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It takes a nation to protect the nation

This article from the New York Times barely touches on the reasons for the squeeze put on the Muslim population of Rohingya, Myanmar (Burma), only mentioning ‘the higher Muslim birthrate.’ As if that in itself is the cause of concern and has prompted these drastic measures. The NYT does not ask why the Muslim population is not welcome in Rohingya and why the local population is unhappy with them. Maybe they see what is happening across the border in Thailand or anywhere else in the world where Muslims gain confidence and start to act out their political manifesto.

So they are, with exceptions, being asked to leave and find another place to live. Is this harsh? Yes. Is it profiling? Yes? Is it at all understandable? Yes.
Myanmar Policy’s Message to Muslims: Get Out
As Myanmar Advances Resettlement Plan, Rohingya Flee

Slide Show | Bleak Existence for Myanmar’s Rohingya Minority More than 100,000 Rohingya have fled the country and a similar number are confined in camps amid violence by the Buddhist majority, which accuses them of being foreign interlopers.
Last Updated: 2:38 PM GMT
SITTWE, Myanmar — The Myanmar government has given the estimated one million Rohingya people in this coastal region of the country a dispiriting choice: Prove your family has lived here for more than 60 years and qualify for second-class citizenship, or be placed in camps and face deportation.

The policy, accompanied by a wave of decrees and legislation, has made life for the Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority, ever more desperate, spurring the biggest flow of Rohingya refugees since a major exodus two years ago.

In the last three weeks alone, 14,500 Rohingya have sailed from the beaches of Rakhine State to Thailand, with the ultimate goal of reaching Malaysia, according to the Arakan Project, a group that monitors Rohingya refugees.

The crisis has become an embarrassment to the White House ahead of a scheduled visit by President Obama to Myanmar next week. The administration considers Myanmar a foreign-policy success story in Asia, but is worried that renewed conflict between Buddhist extremists, who are given a free hand by the government, and the Rohingya could derail the already rocky transition from military rule to democratic reform.

A Rohingya girl in a hut in a displaced persons camp on the outskirts of Sittwe, in Rakhine State.
Tomas Munita for The New York Times
Mr. Obama called President Thein Sein of Myanmar last week, urging him to address the “tensions and humanitarian situation in Rakhine State,” the White House said.

In his most public appeal to the government yet, Mr. Obama asked the Myanmar leader to revise the anti-Rohingya policies, specifically the resettlement plan. Myanmar must “support the civil and political rights of the Rohingya population,” he said.

The Rohingya have faced discrimination for decades. They have been denied citizenship, evicted from their homes, had their land confiscated and been attacked by the military. After one such attack in 1978, some 200,000 fled to Bangladesh.

The latest flare-up began with an outbreak of sectarian rioting in 2012, in which hundreds of Rohingya were killed and dozens of their villages burned to the ground by radical Buddhists. Since then, close to 100,000 have fled the country, and more than 100,000 have been confined to squalid camps, forbidden to leave.

A Rohingya woman at a camp in Sittwe called her brother in Malaysia to ask for money after the burial of their mother.
Tomas Munita for The New York Times
As conditions in the camps have deteriorated, international pressure has mounted on the government to find a humane solution. Instead, the government appears to be accelerating a strategy that human rights groups have described as ethnic cleansing.

For many Rohingya, the new policy, called the Rakhine Action Plan, represents a kind of final humiliation, said Mohamed Saeed, a community organizer in a camp on the edge of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State.

“People really fear this plan,” he said. “Our community is getting less and less. This is where they want us — out.

Many Rohingya came to Myanmar in the 19th century when the British ruled all of what is now India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. But the government’s demand for proof of residence since 1948 is too onerous for many, who either do not have the paperwork or fall short of the six-decade requirement, human rights advocates say.

Those who can prove their residence qualify only for naturalized citizenship, which carries fewer rights than full citizenship and can be revoked. Moreover, they would be classified as “Bengali,” rather than Rohingya, suggesting that they are immigrants from Bangladesh and leaving open the possibility of deportation.

Under the plan, those Rohingya who cannot meet the standards for naturalized citizenship or refuse to accept the Bengali designation would be placed in camps before being deported.

Human Rights Watch described the plan as “nothing less than a blueprint for permanent segregation and statelessness.”

The government asked the United Nations refugee agency to participate in the resettlement, but the agency refused, a spokesman said.

The Rakhine Action Plan is but one element of a host of policies and tactics aimed at marginalizing the Rohingya. This year, in line with the government’s position that they are foreigners, the Rohingya were prevented from participating in the national census.

Legislation introduced in Parliament two months ago, and expected to pass, would ban Rohingya from voting in next year’s election. Parliament is also considering a bill that would ban interfaith marriage, a measure human rights advocates say is designed to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment.

The policies come on top of an increasingly dire situation in Rohingya camps and villages. In the camps around Sittwe, where about 140,000 Rohingya live, health services are virtually nonexistent.

The main medical provider, Doctors without Borders, was chased out six months ago and has not been able to return.

In the villages around Maungdaw, a Rohingya-dominated town near the border of Bangladesh, there has been a sudden increase in the arrests of young Rohingya men and boys, United Nations officials and human rights advocates said.

The Border Guard Police arrested more than 100 Rohingya on charges of holding illegal gatherings and over refusals to participate in the action plan. Chris Lewa, the director of the Arakan Project, said the arrests were part of a campaign to force the men to leave the country.

For many, the high-risk boat trips to Thailand en route to Malaysia, a Muslim country that quietly tolerates the refugees, begin at a gray sandy beach at Ohn Taw Shi, a fishing village fringed by coconut trees on the outskirts of a camp for the displaced.

On a recent day, a froth of waves lapped the shore, a few open wooden boats lay untended, waiting for use at night. The police slept in the afternoon heat in a wooden shack about 500 yards away.

A smuggler, Chan Thet Maung, a cellphone hooked to his pants and earplugs dangling from his neck, said that when the wooden boats were filled with Rohingya, they sailed north for about five hours to connect with larger vessels. There, in waters off the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, multidecked boats sometimes idle for days or weeks, manned by armed and often brutal crews, waiting for a full complement of passengers bound for Thailand, the United Nations refugee agency said in an internal report.

The annual smuggling season, which begins in early October when the monsoon season ends, got off to a fast start, the smuggler said. The police wanted $2,000 — $100 for each of the 20 passengers — on a recent boat trip, but the smugglers had offered slightly less, he said.

The trip was aborted, but another attempt would be made soon, he said.

Local officials abet the smuggling trips, according to Matthew Smith, the director of Fortify Rights, an organization that studies ethnic groups in Myanmar.

“The regional trafficking and smuggling begins with the complicity of Myanmar authorities,” he said. “We’ve documented Myanmar police and armed forces taking payments as high as 7 million kyat in return for a boat’s passage to sea.” Seven million kyat is approximately $7,000.

Most Rohingya who want to leave the camps or the villages in northern Rakhine pay brokers $200 just to board a boat. Once in Thailand, the refugees must pay smugglers an additional $2,000 for the second leg to Malaysia.

Some, like Nor Rankis, 25, who said she wanted to join her estranged husband and brother in Malaysia, do not pay anything, an almost certain sign she will be sold into servitude by traffickers in Thailand.

“I don’t want to live here; I cannot survive,” she said one evening as she waited for a smuggler to take her away. She had packed a few things in a pink plastic basket: a bottle of perfume, a new sarong and a box of vitamins — though nothing to protect her against the equatorial sun that would beat down on her across the Bay of Bengal.

For better-off Rohingya in Sittwe, brokers can arrange documents for a ticket on the daily 90-minute flight to Yangon for $4,000. Regular passengers pay $88.

A 20-year-old Rohingya student, whose family pooled savings for the $4,000, said his broker gave more than 75 percent of the cost to immigration officials. Like all Rohingya students, he was expelled from the university in 2012.

The student, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, said the broker escorted him with officials of the Department of Immigration and Population in a government car from the camp to Sittwe airport.

“I was shaking with nerves,” he said. “But the broker gave me heart, and I was waved through the departure gate.”

In Yangon, the nation’s commercial capital, Rohingya say they have an easier existence. Long-established Rohingya families run businesses there, and documents are not scrutinized as carefully as in Rakhine, where segregation has become entrenched.

A spokesman for Rakhine State insisted the Rohingya did not belong in Myanmar and defended the Rakhine Action Plan as necessary because the higher Muslim birthrate threatened the Buddhist majority.

“There are no Rohingya under the law,” said the spokesman, U Win Myaing, assistant director of the Ministry of Information. “They are illegal immigrants. If they need labor in the United Arab Emirates, why don’t they ask people to go there?”

Some government officials have described the Rakhine Action Plan as a draft proposal, rather than official policy. But the government has already begun to carry out the plan in at least one camp, Myebon, 60 miles south of Sittwe.

In a gesture in advance of Mr. Obama’s visit, the government released 15 political prisoners in early October, including three Rohingya. Among them was U Kyaw Hla Aung, 75, a prominent lawyer, who was jailed after the violence in Sittwe in 2012.

One of the few Rohingya trained as a lawyer — Rohingya have since been barred from studying law or medicine — Mr. Kyaw Hla Aung said that it was illogical for the government to insist that Rohingya were not citizens.

“My father was head clerk of the courts in Sittwe for 40 years,” he said in his bamboo house in one of the camps. “I was a stenographer for 24 years in the courts and then a lawyer. How can they say we are not full citizens?”

After a few nights of waiting for a smuggler, Ms. Nor Rankis waded into the inky Bay of Bengal to a small wooden boat, jammed with a score of others, headed, she hoped, for Malaysia.

“I’m depending on God,” she said. “That’s why I dare to go.”

Wai Moe contributed reporting.

Tags: Burma, Kinana, Myanmar, Rohingya

Views: 388

Replies to This Discussion

EXCLUSIVE: '300 Rohingyas kidnapped 100 Hindus, killed 92 of them on August 25'

New Delhi: In a stunning disclosure, it has been revealed that 300 Rohingyas abducted 100 Hindus on August 25 and eliminated 92 of them.

Eight people who survived the assassination were all women, who later got converted to Islam.

They were then taken to Bangladesh, said the Myanmar State Councillor Information Office.

The revelation comes a day after the Myanmar's Army discovered two mud pits filled with 28 Hindu corpses, including women and children, outside a village in northern Rakhine.

As per the Army, it was the evidence of a massacre by Rohingya Muslim militants.

Speaking to Times Now, several Hindu refugees who survived have recounted that they were threatened and abused by Rohingya militants and forced to convert.

“We fled here after Rohingya terrorists came to attack us with swords, spears, sticks and guns. They burned our houses and farms. There were hundreds of them, from teenagers to men in their mid-30s. They said 'this is an Islamic state'. They shouted 'Rakhine state is our Rohingya state.’ We told them Rakhine state is not theirs. They said they would kill Hindus and we saw them do it. We fled when they set fire to our houses,” said a resident of Rakhine.

He claimed that more than 30 Hindus were missing and that they recovered 8 Hindu bodies.

On Monday, graves of 17 more Hindus were found.

"They came wearing masks. Couldn't see anything but their eyes. They captured us. They had guns, axes, knives. They hacked my family members to death. They forcefully converted us to Islam. They hacked my husband, sister-in-law, and her son to death," another woman, who managed to escape, told Times Now.

“The Rohingya militants have problems with the Myanmar Army as well as the common men who inhabit the Rakhine state. They are torturing and evicting Hindu Rohingyas from the land. Hindu families are brutally butchered and shot,” a Bangladeshi aid worker stated.

Northern Rakhine was plunged into crisis after Rohingya militants raided police posts last month, unleashing an Army crackdown that has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The vast majority -- more than 430,000 -- are Rohingya Muslims who fled across the border to Bangladesh from a military campaign the UN says likely amounts to ethnic cleansing...

'Hindus were identified and taken to a nearby hill... Only eight women were allowed to live… mostly the young and the beautiful': Forced conversions reported at Rohingya refugee camps

  • India Today journalists have collected the stories of Hindu Rohingyas
  • They claim that there is a culture of murder and forced conversions 
  • See more news from India at

The NYT puts out another piece in favour of the Rohingya and critical of the majority population of Myanmar.  Quotes from the article:

“We thank the Lord Buddha for this,” said U Thu Min Gala, the 57-year-old abbot of the Damarama Monastery in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State in western Myanmar. “They stole our land, our food and our water. We will never accept them back.”

Buddhist monks, moral arbiters in a pious land, have been at the forefront of a campaign to dehumanize the Rohingya. In popular videos, extremist monks refer to the Rohingya as “snakes” or “worse than dogs.”

“We don’t trust the international society,” the abbot said. “They are only on the side of the terrorists.”

“Kalar [Muslims] are not welcome here because they are violent and they multiply like crazy, with so many wives and children,” he said.

“We ask the international community to acknowledge that these Muslims are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and that this crisis is an infringement of our sovereignty,” said U Nyan Win, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy, which shares power with Myanmar’s military. “This is the most important thing with the Rakhine issue.”

“We are a small country that lies between India and China, and the DNA of our ancestors is to try to struggle for our survival,” Mr. Ko Ko Gyi said.

“We ask the international community to acknowledge that these Muslims are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and that this crisis is an infringement of our sovereignty,” said U Nyan Win, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy

The article is clear though that all these quotes are inaccurate.  The majority population in Myanmar is callous, uncaring and involved in ethnic cleansing due to simple hatred and prejudice.  

But in Myanmar, and even in Rakhine itself, there is stark denial that any ethnic cleansing is taking place.

The WP gives a different perspective

In 2012, the rape of a Buddhist woman by Rohingya men triggered widespread communal violence after which more than 100,000 Rohingya were confined to detention camps. At the same time, a movement of hard-line Buddhist nationalism gathered steam, led by radical monks.

Shortly thereafter, a group of Saudi-based Rohingya expatriates formed the militant Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, according to a December report from the International Crisis Group. Its leaders eventually traveled to the area to recruit and surreptitiously train villagers in guerrilla war tactics, the report said.

College student Maung Oo Than Tin, 25, says Rohingya militants attacked his village. (Annie Gowen/The Washington Post)
Siblings, from left, Mg Thein Hla, 24; Sander Moe, 25; and Hla Win Thu Zar, 15, are afraid to return home. (Annie Gowen/The Washington Post)

Maung Oo Than Tin, 25, a Buddhist college student, recalled that one of his best school friends, a Rohingya, stopped speaking to him after the 2012 violence and later left the country. About three months ago, the former friend messaged him ominously on Facebook, “We are going to kill you.”

Grocery store owner Sander Moe, 25, a member of the ethnic Marma community, which also allegedly was threatened by militants, said she believed that most of her Rohingya neighbors joined ARSA last year after four village men were recruited to be local leaders. They trained volunteers in the woods and exhorted Rohingya to stop patronizing Buddhist businesses, causing her sales to drop from $20 to $3 a day.

She said locals made up the mob that attacked a police station across the street from her home in August, armed with long knives and grenades. In the crowd, she could discern the mullahs, a stocky rice farmer and even an 8-year-old boy. She and others fled to a monastery, which was besieged for several days before the villagers were able to escape to Sittwe.


From last year but pertinent.

Its Not Buddhists Killing Muslims In Myanmar, Its Rohingya Muslims Killing Buddhists From 1947

'Although minor conflicts occurred among both communities, nothing serious occurred until about 5 years ago where Muslims gathered in numbers and walked the streets killing the minority natives in their areas.'

Thank you Antony

it seems like the Muslims leaving Rohingya are not happy to stay in Bangladesh.  Maybe Saudi Arabia will take them. 

They are not welcome in India.  Maybe the EU/UK will find space for them.

One part of the article caught my attention:

"This was a clash between a small fraction of extremists in the both ethnic groups," police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told Reuters.

One of those arrested was a woman who falsely spread news that Muslims were about to attack a Buddhist temple, he said.

"We've decided to arrest those who have been spreading false messages and rumours on social media."

I wonder how the Police knew it was a 'false' message.  Did they ask the Muslims?  Maybe they asked the woman who admitted to making it up.

Now even Amesty International accepts that the ARSA is a terrorist organisation.

Myanmar's army was not the only group that slaughtered civilians in the country, Amnesty International has concluded.
Rohingya insurgents carried out at least one brutal massacre in Rakhine state, the organisation says.

Amnesty has investigated the alleged killings of minority Hindus on 25 August last year and concluded that Rohingya militants were involved.

Nice try with the <blockquote> kinana!  However, you have to use the tab “HTML Editor”, not the one next to it called “Visual Mode” :-) I fixed it for you.


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Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.

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1. SP Freedom of Speech
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