In Burma, everyone who is remotely informed about the ways the military works knows th
at the Burmese military is the Hidden Hand behind
anti-Muslim hate campaign across the country
In Germany of 1920's and 1930's, the Nazi party was the main mobilizer, scapegoating the German Jews for the economic hardships and social ills in society.
In Burma today, the army uses the Sangha or Buddhist Order - conservative, typically racist, ill-educated in terms of intellectual outlooks and growth of its members, and rural (parochial) - as its proxy mobilizer.
The military - at the senior most level of leadership - has patronized a tiny gang of influential monks to do the army's bidding - racist divide and rule within the society that is generally anti-military.
Here two monks, namely Sitagu and Wirathu, are seen travelling with their security details.
Sitagu, the more senior of the two, is based in Rangoon.
Wirathu became the "face of Buddhist Terror" when TIME ran a cover story with that title
Beyond patronizing individuals monks, the military also bent the country's laws governing Buddhist organizations. The previous military government of the late general Ne Win (1962-88) singled out the Burmese monks - the Buddhist Order - as one of the two biggest threats to the military: student activists and monks -traditional allies. After a series of periodic unrests which were led by monks and students the Ne Win administration enacted a law, registering all Buddhist monks with the Department of Religious Affairs under Home Affairs Ministry and allowing only one central national monks' association. After the 2010 electioons which were "won" by the military's political proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party, the ruling party under ex-general and then President Thein Sein allowed the openly racist, anti-Muslim wing of the Buddhist Order to form "Race and Faith Defence League" where both Sitagu and Wirathu are most famous leaders.
This is a strategic symbiosis which has served the Burmese military's objectives of social control extremely well. It has enabled the military to keep the NLD - with absolutely no capacity for intelligence gathering or control of security forces - on its toes in terms of the socially destablizing impact of such racist mobilization by monks - with state impunity.
Here Ma Ba Tha leader - TIME's Coverstory Wirathu - seen with Myanmar Commander in Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (in off-white traditional Burmese jacket) in Mandalay, 2016. The hate preacher travels with the military's protection.
The last picture is the most influential monk Sitagu with Karen Border Guard Force (ultimately the under Myanmar army's command) in Karen State where the army intelligence attempted to incite anti-Muslim violence, in collaboration with the border guard force and Karen monks). (Taken in March 2017)
Police fire warning shots as extremists speed up their anti-Muslim operations in capital city