Rohingya activists speak out against travesty of International Crisis Group denial of genocide

This is a devastating critique by a Rohingya activist of the International Crisis Group report denying genocide in Myanmar & claiming Rohingya “jihadism” in Arakan state & among refugees has become a dangerous threat.

The article is titled “ICG’s Report: A Travesty of Rohingya Genocide in Myanmar.” Rohingya Vision is an online & social media source worth following.

International Crisis Group: denies genocide against Rohingya to protect capitalist investment in Myanmar

Rohingya child (Dec 19 2016

The International Crisis Group (ICG) just released a 25-page report titled “Myanmar: A New Muslim Insurgency in Rakhine State.” Many will want a “nuanced” analysis of the report. That kind won’t be forthcoming on this wall; this will be as much of a hatchet-job as can be mustered because the report is contemptible & dishonest in every possible way.

It denies genocide by the military junta against Rohingya Muslims, soft-pedals the scale of military violence in Arakan since October 9th, & endangers Rohingya refugees by claiming those in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, & possibly India are organizing fatwas & are behind the rise of “jihadist” terrorist groups in Arakan state.

Perhaps we should begin the hatchet-job by describing the political character of the ICG. It’s a thoroughly conservative establishment operation formed in 1995 which claims to do field research on violent conflict & conflict resolution. Nothing resolves a genocide so easily or so fast as denying it even exists.

The ICG claims to do field research in Africa, Asia & Central Asia, the Middle East, & Latin America but their staff of analysts is almost completely white people from Europe. Nothing wrong with being white; by the time they’re out of early childhood most white people adjust admirably to growing up pasty. But if you claim to speak authoritatively about the complex problems of complex societies you ought to consider hiring analysts from those regions.

The two ICG staff who did the report on the Rohingya are Tim Johnston, a white guy who claims he reported from the region but whose body of work from Myanmar isn’t available on search engines; & an Indian woman who appears to have no credentials of any kind at all.

The report is actually worth a read even though one can only trust the periods & commas. The method will be quite familiar to those who read Assadist propaganda & draws from the same cesspool for inspiration: anti-Muslim hysteria & hatred & all that “jihadist” rubbish.

You’re almost embarrassed for ICG when they describe how they know their detailed elaboration of all this fatwa & jihadist stuff going on among Rohingya. They don’t mention any interpreters but they claim to have interviewed six Rohingya “jihadists” in online chat groups, including four in Arakan & two refugees. They also say they analyzed videos on YouTube. People played that easily probably shouldn’t be allowed access to a computer without parental consent.

The group advises the UN, the European Union, & World Bank & here we come to the reason why the ICG doesn’t see the genocide against Rohingya anymore than Kofi Annan & his commission did. Neoliberal economics are taking over Myanmar with major multinational corporations from the US, Europe, China, India, & elsewhere investing billions in the country. It’s not clear what the military junta has in store for Arakan state but both Suu Kyi & Kofi Annan have more than once referred to “development” in the state. In neoliberal economics, that means land grabs, hydroelectric dams, deforestation, strip mining, forced population relocation to urban slums–& in Arakan state it means genocide.

They’re going to be pushing denial of Rohingya genocide & rising “jihadism” among Rohingya refugees & in Arakan all over the place–in media & on social media, at academic forums & conferences. The sole purpose will be to justify the extremes of military violence against Rohingya & to victimize, keep surveillance on, & deny asylum to Rohingya refugees.

The ICG report presents a crisis to Rohingya solidarity & the only possible response for human rights activists is to increase reports about what is actually going on in Arakan state; to demand refugee rights, including no police surveillance of refugee political groups; & to collaborate with refugee activists in building public forums, rallies, protests in defense of Rohinga–whether in Arakan state or any other country.

The photo is a Rohingya girl. We should keep her sweet little face in mind as we look for ways to render solidarity & smack down this vicious campaign launched by the ICG in the service of capitalism in its most barbaric phase.

(Photo from Arakan News Agency)

This is the full ICG report. When you’ve finished reading it, use it for toilet paper:

Working on a post about the International Crisis Group denying genocide against Rohingya & portraying them as “jihadists” was making my adrenaline go sky-high.

To calm it down I put some lovely piano music on (yes of course Chopin was involved) & my little birds came hovering around to listen with me. It’s at times like this you put aside their pooping where they ought not to. Music brings the species together.

The Assadism of Robert Fisk & Patrick Cockburn

Getting flak for ridiculing the sorry-assed journalism of Robert Fisk & Patrick Cockburn on Syria who both express a deep cesspool of antipathy & ignorance about Muslims & Arabs.

A lot of people don’t see them that way, though their idiocies speak for themselves. For me the pièce de résistance of Fisk’s sarcasms was when he recently told a Canadian interviewer (not Eva Bartlett but a real journalist) that Muslim Arabs in the Middle East no longer believe in the nation-state; that nearly a million Syrian war refugees proved that by trying to forcibly cross the borders of Europe. How would defenders of Fisk characterize that? Don’t say senility because he’s been talking such rubbish for decades.

I never claimed to be an expert on Islam or Arabs. Hardly. What I understand is war-mongering, foolishness, political idiocies, social hatreds, & posturing blowhards. Political life is filled with them.

Politics is about understanding, not just tossing off opinions

If you take politics seriously, you know it’s not about having opinions but about understanding–which is required to be part of making the world a suitable place for human beings to live in. Glib, winging it, or uncritically accepting views that get the most likes on social media don’t work for you.

Unfortunately, if you adopt a habit of going with the flow or think you’re a political savant who just feels your way to understanding, you will get lost when things get complicated. You don’t have to be an intellectual whiz or know the entire history of the world to understand. You have to learn to listen & read carefully, plow your way through confusion, look at what the different points of view are & who the people are saying it. Who do they represent?

Language matters: is it hateful, aggressive, insulting? Method matters: is it based on unsubstantiated claims & prejudices, conspiracy & speculations? Or is there substance to the analyses?

All that is to say that when I see FB friends applauding what’s going on in Aleppo or mocking the suffering or talking the “head-chopping” talk, you’re out of here. So don’t then message me & say I got you all wrong, you don’t know if Assad is the lesser of two evils but you are against war, that in fact you don’t understand what’s going on in Syria. Not understanding is something I get; taking a public position in favor of bombing civilians & forcibly relocating them when you don’t understand what it’s all about is something deplorable.

Unfriending you for war-mongering doesn’t make me censorious. It makes me judicious. I have pending friend requests from almost 200 people, many of them because we agree about Syria & want to collaborate. That’s the way social media works.

Enough with the messages denouncing me for deleting you. The tongue-lashings roll like water off a duck’s ass. If the problem is ignorance, smarten up before you hop on the Assadist bandwagon to perdition.

UN comes out whimpering against genocide of Rohingya

Smouldering debris of burned houses in Warpait village, a Muslim village in Maungdaw, Rakhine state, 14 October, 2016 AFP:Getty

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein reported Friday that his agency receives daily reports of rapes, murders, torching of homes, & other human rights crimes against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar but that the UN could not verify the accounts first hand because the regime of Suu Kyi has barred independent monitors from investigating.

Hussein called Myanmar’s response to allegations “short-sighted, counterproductive, even callous.” Denunciations for alleged genocide don’t get tougher or more righteous than that. How can the Suu Kyi regime ever bounce back from such an indictment?

It could just as well be said that the UN’s response to allegations of genocide is callous, not to mention criminal. It’s the old playing stupid routine. Just how much documentation does the UN need to speak with unequivocal condemnation? It didn’t have any hesitation in the same statement denouncing the killing of border guards last October which the Suu Kyi regime used to go on the military assault against Rohingya–even though they still don’t know who the perpetrators were.

In 2012, over 150,000 Rohingya were internally displaced in Myanmar & forced into concentration camps; an estimated 86,000 fled to neighboring countries. In the first five months of 2015, 25,000 fled by boat & there is still only an accounting of less than 5,000. Just since October 9th, 27,000 Rohingya fled Arakan state to Bangladesh refugee camps.

There are thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh & other countries. Many of them report human trafficking of Rohingya. In 2015, Malaysian authorities reported mass graves of Rohingya refugees were found in 17 abandoned trafficking camps near the Thai border. Military officers in Thailand were even prosecuted for human trafficking Rohingya. Refugees report thousands of undocumented refugees are detained in prisons in several countries.

Human Rights Watch has published high-definition satellite photos of Rohingya villages torched to the ground by Myanmar ground & air forces during this current siege. Certainly if the UN is denied access to Arakan state it can commission satellite surveillance equipment since the UN has its own military force.

UN officials interviewed 1,000 recent traumatized refugees to Bangladesh who reported the rapes, murders, torching of entire villages. That’s about as first hand as you get. The UN could even go to Rohingya media or social media where Rohingya human rights activists have posted videos & photos of the genocidal siege all over the place. Is the UN going to draw from the handbook of Assadists & claim they’re all staged propaganda to discredit the Suu Kyi regime?

What information will the UN agency get in Arakan state that it hasn’t already gotten from refugees? After all, Kofi Annan visited there twice & claimed he didn’t see a shred of evidence for persecution, let alone genocide.

What about the report a few days ago from the Myanmar Ministry of Cultural & Religious Affairs that they’re writing a history of the country that will omit the very existence of Rohingya to prove they were never indigenous? What about Suu Kyi’s request that the name Rohingya not be used by US or other diplomats?

The UN should stop disgracing itself with half-assed whimpers of protest & condemn the systematic ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims by the military junta fronted by Suu Kyi & her phony human rights credentials.

This photo from October 2016 is smoldering debris of houses torched by Myanmar troops.

(Photo by AFP/Getty)

Those who threaten violence are bereft of political explanations

Just saw an exchange between two guys who think they’re progressive making jokes about hanging Eva Bartlett. It’s a rendition of the hating on Hillary crap, the kind of stuff political women always face.

Nothing betrays political corruption more than threats of violence, even masked as jokes, & especially against women. Such things express not ardent commitment to justice in Syria but macho & sadistic domination over women who dare disagree with you.

Bartlett has to be addressed for her politics, not her gender. There’s nothing wrong with being female. It’s her Assadism that’s the problem. But of course if you haven’t the insight to evaluate her politically than threatening her is kind of like taking Viagra.