Bangladeshi officials claim the Burmese junta has been laying landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh for the past three days. They said the purpose was to prevent the return of Rohingya refugees. According to the UN, in the past eleven days up to 90,000 Rohingya have crossed the border with thousands more expected. No one’s going back willfully. It is more likely to blow up refugees as they cross into Bangladesh.
Is it possible for Russia to engage in humanitarian bombing of civilians in Syria whilst supporting the Burmese military junta in its genocide against the Rohingya? Only in the twisted politics of libertarian rednecks. Perhaps Russia’s role in Burma needs to be laid out to show the character of the Putin regime & expose the lies about its role in Syria–as if bombing civilians weren’t sufficiently damning.
Russia is one of the primary arms dealers to Burma, along with Israel, India, & China. They sell Burma arms, fighter jets, & advanced artillery systems to conduct genocide against the Rohingya & war against other ethnic groups at war with the regime. Last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement strongly backing the military onslaught in Arakan state & blaming the violence on ARSA insurgents. There’s no playing dumb here. Russia is fully apprised of the scale of genocide in Arakan state & fully supports it.
Russia & China also ally to provide diplomatic protection at the UN Security Council where they used their veto powers in March & again last week to block statements of concern about the Rohingya. Statements of concern; not even condemnations of a genocide.
That’s what makes the Rohingya solidarity protest in Grozny, Chechnya, numbering in the tens of thousands, & protests at the Burmese embassy in Moscow, estimated at 800, so significant. It is estimated that Russia has nearly 16.5 million Muslims. Chechnya with a population of 1.3 million is 95-percent Muslim. The protest in Chechnya was called by its autocratic leader Ramzan Kadyrov who once called Chechens “foot soldiers in Putin’s army.” In one post on Instagram (later deleted), Kadyrov openly challenged the Kremlin saying “If Russia is supporting these devils [the Burmese junta] who are committing crimes, then I’m against Russia’s position.” We’re talking chickens coming home to roost.
When you understand Russia & China’s emerging new role in world politics–as a reactionary counterbalance to US & European power–then the new political alignments between Stalinists, libertarians, fascists begin to make sense. It isn’t that there should not be a counterbalance to US & European hegemony; there most certainly should be. It’s imperative. But that counterbalance is not Russian & Chinese militarism. It is the forces of solidarity assembling against war, occupation, genocide, in defense of Muslims under attack as in Syria, India, Kashmir, Burma, & in defense of all the oppressed.
Photo is protest in Grozny, Chechnya standing in solidarity with the Rohingya people.
(Photo from Reuters)
Trump has rescinded the DACA program which allowed undocumented immigrants who came here as kids to work & get a driver’s license. It’s not certain what will happen to them now. But since immigration has their names & addresses, it knows just where to pick them up for deportation.
For a long while immigration rights was one of the most active social movements in the US. Some of it was hijacked by the Democratic Party & paid less attention to movement building. It’s time again to hit the streets in massive numbers.
Malala Yousafzai twittered a condemnation of the Rohingya genocide & a rebuke to Aung San Suu Kyi. This is not the first time she has done so & in a forceful way. It might be a good time for the Dalai Lama to follow her lead & speak out in a straightforward way, not in platitudes about compassion. It’s not that he has never spoken out in the past but let’s just say he’s a man who pulls his punches.
We can dispense with that idiotic punch-a-fascist-in-the-face vs. movement building dispute by letting those who prefer fisticuffs to politics go their own way. Nothing better than to see the rear ends of the macho brigade hitting the dusty trail.
To add nuance to the view of many Assadists that the Rohingya genocide is all about those pipelines to China, Sputnik News–the voice of Putin in troll form–says George Soros & Rohingya extremists under the influence of Al Qaeda are behind it all. It’s not too late for people to reclaim their senses & leave Assadism behind. Or is it?
Can’t apologize for posting so much about the Rohingya struggle. I consider it a mandate to stand with them whilst they are under siege & to report on their struggle. It’s an elementary of solidarity.
Narendra Modi arrived in Burma today for a two-day visit. Why let a genocide deter him when he has several matters to discuss with the junta, including his plan to deport 40,000 Rohinga refugees from India. His primary concerns will be mutual security issues & the $484 million Kaladan multi-modal transport projects connecting Burma to India. One project will connect the Indian seaport of Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Arakan state, Burma; another will link Sittwe seaport via river & road routes to Mizoram, a state in northeast India.
The connections between genocide & neoliberal scorched earth economics begin to emerge in greater clarity & ignominy.
Photo is Modi arriving in Burma today.
(Photo from PTI)
Media continues to report that the latest genocidal campaign against the Rohingya came after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked police posts & an army base in Arakan state. That’s what the Burmese government claims. No one knows if such a group really exists, if it does how big it is, who arms them, if they do anything other than issue videos to YouTube, & how many agents provocateurs are involved. Their oldest video is only a few months old.
But it doesn’t matter because the Burmese military was preparing itself for this onslaught by deploying extra troops in Arakan & training & arming Buddhist nationalists as civilian death squads. The military junta initiated this genocidal campaign & would have done so whether ARSA existed or not. In fact, if ARSA didn’t exist, they would have to invent it.
The Rohingya people have a right to defend themselves by any means necessary. The jury remains out on ARSA as part of that. But to go along with media & the Burmese junta that they were provoked into genocide by ARSA is a detestable mockery of the Rohingya people.
Photo is Rohingya refugees near the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
(Photo from CNN)
The UN is reporting that between 73,000 to nearly 90,000 Rohingya have fled Burma into Bangladesh since August 25th with thousands more expected. Another 30,000 Rohingya may be trapped in the mountains of Arakan without food, water, or medicine in an attempt to avoid slaughter by the military & armed civilian death squads.
Those who have crossed the border arrive with bullet wounds, broken bones, life-threatening injuries, respiratory diseases, infections, malnutrition, & are physically exhausted having traveled for days in flight for their lives. All of them are traumatized & terrorized by seeing entire villages torched, family members, friends, & neighbors raped & executed.
Photo is a Rohingya man carrying his mother as they cross into Bangladesh. Consider the enormity of their suffering. Stop the genocide of the Rohingya people. Full solidarity with their struggle for human, democratic, civil, & refugee rights.
(Photo from CNN)