We have to face the facts about the role of Buddhist nationalists in the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. Most of us don’t know the denominations within Buddhism but it doesn’t really matter because the conflict is not rooted in religious differences so much as the manipulations of ethnic groups under British colonialism & the failure of Burma to address self-determination for its many ethnic groups when it gained independence. It remains a prison house of nations with Burmese Buddhists running roughshod in the manner of all supremacists.

The treacherous role of Buddhists in Arakan state is not an indictment of all of Buddhism. Buddhists have always played a role in the antiwar movement going back to the Vietnam War & of course within Vietnam itself. What’s going on in Arakan state is an aberration, not the norm among Buddhists.

Israel, India, & China selling arms to Burma

Rohingya carrying senior woman (Bernat Armangue:AP) Sept 4 2017
Israel, India, & China don’t make any bones about selling arms to Burma. They’re in no position to act squeamish or go all high & mighty over genocide when all three countries are engaged in the same unspeakable crimes. What rankles is that the European Union & US try to do the righteous strut for refusing to sell arms to Burma. Righteous my ass. They have billions & billions of dollars invested in Burma’s neoliberal economic program & if they want can bring that genocide to a halt by crippling the economy. But they don’t want because scorched earth policies are the very nature of neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism. Burma is getting away with genocide because other nations don’t have an issue with it whether they’re selling them arms or not. Which doesn’t mean for one moment that Israel, India, & China aren’t criminally contemptible for doing so.

In 2009, a UN guy called the Rohingya “probably the most friendless people in the world” & today the Washington Post said they are “quite simply one of the most helpless & forsaken peoples of the world.” Enough with the pity-mongering. Rohingya activists, like Kashmiri & Palestinian activists, are making brilliant use of social media & the internet to educate about their struggle. They are still isolated & in grave danger but they are now being heard & are no longer friendless or forsaken. If we work with them & commit to them, together we can build a movement with rallies, speak-outs, teach-ins to put powerful public pressure on the Burmese government. For the first time since they became subject to genocide, the Rohingya finally have thousands of supporters & allies. They no longer stand alone. This is not the final stage of genocide but the first stage of international solidarity.

Photo is Rohingya refugees disembarking in Bangladesh.

(Photo by Bernat Armangue/AP)

Erdogan is receiving undue praise as a champion of the Rohingya people. He’s a shameless grandstander because outside of blowing smoke for media attention he has done nothing for them. In May 2015, when an estimated 25,000 Rohingya were fleeing Burma in rickety boats, they became stranded in the Andaman Sea without food or water because Thailand refused them landing & Indonesia & Malaysia allowed only a few thousand to land. Erdogan talked about sending Turkish navy ships to rescue the thousands left adrift but never gave the order. That not a single country lifted a finger to rescue them is a monstrous crime for which there needs to be an accounting someday. For Erdogan to pretend he’s above such criminality makes him not just a grandstander but a dirtball. He’s no more an advocate of human rights for the Rohingya than he is for Turks.

BBC worried about fake photos from Arakan state

The BBC is concerned that fake photos claiming to be scenes of genocide in Arakan state will “enflame tension” between Buddhists & Rohingya Muslims in what the BBC considers communal violence. The BBC should be more concerned that the Burmese government has shut down Arakan tighter than a drum so that journalists & human rights monitors are unable to enter the state to document genocide.

Fake photos are a pain in the ass but the truth is nobody knows which are fake & which are real. The BBC has no forensic squad checking that stuff out. Misreporting what’s going on in Arakan as communal violence rather than genocide is a far more consequential issue than whether the photo is from this carnage or another.

Rollie cover of Kashmir Mirage

Kashmir Mirage uses many of Rollie Mukherjee’s artwork for its covers & honor her contribution to Kashmiri solidarity.

A reminder for Kashmiris that Rollie Mukherjee’s art exhibit & sale begins today. Even if you can’t afford to buy a painting it will be an honor to view her work & meet her. Part of the proceeds will go to orphans & to the work of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP).

There is no equivalence in a genocide

Bangladeshis bury Rohingya who drowned (Suvra Kanti Das:AP) Sept 4 2017

There can be no concessions made to the notion that what is going on in Arakan state is communal violence between Buddhists & Muslims. It is a genocide orchestrated by the Burmese military which exploits the strategy of divide & conquer & organizes & incites Buddhist nationalists to attack Rohingya.

It is an outrage that media reports atrocities have been committed by both sides. The overwhelming number of Rohingya are unarmed civilians at the mercy of a military & civilian goon squads who are torching, raping, murdering, hunting down Rohingya like animals. If Rohingya attempt to defend themselves by any means possible, that is not atrocities but self-defense.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is not responsible for setting off the current military assault on the Rohingya people. As Dr. Maung Zarni, a Burmese Buddhist in exile, pointed out, several weeks before the current siege “the Burmese military high command was very busy, mobilizing & air-lifting hundreds of troops from Light Infantry Division 33–notorious for merciless & indiscriminate killings of civilians in any urban unrest–to Rakhine; arming & training anti-Rohingya Rakhine villagers in fire arms & fighting; blockading the predominantly Rohingya region of N. Rakhine from accessing food & jobs; & spreading fears of attacks on INGOs & UN agencies providing humanitarian assistance….You can’t analyze Rohingya militancy & recent attacks, without taking into account this build-up of both the government troops & militarizing & arming of hostile local Rakhine villages.”

In this photo, Bangladeshi villagers are covering the bodies of Rohingya women & children who died when the boats they were using to flee genocide capsized.

Stop the genocide of the Rohingya people. Full solidarity with their struggle for human, democratic, civil, & refugee rights.

(Photo by Suvra Kanti Das/AP)

The very people who support Assad’s dictatorship & claim opposition to him is all “jihadi head-choppers” now call Hurricane Harvey a false flag operation & the genocide of Rohingya a psyops thing. They ridicule solidarity as a “Save the Rohingya bandwagon.” If that doesn’t snap people out of confusions about who these politically corrupt people are, nothing else will.

Rohingya child who lost parents unable to speak

Rohingya child unable to speak (Shafiur Rahman) Sept 4 2017

A Rohingya child without parents who was brought by other Rohingya refugees to Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. He is unable to speak. Words fail. Solidarity with the Rohingya is an imperative. Our silence is not an option.

Stop the genocide of Rohingya. Full solidarity with their struggle for human, democratic, civil, & refugee rights.

(Photo from Shafiur Rahman @ shafiur)

Bangladeshi volunteers offer helping hand to Rohingya refugees

Bangladesh volunteer with Rohingya (Shafiur Rahman) Sept 4 2017

The man on the right is a Bangladeshi volunteer holding out a hand to a Rohingya refugee family. Volunteers are also greeting Rohingya with water & biscuits.

The humanity of Bangladeshi citizens toward Rohingya refugees is at odds with Bangladeshi government policies but represents the highest ideals of the human race. Our deepest respect.

Stop the genocide of Rohingya. Full solidarity with their struggle for human, democratic, civil, & refugee rights.

(Photo from Shafiur Rahman @shafiur)