The mass media in both the West and Islamic world needs to find space in order to simplify hatred. It matters not if turning a blind eye to Sunni Takfiri massacres in Syria and the nations that are endorsing this, nor that in Myanmar’s recent history more Christians than any other non-Buddhist faith group have been killed based on ethnic and religious tensions. Instead, the simple version – while negating the Christian angle – is that Muslims are killed and targeted by radical Buddhists.
Ironically, the latest chain of events began after Muslims killed nine police officers in Rakhine state. International Crisis Group reports, “The attacks were carried out by Muslims, according to both government statements and local sources. An unverified video of the attackers, filmed in the wake of the attacks, has been circulating on social networks and seems legitimate. In it, one of the group calls on “all Rohingya around the world to prepare for jihad and join them”. This, the need for local knowledge to carry out the assaults, and the difficulty of moving large numbers of people around this area are all suggestive of local Muslim involvement – possibly organized with some outside support. However, many details of who exactly organized this and how remain unclear.”
Myanmar is blighted by many internal rebellions and is struggling on the path to democracy. Indeed, while the mass media is focused on the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, you have other continuing convulsions that are well outside Buddhist-Muslim issues. For example, Myanmar News reports,“About 3,000 Myanmar citizens fled across the border after the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and Arakan Army (AA) staged a coordinated attack on military outposts, police stations, and a trade center in Muse and Kutkai townships. Ten people were killed and 33 others were injured during fighting on Nov. 20-22.”
Free Burma Rangers equally highlights the recent conflict between central authorities and different ethnic groups – many who are mainly Christian. In this incidence, the Free Burma Rangers reports, “In the last month sporadic fighting in two separate incidents was reported in Central Shan State between the Burma Army and the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S). The clashes were deliberate actions by the Burma military and corresponded with the deployment and rotation of two separate Burma Army infantry battalions in the region. The attacks came within the first anniversary of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), which was signed October 15th, 2015… The attacks caused thousands of people in the region to flee, with rangers reporting over 2,000 people displaced and living in nearby IDP camps.”
UCA News reported last month, “At least 30,000 people from different faiths and ethnic groups were estimated to have taken part in a demonstration in Myanmar’s northern Kachin State on Oct. 22 where they demanded an end to military operations in the region… Protestors, including Catholic priests and nuns, held placards that read, “stop civil war” and “may there be peace in Myanmar” on the streets in Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachin State.”
UCA News continues, “The fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Myanmar military in Kachin and Shan states is considered the most severe of the country’s four ongoing conflicts.”
In other words, countless issues are underreported because it doesn’t suit the simplistic anti-Buddhist agenda in relation to the Rohingya Muslim crisis. Myanmar is clearly faced with countless ethnic and religious issues – alongside the road to democracy, countering poverty, narcotics, and the legacy of history. Despite this, the media is fixated on a one-dimensional approach – just like the mass media response to the crisis in Syria based on utterly biased reporting.
In a regional context it is abundantly clear that certain Buddhist clerics are disillusioned and aghast at the cleansing of Buddhists in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, countless terrorist attacks by Islamists against Buddhists in Southern Thailand, the destruction of holy Buddhist places in Afghanistan by Sunni Takfiris, endless Han migration to Tibet in order to dilute the influence of Tibetan Buddhism, and other issues, for example Buddhism is illegal in nations like Saudi Arabia (the same Sunni Islamist nation is intent on spreading Salafi Islam into the heart of Buddhism). Therefore, from the point of view of Buddhist clerics in Myanmar who support the protection of Buddhism internationally, then regional and historical realities are being neglected by a simplified Western and Islamic media bias.
Internationally, Sunni Takfiri Islamists are killing various non-Muslim faith groups and minority Muslim sects, including the endless butchering of Shia Muslims in many nations. Similarly, while Hinduism is in free fall in Bangladesh and Pakistan, the opposite can’t be stated for Islam in India. In other words, the endless one-way civilization war equally applies to the Indian subcontinent. Not surprisingly, and with Buddhists being cleansed in neighboring nations, then militancy within Buddhist circles in Myanmar is deemed to be self-defensive. After all, historically, Buddhists understand full well that Islamic invading armies destroyed countless numbers of holy Buddhist monasteries and places of learning over many centuries. Indeed, while Christian and Muslim slavery of black Africans is a historical reality, with Muslim slavery starting first on a major scale in Africa and ending last (still issues of slavery in Mauritania and in the recent history of Sudan), then the Buddhist view in certain circles in Myanmar is based on self-preservation, the need for an alternative voice to be heard, and to tackle mass distortions.
Media outlets that condemn Buddhists in Myanmar are neglecting the reality of what Sharia Islamic law means to faith groups including Buddhists and Hindus. Are these religious minorities equal in Islamic Sharia states? Can Buddhist males freely marry Muslim females in nations like Saudi Arabia? The answers are obvious because non-Abrahamic faiths have been treated brutally under Islamic Sharia law throughout history. Likewise, in modern day Saudi Arabia if a Buddhist male fell in love with a Muslim Saudi female then he would face prison – or death in accordance with the tenets of Islamic Sharia. Yet, you don’t see major Western and Islamic media outlets stressing “Islamic fascism” and so forth but similar labels are aimed at Buddhist clerics in Myanmar.
Similarly, in Myanmar – and nobody is negating that massacres have taken place against Muslims in this nation – the simple reality is that more Christians belonging to various ethnic groups, for example, the Chin, Karen, and Kachin, have been killed than any other non-Buddhist faith group. Despite this, over the many decades you never had the same outpouring of “good” against “evil,” or headlines stressing “Christian genocide” to anything like the degree of the Muslim focus in modern day Myanmar. In other words, an agenda by the Western and Islamic media is at hand whereby Sunni Takfiris will manipulate a biased media – just like the endless rhetoric against Syria – in order to propagate more Sunni Islamist militancy in nations like Bangladesh.
Massacres and intimidation have happened on both sides in Myanmar but like Kosovo, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, you have a favorable Western and Sunni Muslim media joint angle opposed to the brutal one-sided other. Similarly, the Christian angle of alienation and persecution in Myanmar is being reduced to a completely different way of reporting. Once more the mass media is stoking fires based on the usual one-sided agenda. Therefore, Sunni Islamists in Bangladesh who are killing secularists, writers, and persecuting religious minorities, will gain from one-sided distortions. The same equally applies to the Sunni Islamist Takfiri agenda including ISIS (Islamic State – IS), al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and a plethora of other sectarian and terrorist groups – and to certain nations including Saudi Arabia that bans all non-Muslim holy places throughout the entire nation.
Myanmar needs honest brokers to help this nation overcome decades of complex issues. Sabre rattling by the media and United Nations will only lead to further bloodshed because sooner or later international jihadists will enter the fray.
Michiyo Tanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
LABELING UNFC AND NA-B TERRORIST: Ethnic offensive blame game might lead to further conflict polarization
*** The figures above are limited to reports from FBR teams and do not represent the totality of military battles, supply, or human rights abuses perpetrated by the Burma Army.
I was inquiring a close friend from within the Karen resistance movement on the postponement of the KNU Congress until next year and what he thought about the leadership. He came back to me with an answer full of frustration and disappointment, where he spelled them out clearly and precisely.
The current KNU leadership follows the line of appeasement, capitulation, peace and engagement in development. They bought vote and cheated at the previous KNU Congress. Please see the incisive and blunt comment below.
The KNU is doing all of this with their eyes wide open. I blame them and only them for where they are now and where they are headed. It is not that the Tatmadaw, international governments, INGOs, or the devil made them do it: they did it and or doing it themselves.
The international Karen community complains about it, but keeps the funding flowing. The KNU/KNLA hardliners complain, but don't offer an attractive competing vision or objectives, have an internal revolution, or form their own political and military organization. The KNU/KNLA foreign supporters/advisers like us complain, but keep supporting them with training and advice. No wonder nothing changes. Simple math: 8-3=5 and.............Talk-Action=0.
The KIO/KIA learned their lesson and changed leadership and strategy. The Northern Alliance - Burma, including the Wa, are the ones sticking their necks and lives out now for their principles and now have learn to "go to them to get them away from us". Even the Bengali are fighting back - soon ISIS and other Islamic fundamentalist will join them. All of them said, ENOUGH is ENOUGH!".
When is Enough Enough for the Karen? Maybe the Karen need to suffer more like a drunk who looses everything - wife, house, job and still drinks. Then maybe they then will rise up and say "ENOUGH is ENOUGH!!!" They shouldn't have to wait long for more suffering..they are on the Tatmadaw's list once they settle the North with their "Keep the South quiet while fighting in the North" Strategy. Same as the 1994 with their "Keep the North quiet while fighting in the South" Strategy.
They will be coming after the Karens sooner than later as they did the Kachins and most recently the Shan State Army-North. But with the continuous weaken military capabilities and lack of political will, the Karens will be easier pickings this time..when the Tatmadaw is ready. Sure no surrender, General Custer did not surrender and we see what happen to him and his soldiers. The military gains over the years by the KNLA/KNDO are being lost,explicitly and implicitly, by the KNU central and district leadership, and those KNLA/KNDO soldiers, who have been killed and maimed for these gains, are being dishonored.
Civilians in Kyaukme District’s Mantong Township continue to flee their homes due to the ongoing conflict between Burmese government forces and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), according to an MP from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD).
|Photo SHAN- one of the displaced camps in Namtu Township|
“Fighting has erupted in the town of Mong Maw,” she said. “Gunfire was aimed toward the market early in the morning, causing villagers to run. They subsequently fled their homes.
“As of yesterday [November 30], some 170 people had arrived in Namtu. Most of them are children, women and elderly people. The menfolk have mostly stayed behind to look after their property.
“The number of displaced people [in Kyaukme] has now increased to nearly 800 since fighting between the Burmese army and the TNLA broke out on November 23,” she added.
Today, the TNLA’s News and Information Department posted on its website a report, saying its troops had clashed with Burmese government forces between the villages of Kongmong and Kongngaung in Mantong Township.
As of December 1, fighting was reported to be continuing.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
Around sixty residents of Mong Koe sub-township in northern Shan State’s Muse Township were last week captured and detrained by Burmese government forces, according to the Kachin Peace Network (KPN).
Some 70 people were arrested when they were traveling from Mong Koe to a wedding ceremony in Paw Joone Par village on November 20, when they were ordered to stop by Burmese troops.
Twelve persons, identified as Chinese individuals, were subsequently released the following day after intervention from Chinese authorities. On November 25, another two ethnic Burmese wedding guests were released; the rest remain in detention.
Speaking to Shan Herald, Gum Sha Aung, a spokesperson for the KPN, said, “The Tatmadaw [Burmese government troops] arrested them while they were en route to a wedding ceremony. We therefore demand they all be released immediately.”
He said that many other villagers from Mong Koe have already fled across the China border to avoid armed clashes in the area between the Tatmadaw and an ethnic alliance comprising the Arakan Army (AA), the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).
“We call for an immediate end to the conflict,” said KPN. “We must all work together to bring peace to the country for the betterment of the people.”
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)