.
Critical Questions is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s).
Le Birman anti-Birman. MAUNG ZARNI, ACTIVISTE BIRMAN : «CE QUE NOUS FAISONS SUBIR AUX ROHINGYA EST UN GÉNOCIDE
By Sihem Bouzidi
Au MuslimPost, nous nous faisons régulièrement l'écho de la cause des Rohingya, minorité musulmane persécutée de la Birmanie du prix Nobel Aung San Suu Kyi. Universitaire birman, Dr Maung Zarni s'élève contre ce génocide d'Etat. Il nous a accordé un entretien exclusif.
LeMuslimPost : Vous venez d’une famille birmane bouddhiste. Parlez-nous de votre enfance, de votre formation en Birmanie…
Dr Maung Zarni : J’ai passé toute ma jeunesse, de 1963 à 1988, dans la dernière capitale du royaume birman, Mandalay. Cette ville d’un demi-million d’habitants était marquée par la diversité, tant ethnique que religieuse, du fait de sa position géographique : Mandalay était le point de convergence des routes commerciales de Thaïlande, de Chine et d’Inde. Même si la ville était enclavée, c’était une mosaïque de de langues, de spécialités culinaires, de traditions religieuses ou vestimentaires… Malgré cette diversité de fait, l’idée d’une identité ethnique transmise par le sang était profondément ancrée dans la pensée dominante birmane. Et orientait les relations sociales. Notre famille ne faisait pas exception. Ma mère était professeur d’histoire et de littérature birmane au lycée : quand j’avais 8 ans, elle me donnait à lire des fictions intitulées « Sang ou L’Epée birmane ». De véritables romans nationaux.
« Être Birman, c’est être bouddhiste »
LeMuslimPost : Comment s’est instauré et développé ce système de hiérarchisation ethnique et religieuse en Birmanie ?
Dr Maung Zarni : Avec un recul de 50 ans maintenant, je peux dire que la conscience du petit garçon birman que j’étais à l’époque était imprégnée par une sorte de racisme doux. Bien sûr, nous avions des amis et des voisins musulmans, chrétiens ou d’origines chinoise ou indienne et nous nous entendions tous très bien. Mais à un niveau plus profond, nous ne les considérions tout simplement pas comme Birmans car ils n’étaient pas bouddhistes. Etre Birman, c’est être bouddhiste, voilà le cliché en vigueur. Et comme toute société fondée sur une supposée pureté « ethno-nationale », ceci n’est qu’un leurre : tout Birman s’estimant d’ascendance pure a de toutes façons des origines métissées. Mais cette suprématie auto-déclarée par les Birmans bouddhistes avait déjà pris une autre dimension avec l’arrivée des colons britanniques en 1886, qui a renforcé la séparation entre « nous » et « eux » – Britanniques, Européens, Chinois, Indiens,… D’autant plus fortement que le système colonialiste nous avait relégués, les Birmans bouddhistes, au bas de l’échelle sociale. Depuis, nous nous sommes drapés et braqués dans une sorte de forteresse identitaire et les premières agressions de non-bouddhistes ont alors commencé. Ce qui n’était pas pour déplaire à la puissance coloniale, qui tira profit de cette stratégie classique du « diviser pour mieux régner ». Une stratégie reprise par les militaire birmans à l’indépendance du pays en 1962 : une société divisée est faible et beaucoup plus facile à contrôler. Ils ont commencé par expurger les postes clés de l’Armée occupés par des officiers « de sang mêlé » – chrétiens ou indiens. Une opération menée – ironie de l’histoire – par des militaires à moitié chinois…
« L’ethnonationalisme est au coeur de l’Etat birman »
LeMuslimPost : La situation ne semble pas s’arranger avec l’arrivée au pouvoir d’Aung San Suu Kyi, prix Nobel de la Paix…
Dr Maung Zarni : Loin de là. Aung San Suu Kyi a elle aussi adopté cette position raciste et ethnocentrée : elle est la seule responsable de l’élimination, au sein de son propre parti aujourd’hui au pouvoir, des Birmans d’origine musulmane. Le NLD ne dispose ainsi d’aucun député musulman dans un pays où y vit une forte minorité. L’ethnonationalisme a été inscrit de force dans le système social par les dirigeants birmans, Avant Aung San Suu Kyi, le gouvernement dirigé par le général Thein Sein a fait adopter quatre lois ségrégationnistes dont une qui interdit le mariage des Bouddhistes en dehors de leur communauté religieuse. Aujourd’hui, c’est bien l’ethnonationalisme – et non les valeurs démocratiques ou humanistes – qui est devenu l’idéologie maîtresse de la politique et de la société birmanes.
LeMuslimPost : A titre personnel, comment s’est déroulée votre prise de conscience ? Y a-t-il eu des circonstances révélatrices ou bien votre combat s’est-il peu à peu imposé à vous ?
Dr Maung Zarni : C’est en fait mon épouse britannique qui a déclenché cette prise de conscience. Elle était bénévole dans un camp de réfugiés de guerre le long de la frontière entre la Birmanie et la Thaïlande, il y a de cela 15 ans. Elle vivait dans une ville appelée Mae Sot et est tombée sur des Bouddhistes activistes de l’Etat Rakhine (majoritairement peuplé de musulmans Rohingya, ndlr) qui lisaient et discutaient de « Mein Kampf », le livre d’Hitler. Rentrée au Royaume-Uni, elle a travaillé en tant que chercheur et s’est spécialisée dans la persécution des Rohingya. A partir de 2009, elle a commencé à me faire part de ses découvertes : des crimes indicibles que l’armée de mon pays commettait à l’encontre de la communauté rohingya. Jusqu’à ce moment-là, j’étais comme tout Birman moyen, le cerveau lavé par la propagande nationale. Je ne savais même pas qu’ils étaient aussi citoyens birmans et formaient l’une de nos minorités religieuses. J’ai alors personnellement entrepris des recherches et j’ai dû me rendre à l’évidence : ce que nous faisions subir aux Rohingya était la définition même du génocide. Je me demandais sans cesse comment je réagirais si mes filles étaient jetées dans les flammes par une armée puissante, si ma femme était violée par une bande organisée ou encore si ma vieille mère était tuée à bout portant, parce que dans ce pays, il existe une armée et des Birmans qui leur nient toute existence. Une prise de conscience particulièrement choquante et douloureuse pour le fier patriote que j’étais… J’avais consacré la moitié de ma vie à la défense des droits de l’Homme dans un pays que je chérissais. J’étais élevé dans une famille et par des parents patriotes et très nationalistes. Toute cette vision s’est effondrée comme un château de cartes. J’ai réalisé qu’en tant que société, opposition démocratique ou armée, nous étions devenus aussi barbares, fascistes et monstrueux que les Nazis.
« Ce que nous faisons subir aux Rohingya est un génocide »
LeMuslimPost : Comment peut-on expliquer que le principe ontologique de non-violence du bouddhisme se soit adapté – voire, ait contribué – à cette vague généralisée de violence et de haine. Comment y réagissez-vous ?
Dr Maung Zarni : Pour quelqu’un d’aussi profondément bouddhiste que moi dans la foi et dans la philosophie de vie, je ne peux être qu’immensément outré – les qualificatifs me manquent – que mes concitoyens qui se prétendent « moines » ou « bouddhistes » aient épousé les vues et les modes opératoires des fascistes. Les bouddhistes ne sont pas censés être dévorés par la colère ou par la haine. Mais c’est le cas. Il y aussi beaucoup d’ignorance sur ce qu’est l’Islam comme foi, et beaucoup de peur et de haine envers les musulmans comme communauté. Des exterminateurs comme Wirathu (moine bouddhiste leader du mouvement islamophobe en Birmanie, ndlr), originaire comme moi de Mandalay, devrait être traduit devant la Cour pénale internationale et incarcéré pour avoir appelé ouvertement à affamer les musulmans de Mandalay comme première étape de son entreprise d’éradication des musulmans de Birmanie.
LeMuslimPost : Le gouvernement birman a largement ignoré les résolutions de l’ONU de 2014 et de 2016 sur la question de la citoyenneté. Quelles sont les organisations internationales dédiées à la cause des Rohingya et quelles mesures sont-elles appelées à prendre ?
Dr Maung Zarni : La Burma Task Force USA – une coalition d’associations musulmanes nord-américaines – en est une. Il existe également un réseau mondial d’activistes Rohingya qui font un travail considérable d’information sur les crimes contre l’humanité perpétrés dans un pays verrouillé aux journalistes et aux chercheurs. Je pense au Conseil Européen-Rohingya, à l’Organisation nationale des Rohingya d’Arakan (autre nom de l’Etat Rakhine, ndlr), à l’Organisation des Birmans Rohingya au Royaume-Uni, au Rohingya Blogger, à Vision Rohingya, pour ne citer que ceux-là. Par ailleurs, il y a les centres de recherches internationaux et les ONG actives dans la défense des droits de l’Homme, comme Human Rights Watch, FortifyRights ou l’International State Crime Initiative à l’Université Queen Mary de Londres, qui ont propulsé la persécution des Rohingya au premier plan des préoccupations internationales. De même, les rapporteurs spéciaux de l’ONU sur la situation des droits de l’Homme en Birmanie au cours des dix dernières années ont été particulièrement décisifs dans la mobilisation des Nations Unies. Mais il reste encore beaucoup à faire. Tout d’abord, il faut faire admettre que la loi sur la citoyenneté de 1982 a été spécialement conçue à des fins génocidaires contre les Rohingya : il faut faire pression sur le gouvernement birman pour qu’il l’amende. Une loi semblable à celle de Nuremberg, par laquelle Hitler avait « dé-germanisé » les Juifs, les dépouillant de leurs droits les plus basiques. Il s’agit également de faire reconnaître par la communauté internationale (Etats et nations) que la persécution endurée par les Rohingya de la part de l’Etat birman – membre de l’ONU – est un génocide. Une coalition d’Etats membres de l’ONu devrait être montée – intégrant de grands pays musulmans (Malaisie, Arabie Saoudite, Turquie,…) et non-musulmans pour faire pression sur les autorités birmanes et notamment, sur Aung San Suu Kyi et sur le général Min Aung Hlaing, pour qu’ils mettent immédiatement fin à la répression. Il n’y a pas besoin de mobiliser le monde entier, seulement des pays influents capables d’exercer une pression multiforme – diplomatique, politique, culturelle et économique.
« Les Rohingya en Birmanie, ce sont les Juifs de l’Allemagne nazie »
LeMuslimPost : Justement, préconisez-vous le retour des sanctions économiques contre la Birmanie ?
Dr Maung Zarni : Oui, absolument. Durant dix ans, alors que Aung San Suu Kyi était en prison, j’ai contribué à une campagne internationale de boycott de la Birmanie. Puis j’ai changé d’avis : l’isolement et le boycott faisait davantage de tort à la population qu’aux généraux au pouvoir. Mais j’en suis arrivé à un point où je soutiendrais toute initiative – y compris une intervention militaire par un pays voisin, même si cela paraît aujourd’hui inconcevable – pour arrêter ce génocide. Cela fait près de 40 ans que ça dure.
LeMuslimPost : Dans quelle mesure l’influence croissante de la Chine dans la région – dont on sait par ailleurs qu’elle n’est pas tendre avec sa propre communauté musulmane ouïgoure – affecte-t-elle le traitement des Rohingya en Birmanie ?
Dr Maung Zarni : La Chine, comme l’Inde d’ailleurs, ne s’est en fait impliquée que récemment dans la persécution de la minorité Rohingya. Ces deux pays ont investi dans des territoires auparavant habités par les Rohingya pour y développer un port en eaux profondes et d’autres projets dans ce qui est devenu une « zone économique spéciale ». La volonté des militaires birmans de développer des partenariats et des échanges commerciaux avec les deux géants asiatiques s’est traduite par l’expulsion de 100 000 Rohingya de leurs logements et de leurs terres. Personnellement, je considère la Chine comme une puissance impérialiste, sans être compensée par une quelconque valeur humaniste : 5 000 ans de civilisation n’ont produit aucun éventail de valeurs à admirer ou de modèle à suivre. Le développement de la Chine se fait aux dépens du bien-être non seulement des musulmans mais de l’humanité entière. Regardez ce que la Chine – et dans une moindre mesure, l’Inde – font en Afrique, en Amérique centrale ou latine : spolier leurs ressources naturelles et détruire leur environnement. Je sais que ce n’est pas bon d’être trop direct ou trop honnête. L’émergence d’une puissance asiatique est aussi dommageable que celle des Européens qui, durant 500 ans, avaient commis des génocides en série à travers le monde. Et la Chine ne prétend même pas le faire au nom de valeurs humanistes. Les capitalistes d’Etat chinois ne sont mus que par leur avidité débridée sous couvert d’un discours vantant « l’harmonie et la politique de bon voisinage ». Si l’ancien homme Blanc était un tueur en série, la Chine est le nouveau cancer de la planète pour nous qui venons de pays anciennement colonisés.
LeMuslimPost : Les Rohingya sont-ils impliqués dans la politique birmane, aux niveaux local ou central et, le cas échéant, de quelle manière ?
Dr Maung Zarni : Les Rohingya n’ont aujourd’hui quasiment aucune implication politique en Birmanie, à quelque niveau que ce soit. Il y a un petit nombre d’activistes et une élite Rohingya qui tentent de rappeler leurs frères et leurs soeurs birmans à de meilleurs sentiments, à Rangoon, à Sittwe (capitale de l’Etat Rakhine, ndlr) ou parmi la diaspora. Des efforts déployés en vain car ils sont ostracisés comme l’ont été avant eux les Juifs allemands. Ils sont devenus les Juifs de Birmanie. Même à Aung San Suu Kyi ne viendrait l’idée de porter attention à ces représentants de la communauté musulmane – même pas à ceux qui l’ont soutenue et admirée depuis longtemps.
LeMuslimPost : Où va la Birmanie aujourd’hui, alors que ses relations se sont normalisées avec un Occident où des voix islamophobes et conservatrices se font entendre de plus en plus ?
Dr Maung Zarni : Je pense que Washington, Londres et Bruxelles (en tant que capitale de l’Union européenne) trouvent de plus en plus difficile de maintenir leur antienne sur « le modèle de transition démocratique » offert par la Birmanie et leur belle et vielle amie sortie d’Oxford qui se veut la « Mandela birmane ». Ils se rendent compte maintenant que leur favorite est une raciste islamophobe qui a dit textuellement à la télévision « coopérer totalement » avec l’armée birmane. La BBC a diffusé des analyses sans concession sur le rôle abject de « blanchisseuse de génocide » qu’Aung San Suu Kyi a endossé. Si les acteurs occidentaux veulent une normalisation complète des relations avec la Birmanie et donc, avec son armée, ils doivent soit mettre fin aux atrocités commises, soit tenter de couvrir par tous les moyens les voix qui s’élèvent contre ce génocide. Et en effet, on assiste à une montée des voix et des visages islamophobes ou fascistes, de Londres à Paris, en passant par Washington. Si ces personnes finissent par s’emparer du pouvoir comme Marine Le Pen en France, nous aurions un Conseil de Sécurité à l’ONU dont les cinq sièges permanents seraient occupés par des néo-totalitaires, des néo-fascistes ou des fascistes tout court… L’avenir est très sombre pour les Rohingya et les musulmans de manière générale…
Aung San Suu Kyi ? Une « blanchisseuse de génocide »
LeMuslimPost : La France devrait-elle jouer un rôle plus important en tant qu’ancienne puissance coloniale en Indochine, notamment sur le plan économique pour favoriser la prospérité de tous les citoyens birmans ?
Dr Maung Zarni : Tout d’abord, la France devrait cesser de promouvoir ce diplomate luxembourgeois soit-disant expert de l’Etat Rakhine, Jacques Leider. Il a proféré des âneries sur le fait que les Rohingya ne seraient pas un groupe ethnique et démolit toute argumentation sur l’existence d’un génocide. Leider est un raciste nuisible qui dissimule ses vues racistes sous un langage universitaire policé. Il a été promu par l’ambassade de France à Rangoon comme « la voix académique sensée » dans le concert des récriminations anti-génocide. D’un autre côté, la France semble vouloir encourager une gouvernance responsable et transparente en Birmanie, certainement en partie parce qu’y opère Total, sa multinationale milliardaire, depuis près de 20 ans…
LeMuslimPost : Vous prévoyez d’éditer en 2017 un ouvrage sur la question. Comment amenez-vous les étudiants en droits de l’Homme à s’intéresser à la cause Rohingya ?
Dr Maung Zarni : Je devais publier mon essai depuis quatre ans déjà mais j’ai donné la priorité à la recherche et à l’activisme. Heureusement, mes éditeurs du Yale University Press ont été compréhensifs. Je veux achever le manuscrit d’ici deux ou trois mois – que j’avais une fois de plus interrompu depuis la dernière vague de répression enclenchée le 9 octobre. J’ai vécu la moitié de ma vie dans le centre culturel et historique de la Birmanie et l’autre moitié – plus de 25 ans – comme activiste à l’échelle internationale. Ma famille a des racines ancrées dans le féodalisme traditionnel des palais ainsi que dans l’armée. Dans ce livre, j’associe ma connaissance intime de la politique dominante birmane et de son caractère destructif avec mes connaissances d’historien et de sociologue sur la politique, la société et l’économie birmanes. Un chapitre sera évidemment consacré au racisme et aux actes génocidaires que nous, « Bouddhistes » hypocrites et racistes, avons perpétrés à l’encontre de cette communauté musulmane. Je veux démonter les mensonges et les illusions centenaires sur lesquels s’est bâti notre racisme.
Retrouvez le combat et les initiatives du Dr Maung Zarni sur son blog : Zarni’s Blog.
Propos recueillis par Ahmed Medien et traduits par Sihem Bouzidi.