Saturday, May 13, 2017

A strategic symbiosis in Myanmar: use of the Buddhist monks for genocide

The genocide against the Rohingya and other minorities inside Myanmar has long been continuing in what Dr. Zarni and some analysts call it a 'slow' genocide. The Rohingyas are the worst sufferers in this national project, which enjoys much support from top to bottom.
For decades the ruling military junta have used the Buddhist monks to exploit the situation that would endear them to the Buddhist countrymen at the expense of non-Buddhist minorities who are portrayed as 'alien's and 'undesirables' in spite of the fact that the latter's origin often time outdated the Bamars and many other latter-day usurpers of the land that we call today Myanmar. The monks acted as the provocateurs for anti-Muslim genocidal pogroms.
One would have thought that with the election win of Suu Kyi's NLD such a criminal practice would discontinue and that the difficult tasks of true cohesion between all the  segments would take place. Instead, Suu Kyi and her government have been found short on such critical steps, and worse still, found a promoter of genocide. She has denied access of international groups to visit areas in Muslim-populated regions where such government crimes have led to forced exodus of  hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas to neighboring countries, let alone the fact that many were raped and killed.
Dr Maung Zarni's piece here is quite revealing on seeing the link between military and the Buddhist monks to carry out genocide against the Rohingyas of Myanmar.
He writes, "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."
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. 


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