Sunday, April 30, 2017

Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance

Sami Awad and Yoav Litvin are two men whose lives have been deeply impacted by the events of 1948 and 1967 when Palestinians were collectively driven from their homes and villages in order to make room for Jewish settlement. The Israeli Occupation of Palestine is ongoing; Israeli policies that resulted from the events of 1948 and 1967 continue to create daily suffering in the lives of Palestinians.
They are interviewed by Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb. To read more, click here.

Hate speech by Ron Jacobs

"Right wing bigots full of hate convince witless College Republicans to pay fascist speakers to speak at the college of their choice.  Of course, the right wing bigots know that any speaking engagement featuring their hate-filled tirades will provoke a backlash against that engagement.  Faculty and students will call for the cancellation of the speech and, when the speech is cancelled, the wannabe fascist will whine about the loss of their right to speak.
This moment is when the liberals weigh in.  The sanctity of the right to free speech will be pulled from the trashbin where it was thrown decades ago by the Justice Department; liberals and right-wingers alike will wave their limp and meaningless flag of freedom in the face of those who oppose Hitler’s acolytes speaking on their campus. The liberals base their opposition to the protesters on a pretense that civil discourse is possible with people who champion the denial of human rights to most of humanity (if not their actual existence.)
It’s not like the fascist wannabes don’t have plenty of places to spread their swill.  Their bank accounts indicate that they have an audience.  Nor are they particularly interested in defending any right to free speech, real or imagined.  They–like their undergraduate hosts–just want to stir up trouble and watch the liberals beat up on those to their political left.  In instances where college administrators don’t back down and rescind those invitations to speak, the right-wingers hope for a protest.  They hope that the protest will get out of hand when it is attacked by well-armed cops who have never given a shit about anyone’s rights, if they even think about such things," writes Ron Jacobs.

As an ex-student of University of California, I can relate to Ron's statement very well when I was a grad student more than three decades ago. Ron continues, "Freedom of speech is a given for those in power and those who protect the powerful.  It is also seems to be a given for most of those whose views represent the most reactionary elements of the powerful.  This becomes clear when one considers the role police play in protecting nazis, klansmen, and other fascists when these individuals hold rallies and marches."
Ron's is an interesting piece, which can be read by clicking here.

Israel plans building 25,000 homes in the disputed territory

On April 28, the Israeli Housing Ministry announced plans to build 25,000 homes across metro Jerusalem, and within this announcement were 15,000 new settlement homes within occupied East Jerusalem areas, a massive expansion of settlement in the area.
Israeli officials don’t present expansions in the East Jerusalem settlements as “settlement” expansion, however, as they insist the area, occupied since 1967, is part of the “eternal” capital of Israel, and will never be given back to the Palestinians at any rate.
The latest move sparked a lot of international criticism, with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declaring the move an attempt at “deliberate sabotage” of the peace process, and noting that all settlement construction in the occupied territories is illegal under international law.
The US had been pressuring Israel to “hold back” on settlement expansions, but no formal deal was ever reached. The US had proposed a deal where Israel would halt expansion of remote outposts, with more construction in East Jerusalem, but it seems Israel is going to just expand at an ever-growing rate without agreeing to any of the limits.
The timing of the announcement, amid the latest calls for peace by President Trump, risks Israel irking the US government, as once again it appears to be a deliberate attempt to both forestall new talks, and thumb their nose at the process in general.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Billionaires are growing

Recently, the Forbes has published the list of world’s billionaires. In it for the fourth year in a row, Bill Gates was named the richest man in the world. The number of billionaires increased 13% to 2,043 from 1,810 in 2016; this is the biggest change in over 30 years of tracking billionaires globally.

This is the first time after 12 years that Carlos Slim was not within the top five. The U.S. continues to have the most billionaires in the world, with a record of 565. China has 319 (this does not include Hong Kong with 67 and Macau with 1), Germany has 114 and India has the fourth most with 101; India has reached over 100 billionaires for its first time.

Here below is the list of 10 wealthiest people in our planet:

No.NameNet worth (USD)AgeNationalitySource(s) of wealth
1 SteadyBill Gates$86.0 billion Increase61 United StatesMicrosoft
2 IncreaseWarren Buffett$75.6 billion Increase86 United StatesBerkshire Hathaway
3 IncreaseJeff Bezos$72.8 billion Increase53 United StatesAmazon.com
4 DecreaseAmancio Ortega$71.3 billion Increase80 SpainInditex, Zara
5 IncreaseMark Zuckerberg$56.0 billion Increase32 United StatesFacebook
6 DecreaseCarlos Slim$54.5 billion Increase77 MexicoAmérica Móvil, Grupo Carso
7 SteadyLarry Ellison$52.2 billion Increase72 United StatesOracle Corporation
8 IncreaseCharles Koch$48.3 billion Increase81 United StatesKoch Industries
8 IncreaseDavid Koch$48.3 billion Increase76 United StatesKoch Industries
10 DecreaseMichael Bloomberg$47.5 billion Increase75 United StatesBloomberg L.P.

Legend

IconDescription
SteadyHas not changed from the previous ranking.
IncreaseHas increased from the previous ranking.
DecreaseHas decreased from the previous ranking.


What is also amazing is that the number of billionaires grew from 470 to 2043 in just 17 years between 2000 and 2017, while their cumulative wealth grew by more than 8 times from $898 billion to $7.67 trillion! (See the table below.)

Number and combined net worth of billionaires by year.
YearNumber of billionairesGroup's combined net worth
20172,043$7.67 trillion
20161,810$6.5 trillion
20151,826$7.1 trillion
20141,645$6.4 trillion
20131,426$5.4 trillion
20121,226$4.6 trillion
20111,210$4.5 trillion
20101,011$3.6 trillion
2009793$2.4 trillion
20081,125$4.4 trillion
2007946$3.5 trillion
2006793$2.6 trillion
2005691$2.2 trillion
2004587$1.9 trillion
2003476$1.4 trillion
2002497$1.5 trillion
2001538$1.8 trillion
2000470$0.9 trillion$898 billion
Source: Forbes.


No wonder while the poor is becoming poorer in our world the richest few are becoming richer!

It is not a healthy sign for our world. Nor is this gap between the ultra-rich and the ultra-poor sustainable. It is bound to implode large one day.  (To view my article on a similar issue - A second look at Pareto Principle, click here or here or here or here.)

Earth Day march

Nana Firman is the Muslim outreach director for GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition, and is a climate reality leader and mentor. She is also the co-founder of the Global Muslim Climate Network. Her article appeared in the CNN.

(CNN) From the cropless farmer to the beleaguered first responder to the person forced to evacuate their flooded home, we all have our reasons for caring about climate change. As an Indonesian-born Muslim living in California, it is my faith that compels me to protect our earth.
For many people like me who cherish tolerance and clean air, the first 100 days of the Trump presidency have not been easy. As a Muslim immigrant to America, it has been painfully frustrating to witness the Trump administration reinforce xenophobia against both immigrants and Muslims.
As someone whose faith is bound up with combating climate change, it hurt to see Trump impose an executive order that effectively denies the impacts of climate change I have seen with my own eyes.
Frustration must never lead to resignation, however: that is why, on Saturday, I and many other Muslims will be marching in Washington, D.C. in solidarity with thousands of others for our climate and the protection of the vulnerable.
Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) leaves Muslims like me in no doubt as to the duty we humans share: "God has made the Earth green and beautiful, and He has appointed you as stewards over it," he said. There is no greater threat to our "green and beautiful" Earth than the more frequent and intense droughts, floods and storms brought by climate change.
Many Muslims live in parts of the world that are particularly vulnerable to climate change, such as Bangladesh and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Pakistan is another country that is extremely short of freshwater resources. With a continuously increasing of climate crisis, the water availability has decreased severely, which then placed the country as water scarce nation and in turn it will have an adverse influence on poverty.
Maldives is another Muslim-majority country that could become the first in history to be completely erased by the sea level rise at the turn of the century.
And with last year's COP 22 taking place in Morocco, the responsibility has shifted to the governments of Muslim majority countries and their religious leaders to step up and play their role in the growing grassroots movement accross Muslim communities around the globe, to reverse the effects of climate change.
That means phasing out greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, shifting away from fossil fuels to clean sources of energy, including urging the Muslim petropowers and oil-producing nations to take the lead in the transition toward renewable energy based development. (Rich and oil states should phase out their emissions by the middle of the century and provide generous support to help the poor nations to combat climate change).
The consequences of climate change are already having significant and costly affects on our communities, our health and our ecosystem. Globally, 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the three hottest years on record. From January to March 2017, the US experienced five billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, a national record that killed 37 people. Climate change likely worsened the impact of Colorado's deadly 2013 floods and has exacerbated droughts in California. Of course, it is always the poor and vulnerable who are impacted most.
These facts and figures are no abstractions for me. In February 2007 I was in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, as the city was paralyzed by severe flooding -- the worst in its history -- that inundated about 70 percent of the city, killed a number of people, cut off the highway connecting to the country's major airport and sent about 450,000 fleeing their homes.
In January 2014, a couple years after I moved to the US, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a "drought state of emergency" due to ongoing water shortfalls following the driest calendar year in state history. He asked Californians to cut their water usage by at least a fifth. As a California resident, I witnessed first hand firefighters battling a wildfire in San Diego County during the severe Santa Ana Wind and heat wave in 2016.
I am not alone. Muslims -- and indeed the majority of Americans outside the White House -- are united on the urgency of the issue of climate change. In August 2015, I witnessed over 80 global Muslim leaders from over 20 countries release the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change in Istanbul, urging world governments to phase out fossil fuels and make a transition to renewable energy to tackle climate change.
In December of that year, by signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, almost 200 governments set a path to do just that. The Global Muslim Climate Network, of which I am chair, is also doing its part to encourage more Muslims to focus on solutions and take concrete actions, such as running their local mosques on solar energy.
By seeking to undermine the Paris Agreement, which the Trump administration could do if it decides to formally withdraw or which arguably it is already doing by seeking to eradicate climate regulations and funding for climate science research -- Donald Trump and his administration are reneging on a promise to have the interests of the vulnerable and forgotten at heart.
Together with his divisive rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants, Trump represents a potentially disastrous departure from the inclusive and multicultural American society that I love.
Saturday's People's Climate March reminds me of a verse in the Holy Quran that says, "We have created you into different nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another." This march -- images of which will be shared around the world -- is a demonstration of how people are coming together to tackle one of the fiercest humanitarian and moral challenges humanity has ever faced.
Muslims, including Muslim faith leaders and Imams, will be marching shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people of all faiths and those who ascribe to none.
I'll be marching to show President Trump that I will not allow him to claim to represent the vulnerable while slashing the legislation that is designed specifically to protect them. I will not allow him to claim to represent the forgotten while he stokes further divisions within American society. We will already have achieved a lot in the fight against climate change -- a fight whose ultimate aims are peace and joy -- if we can overcome that which attempts to divide us, embrace each other and work together.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Buddhist protesters force closure of Muslim schools in Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks and their supporters have forced the closing of two Muslim schools in Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city, in a reminder that religious strife remains a threat to the country's stability.
About a dozen monks and scores of supporters gathered Friday afternoon near the two Muslim madrassas while police stood by as protesters demanded that local officials close the buildings. The raucous three-hour gathering ended when officials agreed to allow them to chain the entrances of the two buildings, which the protesters claim were built illegally.
Tensions between Myanmar's overwhelmingly Buddhist population and the Muslim minority spread after violent conflict broke out between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya in 2012 in western Rakhine state, where the Rohingya are accused of entering the country illegally from Bangladesh.
It appeared that the madrassas were chained shut largely to appease the protesters and defuse tension, but it was unclear what their long-term fate would be.
"What happened today was very, very sad to me," said Tin Shwe, a Muslim community leader. "I feel like they were bullying to our religious. This school has been built for like many years ago and all of our generations took care of it."
A militant organization of Buddhist monks known as Ma Ba Tha has spearheaded protests against Muslims. Its leaders have been accused of stirring up mob violence leading to the deaths of Muslims and destruction of their property around the country. Their movement surfaced latent prejudice against Muslims, and makes the nationalists a political force that cannot be ignored.
Most of the anti-Muslim activity has taken place outside of Yangon, the country's most cosmoplitan city. In what seemed to be a coordinated campaign, anti-Muslim activists last year pressured local officials to have Muslim institutional buildings declared illegal and torn down. In some cases the activists occupied and dismantled the structures themselves.
Friday's action against the madrassas was unusual because it occurred in Yangon, one of the rare times such forced closures have happened there.
The Ma Ba Tha movement had seemed to be in decline for the past few years, but the situation that fuelled its growth — the ethnic conflict in Rakhine state — remains unresolved.
More than 100,000 Muslim Rohingya live in squalid displacement camps where they were resettled after the 2012 violence. The government still refuses to grant citizenship to most of the estimated 1 million Rohingyas, even though in many cases, they have lived in Myanmar for generations.
Violence heated up late last year when a small armed Rohingya insurgency was launched, leading to massive retaliation by Myanmar's army, which was accused of carrying out severe human rights violations.

ARNO condemns Myanmar government decision

Rehabilitate Displaced Rohingyas in their original places and properties in Arakan
 
Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) strongly condemns the Myanmar government plan to resettle Rohingya Muslims displaced by recent atrocity crimes in “camp-like” villages.

During recent military crackdown in Maungdaw district, about 1,000 Rohingyas were killed, hundreds of women raped, at least 1,500 houses burned across several villages, thousands more hid in forests and fields while about 75,000 Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh to escape genocide. In addition, about 140,000 Rohingya have been forced to live in semi-concentration camps in Sittwe since 2012 state sponsored genocidal massacre.

Some of the displaced Rohingyas, who have returned from Bangladesh, are now facing acute problem in their temporary shelters as the Myanmar authorities have disallowed them rebuilding their homes permanently under the pretext of ‘security restriction’. The authorities should regard that these people are not settlers but natives who possess their plots of land or dilapidated houses for generations. This is absolutely inhumanness on the part of the Myanmar government not to allow them to return to their original places and properties in Arakan.

There is no change of attitude of the NLD government and powerful military towards Muslims and the so-called “model villages” is a dangerous plan to dispossess the already denationalized Rohingya people of their homes and lands with a view to destroying them ultimately.

We, therefore, demand that the Myanmar government immediately withdraws this sinister plan, and rehabilitates and reintegrates all Rohingya refugees and IDPs in their original villages/places and properties with full security of life, honour and dignity and property without delay. To these facts we earnestly invite the attention of the UN, OIC, EU, ASEAN and international community to put necessary pressure on the Myanmar government.  

Pakistani journalist to return father’s award

Prominent Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir has announced that he will return the award conferred on his late father by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2013, saying she failed to honour her promise to improve bilateral ties. Hamid received the award in 2013 conferred on his father Waris Mir for opposing military operation by Pakistan Army in 1971 which led to separation of then East Pakistan to emerge as independent state of Bangladesh.
Hamid, who host a popular talk show Capital Talk on Geo TV, on Thursday said that he will return the award given to his father in protest of Hasina’s failure to improve ties with Pakistan.
“Instead of improving relations, as promised to us, she has deteriorated them further. With these awards she has deceived us,” he said.
“I am left with no choice but to say that I think, along with kind regards, we should all return these symbols of deceit (the awards) back to (PM) Hasina. I, for one, will definitely be doing so,” he said.
Mir’s announcement coincided with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) calling off a tour of Bangladesh scheduled for July and August.
Dhaka-Islamabad ties began to be strained since 2013 after Pakistan passed a national assembly resolution protesting execution of Jamaat-e-Islami’s former Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Mollah over the war crimes charges.
Last year, Bangladesh summoned the Pakistani envoy in Dhaka and handed him a protest note after the two countries ‘detained’ each other’s diplomatic staff for hours over the 1971 war crimes trial.

BJP Lawmaker Threatens To Skin Police Officer


As it has always happened in the past too much power brings too much arrogance, which ultimately leads to corruption. The BJP of India seems unbeatable. It is winning in most of the Indian states and its leaders are talking like fascists, not that they were any less fascist before. After all, their party philosophy is Hindutva in which Indians of other faiths don't count and are targets of persecution.
Here is a link to the latest episode in Indian state of UP.

Israel's 'Checkpoint Q': a daily hurdle for Palestinians

In much the same way Checkpoint Charlie was an infamous symbol of division between East and West Berlin in the Cold War, Qalandiya Checkpoint has become notorious for Palestinians who need to cross between the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, whether for work, to get to school, visit a hospital, or see relatives.
Around 26,000 Palestinians pass through Qalandiya daily, on foot, by car or by bus, Israeli authorities say. While checks are often quick, in other cases there is lengthy questioning or delays as permits and backgrounds are verified. Queues form at the checkpoint from before dawn.
To read the article by Miriam Berger click here.

The Rise of the Generals by Patrick Buchanan

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World. In his latest article, he writes, "Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals?
So it would seem. Candidate Trump held out his hand to Vladimir Putin."
Here is the link to his article.

German Soldier Arrested Over Plan to Carry Out Attack

German police have announced the arrest of a 28-year-old lieutenant in the German military, along with a 24-year-old co-conspirator, who planned to carry out an attack while disguised as refugees, assuming that it would be blamed on the refugees.
The exact details of what sort of attack was planned aren’t totally clear, but the men were detained with explosives, and were both described as being hostile to foreigners and interested in bolstering public resentment against the refugees who have sought asylum within Germany.
The lieutenant was not only planning to disguise himself as a refugee but had also falsely registered himself as a refugee to bolster the story that the attacker was a refugee. The same soldier had been detained in Austria earlier this year for having an illegal gun.
Officials did not identify either of the men, but said they were still trying to figure out how the soldier managed to register as a Syrian refugee, since he spoke no Arabic and was not from an ethnic background that would make him even conceivably from Syria.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Conspiracy behind Babri Mosque Demolition

The Conspiracy behind Babri Demolition
 
Ram Puniyani
 
After the long wait, the Supreme Court Chief Justice J.S. Khehar opined that long pending dispute of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid should be settled out of court. (March 2017) He even offered to mediate himself in the matter. Uniformly most of the spokesperson from RSS Combine welcomed the move, while large number of Muslims and other elements have been surprised as the Court was approached for justice and not or compromise formula.
This is in the backdrop of the judgment of Lukhnow branch of Allahabad Court (2010). As per this, the three judge bench had said that the land should be divided into three parts. As such the judgment was an exercise of sorts trying to do a balancing act between all the parties involved, Ram Lalla Virajman, Nirmohi Akhada and Sunni wakf board. The title of the land has been divided into three; each sharing one part. Also court had declared since Hindus believe that the ‘birth place’ of Lord Ram to be below the place where the central dome of the mosque stood, that place should be allotted to Hindus. In response RSS chief in a jubilant mood had proclaimed that now the path for a grand Ram temple has been opened at the site and all the parties should cooperate in this “national” work.
For larger sections this judgment came as a matter of dismay. The Babri Mosque has been there from last nearly five hundred years and it was in possession of Sunni Waqf Board. The dispute was created in nineteen century. In 1885 even the court denied Hindus to build shed on the platform outside the mosque. It is after the forcible installation of Ram Lalla idols (1949) that the matters went in an adverse way. Through a conspiracy; the idols were installed and despite the insistence of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, the UP administration did not comply.  The gates of the masjid were sealed. It was in 1986 that Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, got the doors of the Masjid opened under the intense pressure of Hindu Right wing forces.
Lal Krishna Advani took up the issue from VHP, which was agitating for Ram Temple so far. With Advani, the President of BJP, taking up the issue its political impact started deepening and widening at the same time. It was made the major polarizing issue around which consolidation of Hindu vote bank began. The mobilization for Rath yatra planned for the temple movement became much more in the aftermath of Mandal Commission implementation. Those who opposed reservation for OBCs came forward in large numbers in the mobilization for Ram Temple.
 
While BJP did not show direct opposition to Mandal commission, it converted the opposition in to the Ram Temple issue. Mandal versus Kamandal (Holy water pot, Religiosity), is how some framed it.
This issue came up to torment the delicate thread of peace prevailing in the society. The culmination this campaign was in the form of demolition of the Babri Masjid. In the demolition RSS combine mobilized large section of people and Narsimha Rao colluded. While local administration collapsed, Kalyan Singh of BJP, who was then Chief Minister of UP, facilitated the assembly of kar sevaks, which was to demolish the mosque. He did this despite his promise to Supreme Court that he will protect the mosque. Narsimha Rao who locked himself in his Puja room as the mosque was being demolished later promised that it will be built precisely at the same spot.
The matters took the turn for the worse as BJP led team of ‘archeologists-Kar Sevaks’ tried to prove that there are remnants of Ram Temple below the mosque. Archeologically this is not tenable. That there was no convincing proof of Ram Temple underneath becomes clear from the fact the High Court Bench had to resort to ‘faith of Hindus’ to allot 2/3 of the land to Hindu groups. The demolition of Mosque might have been the biggest crime in India and that was well planned. Despite that the leaders of demolition squad have not been punished so far.
Liberhan Commission did point out the nature of underlying conspiracy but unfortunately the Commission took long to submit its report. To add salt to the injury Advani and company became stronger after this crime against the nation. The demolition also unleashed massive violence against Muslims, particularly in Mumbai, Bhopal and Surat along with other places. The guilty of this violence have also been let off totally or with minor reprimand.
In the matter of this dispute the ownership of the title has been the real issue. The High Court based itself more on ‘Faith’ than the records of ownership of the land. The Supreme Court as the highest legal body needs to see the total issue from legal angle and needs to set right the wrongs done so far. Only concrete legal aspects should determine the outcome of the case. Instead to call for compromise out of Court in present circumstances is overlooking the aspect of justice. In out of Court settlement already the Hindu groups have said that Muslims should leave the place for Ram Temple and another suitable land will be given to them for mosque. The two sides are not evenly balanced as far as their strength on negotiating table is concerned.
There are threats from the likes of Subramanian Swami, BJP MP, and others that if Muslims don’t give up their claim, the bill will be brought through Parliament once BJP has bigger strength. The threats of this type are immoral. Already there are claims on so many Mosques to convert them into temples! In the out of Court settlement, the Hindu nationalists are more assertive and dominant while the representatives of Muslims are being pushed into a corner that does not augur well for the health of our democracy. Effort to revive issue of other mosques is unwarranted and intimidating to minorities. That needs to be stopped.

The Real Lessons of the French Election

Fifteen years ago, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the far-right Front National, gained 17 percent of the vote in the first round of the French election and unexpectedly advanced to a runoff against Jacques Chirac. The world was aghast. Millions of people came out to the streets to protest Le Pen. All major candidates urged their supporters to vote against him. In the end, Chirac, a deeply unpopular president, won re-election with a margin of more than 60 percent.
This time around, according to Yascha Mounk, a lecturer on government at Harvard, the margin would be  much smaller and there won't be any protest march. The political  mood has changed drastically. The  illiberal forces are emerging as major contenders in our time.
Even after Sunday’s results, liberal democracy remains under threat throughout Western Europe and North America. This is not the time for premature triumphalism.
To read Mounk's article, click here.

Modi to visit Israel


Long gone are the days when India cared about human rights. At least 15 MoUs were signed between Indian and Israeli educational institutions in November last during Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s eight-day trip to India.
Now the PM Narendra Modi will visit Israel. Modi’s visit which will be the first by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel, coincides with 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. “The area of education which does not include much of high school education but colleges and universities is on top of our joint agenda,” Carmon added.
 To read more on the subject, click here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

BJP winning in Delhi

The BJP (prime minister Narendra Modi's party) could be headed for a landslide victory in the Delhi municipal polls with two exit polls predicting the party finishing way ahead of the AAP and the Congress with over 200 of the 270 wards where polling was held today.

Going by the projected figures, the AAP could well be staring at a rout on its home turf, barely two years into its rise to power bagging a staggering 67 of the 70 Assembly seats, while the Congress' attempt to regain ground may come a cropper.

According to the India Today-Axis exit poll, the BJP may bag anything between 202 and 220 seats, while the AAP and the Congress will score something around 23-35 and 19-31 respectively.

The CVoter-ABP exit poll claimed the BJP was likely to sweep Delhi with 218 seats, limiting the AAP and the Congress to 24 and 22 seats respectively.

Polling was held in 270 wards of the three municipal corporations. The election to two wards has been postponed due to the death of candidates.

The election results from France to India show the rise of highly polarizing, divisive and fascist forces. It is a sad development in our world. Can the tide of fascism be stopped?

French poll results

Marine Le Pen is expected to make it through to the second round run-off of the French presidential election, first results suggest.
With 40 million votes counted from France's 47 million strong electorate, the figures put the leader of the far-right Front National (FN) on 22.33 per cent, where she is expected to face centrist Emmanuel Macron  who is on 23.54 per cent.
The figures do not include results from France's major cities, where Ms Le Pen's level of support tends to be low relative to smaller towns and villages where counts were complete.
Early projections from opinion pollsters on the results had shown Mr Macron ahead of Le Pen - with the independent candidate expected to scoop between 23 and 24 per cent of the total vote, with Ms Le Pen getting between 21 and 23 per cent of the vote.
The vote is expected to mark the end of a political era since the two major  parties - the Socialist party and the centre-right Les Republicains - which have traditionally been the pillars of France's political arena, are expected to be eliminated in the first round of the election.
Conservative Francois Fillon is on 19.63 per cent with 20 million votes counted and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is on 18.09 per cent. projections suggest Mr Melenchon and Mr Fillon will both claim around 19.5 per cent of the votes, with Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon set to pick-up an historically-low 6.2 per cent.
According to the latest polling about the second round, Mr Macron is forecast to beat Ms Le Pen by 62 per cent to 38 per cent, with many political figures quick to join the 'anyone but Le Pen camp'.  Conceding defeat, Mr Fillon asked his supporters to back Mr Macron in the second round of voting on 7 May, urging them to keep Ms Le Pen away from the presidency.
"Despite all my efforts, my determination, I have not succeeded in convincing my fellow countrymen and women. The obstacles in my path were too numerous and too cruel. This defeat is mine, I accept the responsibility, it is mine and mine alone to bear," Mr Fillon told his supporters..
"Extremism can can only bring unhappiness and division to France. There is no other choice than to vote against the far right. I will vote for Emmanuel Macron. I consider it my duty to tell you this frankly. It is up to you to reflect on what is best for your country, and for your children," he added.
As for Mr Melenchon, he said he would not endorse any candidate for the second round.
Mr Macron said the vote showed that the election meant "turning a page in French political history" and that he wanted to gather "the largest possible support" before the 7 May runoff.
The frontrunner called for hope in Europe in stark contrast to Ms Le Pen, who campaigned to leave the European Union (EU).
He said the EU would have to be reformed and revived with a project "which protects" and offers a place to every French citizen.
To read more on this subject, click here and here.

Climate change - Vietnam is in danger of drowning

To many Americans all those talk about climate change is like making mole out of a mountain; it is unreal, just a hoax. But the reality is quite different for many people, esp. those living in low-lying delta places in South and Southeast Asia.

Vietnam is in danger. Rising sea levels pose a huge threat to this coastal country. In less than 100 years much of southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta – the heart of the nation’s rice production – could go the way of Atlantis. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment  predicts that the ocean will swallow more than a third of the region by the year 2100, taking a swath of Ho Chi Minh City with it. Halfway up the coast from the Mekong Delta, Hoi An’s prognosis is better, but it’s not immune. The city sits where the Thu Bon River meets the South China Sea. Its inhabitants are already used to hauling furniture upstairs during seasonal floods.

To read the story, click here.

Settlers attacked three grandmothers

Over Passover, settlers attacked three grandmothers. I was one of them

We, three women in our 60s and 70s, wanted to see the settlement reality for ourselves. We got a smaller but bitter taste of the violence and hatred Palestinians in the area experience as routine.

Apr. 21, 2017 | 8:58 AM
 
During Passover, I traveled to the West Bank with two other women, all of us members of Machsom Watch, an Israeli human rights group. Our goal was to visit two Palestinian villages: in one, Kafr a-Dik, settlers had recently cut down some olive trees; in the other, Urif, residents had tried to work in their olive groves, but, even though they had arranged this with the army, settlers stopped them from doing so. We wanted to see with out own eyes, rather than reading about, the places where all this had happened. Both villages are less than 10 kilometers east of the Green Line, about 30 miles from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
Accompanied by a resident of Kafr a-Dik, we got as far as the settlement of Alei Zahav, on whose outskirts another settlement, Leshem, is being built. Tractors were working and some kind of a tour was going on, possibly for prospective buyers of what indeed appears to be what will be a lovely neighborhood. (A promo for Leshem on the settlers’ Arutz 7 website calls it “one of Israel’s fastest growing communities…situated on the charming Samarian hilltops…a haven of fresh air and serenity…affordable, top quality homes.”)
But we could not go any farther to reach the village farmlands, because a closure had been imposed on the territories for the duration of Passover, the Feast of Freedom, and our Palestinian guide would not be allowed in.
So we proceded to Urif, a few kilometers northeast. There we met Adel, a young field worker for B’tselem, a human rights organization that works in partnership with Machsom Watch for these tours, and drove to the outskirts of the village, whose lands border the infamously hardline settlement of Yitzhar.
Besides Adel, we were three women in our 60s and 70s. Together we walked up a gentle slope covered with low shrubs and wildflowers to the edge of a ridge overlooking an olive grove below. On the opposite ridge stood the homes of Yitzhar, whose radical yeshiva is a beneficiary of the Kushner family’s charitable donations. We stood there for about 10 minutes, while Adel told us what had happened in the grove about a week before, when Palestinian farmers arrived there by prior arrangement with the IDF. Settlers had come down and threatened them, a clash ensued, the army fired tear gas and the farmers were forced to leave.
We were ready to go back to the car when we saw several figures emerge from the bushes and rocks on the hill opposite – first one, then two, then three people, apparently young men or older teens.
As we watched, some put on masks and started coming down the hill toward us. Knowing Yitzhar’s reputation as one of the most extreme West Bank settlements, with a long history of violent harassment of their Palestinian neighbors, as well as numerous incidents of assaults on the Israeli army and police, I was definitely not interested in any encounter with them. I had come to learn and observe, not to engage in deliberate heroics. Two of us started walking quickly toward the car, while the third, more defiant, stood her ground and watched as they made their way down the hill.
As they came closer, I could see that the leader, who seemed older than the others, had a club or heavy stick in his hand. Then, suddenly, they started throwing stones at us. All three of us women now ran to the car. But Adel picked up a stone, threw it back at them, and made a phone call.
By the time we reached the car, several men he had apparently summoned by phone from the Palestinian village – including an older man with a white beard, two younger men and a couple of kids – were arriving at the hilltop.  This ended the incident; the settlers, seeing reinforcements, and with no soldiers around to intervene, apparently decided it would be best to withdraw. They retreated up the hill, and we quickly got in the car and drove home.
This had been a routine visit by Machsom Watch, its aim being to witness and bear witness to Israel’s settlement project. We came away with a small but bitter taste of what the Palestinians in the area have to face on a regular basis – in a place where the mere presence of one Palestinian and three women easily identifiable as “leftists” was enough for the neighboring settlers to arm themselves with sticks, stones and hatred.
We returned to Israel through the Shomron Crossing (for Israeli vehicles only), where the suspicious female security guard opened the car door and scrutinized our Israeli ID cards carefully, asking: "Where do you live? Where have you been?" I am still considering my answer.

Carol Cook is a journalist and editor at Haaretz.

Israeli Settlers Built a New Illegal Outpost in West Bank

In a move that both violates Israeli law and likely amounts to Israel abrogating its commitment to limit the rate of settlement expansion, a group of settlers has built a new outpost in the occupied West Bank over the past two weeks, according to anti-settlement NGO Peace Now.
The new outpost was built near the existing Geva Binyamin settlement, on state-owned land, but outside of the settlement’s security fence. No permits were issued to authorize the construction, though likewise Israeli forces do not appear to have tried to prevent the construction.
Though most settlement expansion is based on ideology, either religious or nationalist, or both, Peace Now believes that in this case, the outpost is an economics issue, with the people who constructed it apparently drawn to the idea of getting free land to build housing on.
Though legally speaking such outposts are supposed to be demolished, the current far-right government is so deeply beholden to the settler movement that it is next to impossible for courts to compel the government to do anything about them, and retroactive legalization tends to follow int he long run.

An Evolution of Rohingya Persecution in Myanmar

The article below appeared in MEI

 An Evolution of Rohingya Persecution in Myanmar: From Strategic Embrace to Genocide

By Alice Cowley and Maung Zarni | Apr 20, 2017

"Send us as many birth control pills as you can. They (Myanmar troops) are gang-raping our women. They are arresting and killing all our men. There is nothing else you can do. Just pray to Allah and to wish us speedy deaths! This is just simply unbearable,” said a Rohingya woman talking from her mobile phone from Myanmar’s predominantly Rohingya region of Northern Rakhine State bordering Bangladesh.[1] [See Figure below right.] She was talking to her brother, an unregistered refugee living and working in a poor and rough neighborhood called Salayang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Among the handful of Burmese eager for updates, listening to the phone conversation on speaker phone was U Maung Maung, a respected Muslim leader and activist from Mandalay, also making a living in Malaysia. Maung immediately posted this on his Facebook timeline on November 20, 2016,[2] hoping to alert people to the shocking events unfolding. Western experts on the region note there is an “information blackhole,”[3] owing to the Myanmar government’s lockdown of Northern Rakhine State for its ‘security clearance operations.’ As such, Myanmar authorities have barred access to humanitarian aid groups and local and international media. This latest lockdown was a result of the killing of nine Myanmar police officers which was believed to have been instigated by Rohingya hoping to form a resistance group.

However, Maung’s attempt to alert the world via Facebook came to naught. The post was in Burmese language. But more importantly, his alert — like many others conveyed by ‘locals’ — had not been vetted by any Western organizations or international human rights ‘experts,’ who have become the standard bearers of facts or “truth-conveyors” relating to other peoples’ experiences of atrocities. Victims and their accounts need first to be vetted by these mediating agencies — a system understood only too well by the Burmese government with its blanket denials of the allegations coming out of the information black hole it created. Aung San Suu Kyi Government’s Information Committee referred to the atrocities on many occasions, “fake rape”[4] and “exaggerations” or “fabrications.”[5]
Following hundreds of similar allegations and coordinated documentation by Rohingya groups of mass killings, mass rape, and destruction of whole villages, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR) sent a team to interview Rohingya refugees who had recently fled to Bangladesh — 70,000[6] of whom had arrived in four months. Based on over 200 interviews, OHCR issued a damning Flash Report (Feb 3) complete with harrowing tales of burning elderly Rohingya men alive and slitting children’s throats.[7] The U.N. estimates that Myanmar may have killed as many as 1,000 Rohingya men in recent violence alone.[8] This information, presented at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council,[9] did not result in the much-hoped-and-lobbied-for U.N. Commission of Inquiry with a view towards the International Criminal Court. The result was a compromise — a ‘Fact Finding Mission’[10] — which both the military[11] and the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government[12] are determined not to accept or cooperate with.
We have previously argued that far from being a new phenomenon, waves of state-directed violence and communal destruction such as these have been occurring since 1978 and are part of a process of ‘slow-burning genocide.’[13] Two other independent studies published a year later reinforce our findings.[14] Over these decades, Rohingya experiences and sufferings have been tossed across multiple discourses that deny the central role of the military such as “communal violence”[15] or since the October 9 raids, “Muslim insurgency” pregnant with potential for escalations involving “international terrorism.”[16] In recent years, these have run concurrently with human rights bodies and organizations framing the situation as “ethnic cleansing”[17] and “crimes against humanity”— U.N. Special Rapporteurs and the OHCHR included.
Despite these shifting narratives, the fundamental nature of the problem has remained constant. The military-controlled state has attempted to “cleanse”the nation of the largest Muslim minority in Myanmar, unique with legitimate claims to Northern Rakhine as their ancestral home. Firstly, this has been attempted through legal, bureaucratic, and administrative means — such as removing their rights to citizenship, destroying and revoking documents in Rohingya possession, refusing to register thousands of Rohingya infants, household checks, as well as subjecting them to a web of criss-crossing security grids by which the freedom of movement of the Rohingya population is severely restricted and monitored.[18] Secondly, it has been attempted through denial of their history/identity and propaganda campaigns that serve to de-nationalize them.[19] Where these two attempts have not been achieved, communities have also been subjected to physical destruction through methods such as burning property, evictions, and killings.
However, this has not always been the case. In 1961, the Burmese co-author’s late great uncle, Zeya Kyaw Htin Major Ant Kywe, a decorated nationalist solider, was the Deputy Commander of the administrative district of Mayu in 1961, which was effectively established as a homeland for Rohingya in Rakhine State in order to maintain law and order[20] in the region where the central government was confronted with rebellions from two different fronts: Muslim Rohingya separatists and Buddhist Rakhine nationalists clamouring for statehood. 

On Myanmar’s Independence Day (January 4, 1948), even as the Union Jack was lowered at the colonial Secretariat in Rangoon, the Burma Army was engaged in ferocious battles against armed Rakhine (Buddhist) rebels[21] who wanted to reclaim the sovereignty they had lost to the militarily dominant Burmese Buddhist group in 1784.
In the years following Myanmar independence in 1948, the central government, specifically the Ministry of Defense, strategically sought to embrace Rohingyas as a bona fide ethnic minority of the new Union of Burma,[22] with equal and full citizenship rights, along with multiple other minorities with armed revolts against the ethnically Burmese central government. It is essential to see the root of the Rohingya persecution not simply in the sectarian ethnic conflict between the two main co-habitant communities in Rakhine state of Western Burma, namely Rakhine Buddhist majority and Rohingya Muslim minorities, but in the ethnic triangle involving also the majority Burmese in ultimate control of the state (both the military under General Ne Win and the civilian political coalition headed by PM U Nu).[23]
Although the Burma Army was fighting battles on two fronts in West Myanmar, it was the Rakhine rebellions that presented a more serious threat to the central government than the simultaneous Muslim/Rohingya armed movements, some of which sought, with no success, to join with the predominantly Muslim nation of Pakistan (East Pakistan). During the Rohingya surrender ceremony of 290 Muslim rebels, held on 4 July 1961 in Northern Rakhine town of Buthidaung, the Commander of the Border Area Administration and Territorial Forces Colonel Saw Myint promised “absolutely no religious or ethnic discrimination” against Rohingyas — vis-à-vis Rakhine Buddhists —and guaranteed “equal protection under Law for all those who abide by the law and live in peace.”[24] Saw Myint’s superior and the second in command, after General Ne Win of the Burma Army Brigadier Aung Gyi, presided over the ceremony and explained the need for Rohingyas as an ethnic minority group to recognize and accept the primacy of political allegiance to the Union of Burma over their kinship, cultural, and religious ties in exchange for the full citizenship rights and ethnic equality which they were offered.[25]
In addition, as early as May 1960, the Ministry of Defense agreed to the Rohingyas’ request to carve out the predominantly Rohingya geographic pocket in Northern Rakhine State and establish a new district named after the local river Mayu. The co-founder of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, the then-young Lt-Colonel Tin Oo, was tasked with establishing the Mayu District, which was to be administered centrally from the Burmese-controlled Rakhine Military Command.[26]  Rohingyas’ request was precipitated by the moves made by Prime Minister U Nu’s re-elected civilian government in order to fulfil its election pledge of granting Rakhine Buddhists a separate statehood, within the Union of Burma.[27]
Within eight months of the establishment of the May-U District, General Ne Win and his deputies staged a coup against U Nu’s government on the pretext that Nu’s opportunistic electioneering and weak leadership were emboldening ethnic minorities’ demands for devolution of power away from the Burmese centre. While the coup leaders continued to honour the arrangements with Rohingyas, the policy orientation of the military leadership shifted towards racist, isolationist, xenophobic, and socialistically doctrinaire. The more liberal and less radical military leaders such as the Deputy Commander in Chief of Army Brigadier General Aung Gyi and Colonel Chit Myaing were sacked in 1963 and 1964.[28] The remaining military leaders under Ne Win’s commandership began to marginalize and eventually cleanse the Armed Forces of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu officers unless they agreed to convert to Buddhism. Having remade this once-multiethnic, multi-faith national institution of unrivalled power and control over society, the military leadership turned its sights to society at large.[29] Most important, the army leadership initiated, promoted, and sustained the process of radically reimagining ethnic and political histories, national identity, and the society at large along the army’s new “purist” Buddhist vision.[30]

In 1978, Ne Win launched a centrally organized, violent operation against Rohingyas of both Southern and Northern Rakhine, under the pretext of surprise immigration checks. Known as Operation King Dragon, the events of 1978 are carved into the consciousness and the inter-generational memories of Rohingya communities. It was conducted as an interagency campaign of terror involving Immigration, Religious Affairs, Police, Courts, Army, Navy, and police intelligence, as well as local administrations made up of anti-Rohingya Rakhine.[32] Myanmar’s former chief of military intelligence until 2004, Ex-General Khin Nyunt, who was operationally involved on the ground as a young major from Special Operations Bureau, Ministry of Defense, serving as the Commander of Infantry Regiment No. 20 based in Rakhine, wrote that a total of 277,938 fled, between February 12 and June 3, from Western Burma into the neighboring Bangladesh.[33] Shut off from the outside world by an isolationist military regime, the Burmese public — the Burmese co-author included — was misinformed of this operation as an act of national defense, under the slogan “the (Buddhist) race could be swallowed up by other (alien) race”[34] — an understanding that still resounds today. This was the first of the chronic waves of state-sponsored and state-condoned violence against Rohingyas which have resulted each time in hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing “unbearable life on land.”
 Following Ne Win’s coup in 1962, the nation’s vision fundamentally changed — from one that sought to establish peace through a unified multiethnic nation based on equality, to one which harnessed and mobilized the Buddhist public’s anti-colonial sentiments, and along with this their anti-Indian (subcontinent) and anti-Muslim racisms, which emerged out of the colonial-era political economy in which locals were subordinated to Indians.[31] It was a vision which sought to ‘cleanse’ the nation through systematic attempts to subjugate some ethnic minorities whilst removing others (such as Rohingyas) from the national fold.
The now internationally infamous 1982 Citizenship Act was one part of a long process of stripping the Rohingya of their citizenship and the rights of future generations of Rohingya to obtain Myanmar citizenship. It was accompanied by eviction, land confiscation, and disenfranchisement of the Rohingya. Although this controversial law does not mention Rohingyas by name, viewed within the historical context of large scale forced repatriations from Bangladesh, and based on accounts of those involved in drafting the Act, it can be concluded that the primary aim in drafting the Act was to exclude Rohingyas from citizenship.[35] The law — and its application regarding 135 fixed ethnic nationalities excluding Rohingya, on the basis of their absence in the dubious colonial censuses, who in fact existed in Myanmar prior to the first British Annexation of Western Burma in 1826 — has not simply left Rohingya vulnerable to multiple discriminatory policies aimed at non-nationals, it has also fed popular anti-colonial racisms in society that have led to pervasive social ostracism of Rohingya and violence in which Rakhine Buddhists and state security forces have worked hand in glove.  
Decades of facts relating to the instrumental role of the central Myanmar State in the abuses of Rohingya are buried alongside very real human corpses.
Despite annual U.N. human rights monitoring in Myanmar since 1992[36] and the UNHCR having a presence on the ground in northern Rakhine State since the early 1990s, violent persecution of the Rohingya has continued unabated and indeed increased. This persecution was largely perceived as a part of the authoritarian regime’s general pattern of rights violations, for the Myanmar military was notoriously repressive towards ethnically Burmese opposition movement under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership across the country, as well as other non-Bama ethnic groups in the country’s North and North East regions.
Myanmar’s rights abuses in Rohingya regions of Western Myanmar weren’t seen as something that demanded special attention. Today, while the anti-historical and institutionally amnesiac discourses such as ‘humanitarian concern,’ ‘communal conflict,’ ‘security and terrorism,’ ‘lack of development,’ and ‘livelihood creation’ float through the ether world of foreign embassies, development, and U.N. agencies, the decades of facts relating to the instrumental role of the central Myanmar State in the abuses of Rohingya are buried alongside very real human corpses — again — waiting to be verified and validated by the right kind of foreign experts and the right kind of U.N. process. People and processes that never come. As Rohingyas in Northern Rakhine wait and their diasporic relatives post desperate calls for U.N. peacekeepers and intervention on Facebook, ‘Never again!’ — the foundational myth of the United Nations — must sound bitterly hollow.
Fifty-five years ago, the Myanmar Ministry of Defense and its military leaders officially embraced Rohingya as an ethnic minority, granted them equal rights, and full citizenship while enabling them to make contributions to the country’s politics, society, and economy. Today, the military’s radical reversal of Rohingya policy created the space in society where Rohingyas are commonly seen as “leaches,” their identity and history “a hoax,” and their presence a demographic and jihadist threat to the Buddhist nation. Meanwhile, over the same period, under the same national visions, other ethnic communities along the country’s strategic, resource-rich borderlands including Kachins, Shan, Karenni, etc., were offered promises, pledges, and agreements by generations of military and civilian leaders, only to have them reneged when powerful stakeholders changed their strategic calculations. Under the military regime, those that refused to be co-opted into the military’s national vision complete with its Burmese dominance, were and still are subject to persecution, oppression, and war. They are victims of the same ideologies that cleanse the nation of Rohingyas and all those that oppose or live in contradiction to the state’s centralized control and organization of Burma’s ethnic minorities.
With NLD elected to government and with Aung San Suu Kyi as de facto leader, one would hope for at least a dilution of the military leadership’s post-1962 purist ideologies, or at best for a radical re-imagination of the Burmese national community incorporating her late father’s (Aung San) vision of post-colonial Burma as a secular, progressive, multi-culturalist, multiethnic nation. Tragically, it is not only the armed forces that have implemented internal cleansing of their institutions. NLD is now also without a single Muslim representative from the population. Every time the government calls rape ‘fake’ on the military’s behalf or refuses to cooperate with U.N. bodies' attempts to unearth and validate atrocities, Aung San’s multiethnic vision of Burma is trampled further into the ground.



[1] Amartya Sen, the foremost scholar on famines, explains why Burma’s intentional measures to deny, severely limit, or block Rohingyas’ access to livelihoods, nutritional opportunities, and essential medical services is an act of “institutionalized killing,” a slow genocide, not like Khmer Rouge’s genocide, Rwanda or the Holocaust. Conference on the Plight of the Rohingya, Harvard University, November 4, 2014, accessed April 5, 2017, http://tribunalonmyanmar.org/2014/11/15/the-slow-genocide-of-the-rohingya-by-nobel-laureate-amartya-sen/
[2] Ibid.
[3] International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), Queen Mary University of London, “Genocide of Rohingya in Myanmar may be entering a new and deadly phase, October 17, 2016, April 3, 2017,  http://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/items/hss/187983.html.
[4] Myanmar State Counsellor Information Committee, “Information Committee Refutes Rumours of Rape,” December 26, 2016, accessed April 3, 2017,  http://www.statecounsellor.gov.mm/en/node/551. See also “Aung San Suu Kyi is making war time rape easier to commit,” MSN.com, December 26, 2016, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/other/aung-san-suu-kyi-is-making-wartime-rape-easier-to-commit/ar-BBxzZR6.
[5] “Aung San Suu Kyi laughs out loud at Rohingya genocide allegations while in Singapore,” The Independent, January 5, 2017, April 3, 2017, http://www.theindependent.sg/aung-san-suu-kyi-laughs-out-loud-at-rohingya-genocide-allegations-while-in-singapore/; and Jonah Fisher, “Myanmar’s Rohingya:  Truth, lies and Aung San Suu Kyi,” BBC, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38756601 Accessed 3 April 2017.
[7] “Devastating cruelty against Rohingya children, women and men detailed in UN human rights report,” Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), February 3, 2017, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21142&L... http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21142&LangID=E#sthash.ktblvICd.dpuf Accessed 3 April 2017. See the full report at http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/MM/FlashReport3Feb2017.pdf Accessed 3 April 2017.  
[8] “Exclusive: More than 1,000 feared killed in Myanmar army crackdown on Rohingya - U.N. officials,” Reuters, February 8, 2017, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-idUSKBN15N1TJ.
[9] U.N. OHCR, “Statement by Ms. Yanghee LEE, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council,” March 2017, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21355&LangID=E#sthash.au9jPlEw.dpuf.
[10] “Rohingya issue: UN to send fact-finding mission to Myanmar,” ANI News, March 24, 2017, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.aninews.in/newsdetail-MzY/MzA1NzIz/rohingya-issue-un-to-send-fact-finding-mission-to-myanmar.html Accessed 3 April 2017.
[11] “Myanmar Military Chief Defends Crackdown Against Rohingya in Rakhine State,” Radio Free Asia, March 27, 2017, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/myanmar-military-chief-defends-crackdown-against-rohingya-in-rakhine-state-03272017154143.html.
[12] “Myanmar rejects UN call for rights probe,” Bangkok Post, March 25, 2017, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1221134/myanmar-rebuffs-un-rights-probe
[13]Maung Zarni and Alice Cowley, “The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya,” Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal 23, 3 (2014): 683-754, accessed April 3, 2017, http://digital.law.washington.edu/dspace-law/handle/1773.1/1377. (Hereafter “The Slow-Burning Genocide”). 
[14] See Penny Green, Thomas MacManus & Alicia de la Cour Venning, “Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar,” International State Crime Initiative Report, Queen Mary University of London, 2015, accessed April 3, 2017,  http://statecrime.org/state-crime-research/isci-report-countdown-to-annihilation-genocide-in-myanmar/; and “Is Genocide Occuring in Myanmar’s Rakhine State?: A Legal Analysis,” Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School, October 2015, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.fortifyrights.org/downloads/Yale_Persecution_of_the_Rohingya_October_2015.pdf.
[15] See, for instance, Jim Della-Giacoma, “A Dangerous Resurgence of Communal Violence in Myanmar,” International Crisis Group, March 28. 2013, accessed April 3, 2017, https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-east-asia/myanmar/dangerous-resurgence-communal-violence-myanmar. See also “Why is there communal violence in Myanmar?” BBC, July 3, 2014, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18395788.
[16] “Myanmar: A New Muslim Insurgency in Rakhine State,” International Crisis Group Report No. 283/Asia, December 15, 2016, accessed April 3, 2017, https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-east-asia/myanmar/283-myanmar-new-muslim-insurgency-rakhine-state; Tim Johnston and Anagha Neelakantan, “The World's Newest Muslim Insurgency Is Being Waged in Burma,” TIME, December 13, 2016, accessed April 3, 2017, http://time.com/4601203/burma-myanmar-muslim-insurgency-rohingya/.
[17] Human Rights Watch, “Burma: End Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims,” April 22, 2013, accessed April 3, 2017, https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/04/22/burma-end-ethnic-cleansing-rohingya-muslims. See also Jocelyne Sambira, “Myanmar minorities suffer 'systemic' discrimination, abuse: UN,” United Nations Radio, June 20, 2016, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2016/06/myanmar-minorities-suffer-systemic-discrimination-abuse-un/#.WOKL1_nyu5s.
[18] See “The Slow-Burning Genocide.” See also Widney Brown, “Where there is police There is persecution, Physicians for Human Rights,” Physicians for Human Rights, October 2016, accessed April 3, 2017, http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/myanmar-rakhine-state.html?referrer=https://uk.search.yahoo.com/.
[19] In addition to the state-controlled mass media and official speeches by the generals and ex-generals, Myanmar Military Intelligence Services spread deliberately false historical information through teachers’ refresher courses at the Civil Servant Training School at Hpaung Gyi, which thousands of Burmese state school teachers are required to attend, according to Daw Khin Hla, former Rohingya Middle School Teacher, from Myanmar, who spoke at the conference on Rohingya Persecution, November 4, 2014, accessed April 3, 2017,  http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic662843.files/HGEI-Burma_Semin...
[20] “Finally, peace has prevailed in Mayu Borderlands District,” Editorial, Special Issue on Mayu, Current Affairs (or Khit Yay), Ministry of Defense, the Union of Burma, 12, 6 (July 18, 1961): 5. (Burmese Language publication).
[21] Tape-recorded Interview in Virginia, U.S. (July 1994) with retired Colonel Chit Myaing, former member of General Ne Win’s Revolutionary Council (1962). As the Deputy Commander of the Burma Rifle Brigade 5, Chit Myaing led the government’s military campaign against the armed Rakhine rebellion in January 1948.
[22] The full text of the official Burmese language transcript of the speech delivered by Brigadier General Aung Gyi, Vice Chief of Staff (Army), at the Surrender Ceremony of Mujahideen Rohingya troops, Maung Daw Town, Northern Rakhine State, 4 July 1961. See “Special Issue on Mayu”, Current Affairs (or Khit Yay), Ministry of Defense, the Union of Burma, 12, 6 (July 18, 1961): 8-10 & 23-24. (Hereafter Brigadier General Aung Gyi’s speech).
[23] For the detailed records of this triangular politics amongst Rakhine-Burmese-Rohingya see the book-length Burmese language publication, Kyaw Win, Mya Han and Thein Hlaing, “Myanmar Naing Ngan Yay” (Burma’s Politics), Volume 3 (years 1958-1962), (Rangoon: Universities Press, 1991), in particular Chapter 12, pp. 167-250. (Hereafter “Burma’s Politics,” 1991).
[24] The full text of the official Burmese language transcript of the speech by Colonel Saw Myint, Chief of the Border Areas Administration and Commander of the Territorial Forces, “Special Issue on Mayu,” Current Affairs (or Khit Yay), Ministry of Defense, the Union of Burma, 12, 6 (July 18, 1961): 15.
[25] Brigadier General Aung Gyi’s Speech, 1961.
[26] Transcript of the Current Affairs magazine discussions with Prime Minister’s Private Secretary-2 U Khin Nyunt, “Special Issue on Mayu,” Current Affairs (or Khit Yay), Ministry of Defense, the Union of Burma, 12, 6 (July 18, 1961): 16-20.
[27] “Burma’s Politics” (1991), 230.
[28] Interview with retired Colonel Chit Myaing, 1994, op cit.
[29] Within Myanmar Armed Forces – and in the society at large –  it is widely known that non-Buddhist military officers no longer get promoted beyond the ranks of Major.  
[30] Wa Lone, “Snr Gen Min Aung Hlaing pledges to help safeguard Buddhism,” Myanmar Times, June 24, 2016, accessed April 3, 2017, http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/21035-snr-gen-min-aung-hlaing-pledges-to-help-safeguard-buddhism.html.
[31] Maung Zarni, “Buddhist Nationalism in Burma
Institutionalized racism against the Rohingya Muslims led Burma to genocide”, Feature, Tricycle, Spring 2013, https://tricycle.org/magazine/buddhist-nationalism-burma/ Accessed 3 April 2017.
[32] Personal Testimony delivered by U Ba Sein, a former Rohingya civil servant – now a refugee in London, UK - who lived through this King Dragon Operation in N. Rakhine, Permanent People’s Tribunal on Myanmar, Queen Mary University of London. March 6-7, 2017, accessed April 3, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9Q11ZhC8qI (Ba Sein’s testimony begins at 7:55 minutes).
[33] Ex-General Khin Nyunt, Naing Ngan Ei Ah Nauk Hpet Ta Gar Pauk Ka Pya Tha Na (or The Crisis from the Western Gate of Burma), (Rangoon: Pan Myo Ta Yar Press, 2016), particularly Chapter 3, pp. 21-43.
[34] Although race/ethnicity and faith are two different “things,” the majority Buddhist Burmese public collapse the two.  The Burmese popular saying sums it up: “to be Burmese is to be Buddhist.”
[35] The Burmese co-author and a key drafter, the late Rakhine historian Dr Aye Kyaw, were friends and fellow exiles for years in the United States.  A few years before the two bouts of violence against Rohingyas in 2012 Aye Kyaw gave a Burmese language interview to the influential Irrawaddy News Group wherein he explained in details the internal discussions among the Drafting Committee members, that focused on the best ways to de-nationalize Rohingya through the citizenship act.  Irrawaddy has since removed Aye Kyaw’s Burmese language interview.  
[36] See the mountains of Human Rights Situation Reports on Myanmar for the last 25 years beginning March 3, 1992, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, accessed April 3, 2017, http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=89