Kashmiri feminist & human rights activists & the women survivors of the 1991 mass rape in the villages of Kunan & Poshpora are playing a central role, along with the Mayan women of Guatemala, in exposing the issue of mass rape as a weapon of war. It is not an issue of sex-deprived soldiers running wild but of armies using mass rape as a weapon of domination & social control in war, occupation, & genocide.
This is a recent article in BBC about Kunan & Poshpora, the ongoing struggle for justice, & the importance of understanding rape as a weapon of war with shame adhering only to the occupying army & not to the survivors of their crimes.
Remember those military sanctions imposed on Burma by the European Union, US, & Canada because of human rights crimes? The sanctions with loopholes big enough to move military aid through under the guise of humanitarian aid & human rights training to the Burmese military? Well what we have here is an illustration of those loopholes. On the right is Burma’s Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, architect of the Rohingya genocide, visiting the Defense & Security 2017 Exposition for ASEAN countries held last week under the aegis of Thailand’s military junta.
One would think the military sanctions would prevent Burma’s Genocidaire-in-Chief & his entourage of military officials from attending a trade show to inspect the latest in high-tech warfare. But as we well know from the arming of ISIS & other rightwing paramilitary death squads operating in Syria (& elsewhere), billions of dollars of arms industry transactions are black market operations. So if Burma wants to get its hands on any of the new equipment, it only has to make a list & hand it to one of its operatives–possibly one of those associated with the CIA or Mossad–or to its Chinese, Russian, or Israeli arms dealers.
According to the Thai organizers of Defense & Security 2017, there were 300 official military delegations from over 40 countries & attendees from 60 countries inspecting the arsenals displayed by over 400 defense & security manufacturers from 50 countries including the US, UK, twelve European nations, Canada, Israel, India, South Africa, Australia, China, Japan, Jordan, Pakistan, Lebanon.
So much for those military sanctions imposed on Burma for genocide. Justice for the Rohingya people rests with mobilizing human rights supporters around the world demanding our governments enforce sanctions & close the loopholes large enough to move armored tanks through.
(Photo from FB wall of Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing)
Certainly I’m not alone in thinking the monstrous genocide against the Rohingya people has unintentionally exposed the nexus of political criminality linking fascist Burma to Israel & the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians to India & the occupation of Kashmir to Syria & the Islamophobia & anti-Semitism of Assad supporters to the US, Canada, European countries, China, Russia, & other countries for complicity in the Rohingya genocide. More than a nexus, it’s almost a circularity of criminality. Some may see this as too daunting to challenge but for the oppressed & their supporters it means solidarity is essential & just as importantly that the stronger struggles against war, occupation, & genocide become, reverberations will be felt in struggles around the world to the advantage of the oppressed.
This is Israeli president Reuven Rivlin accepting a bouquet from Burmese Genocidaire-in-Chief General Min Aung Hlaing in appreciation for Israel selling arms to Burma to conduct genocide against the Rohingya people. This was at a meeting in Jerusalem on September 10th, 2017.
Haaretz put its criticism so cogently after pointing out that in the 1990s Israel also sold weapons to the genocidal governments of Rwanda & Serbia: “To send weapons to a government that’s guilty of genocide is very similar to (excuse the comparison) sending weapons to Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. Our leaders nevertheless did this knowingly & desecrated the memory of the Holocaust in the process. It’s important to stress that they turned both you & me into criminals, into accessories to a crime & to abettors of genocide.”
Regrettably, Haaretz did not point out that Israel was founded & survives on the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian people.
Honoring BDS, the economic & cultural boycott of Israel, is a powerful way to stand in solidarity with Palestinians against ethnic cleansing & with the Rohingya people against genocide. Buy nothing with a barcode beginning 729 & check every label. The fate of the oppressed in inextricably linked.
(Photo from General Min Aung Hlaing’s FB page)
Trump, Duterte, & Malcolm Turnbull from Australia doing a bonding ritual at the ASEAN summit in Manila: clearly they did not allow the Rohingya genocide, Duterte’s death squad war against the urban poor & martial law & bombing war against Muslims, Turnbull’s torturous imprisonment of refugees, or the many wars the US & Australia are engaged in to interfere with sweatshop economic cooperation or the military buildup in the South Asia region.
The Mueller investigation is focused on Trump & his minion’s financial dealings with Russia but the Trump family has real estate dealings all over the world including in India & the Philippines which have not been investigated for conflict of interest. For several years, even before Duterte’s regime, the Philippine’s ruling elite, in accordance with IMF-World Bank neoliberal economic policies, have been forcibly evicting & torching Manila slums to make room for development of resorts, upscale malls, free trade zones. This is an investigation I did last January on Trump Towers in Manila which is directly tied to Duterte’s death squad war on the poor; Trump & Duterte could be impeached & prosecuted on these grounds alone: https://www.maryscullyreports.com/2017/01/29/
(Photo from Twitter)
The Ministry of Information for the so-called civilian government headed by Suu Kyi announced that Rakhine state officials & developers are preparing sites for construction of buildings where refugees repatriated from Bangladesh “would be scrutinized”. The announcement is necessarily vague but these buildings appear to be for Hindus who survived attack & execution by fleeing to Bangladesh with the Rohingya. If they “would be scrutinized” by officials, repatriation of Hindus who were already attacked would not be safe.
The Rakhine officials also met with developers about building “repatriation camps” for refugees who fled to Bangladesh because “their houses were destroyed by ARSA extremist terrorists”. Again the announcement is vague, but these would likely be concentration camps like the ones they set up after the 2012 genocidal offensive against the Rohingya people.
Anyone still looking to the Suu Kyi government as a counterbalance to the fascist military junta?
Pope Francis has accepted Burma’s invitation to make an official state visit from November 27th to 30th. He is scheduled to meet with Suu Kyi, the president & other government officials, the Buddhist supreme council, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo & the other Catholic bishops.
Judging from this photo of Catholic bishops bowing to Suu Kyi, Pope Francis has his work cut out for him. Some viewing this photo mistakenly thought curtsying to political power was part of Roman Catholic liturgy but in fact servility is a practice rooted in feudalism, not in Catholic theology. Apparently the Burmese Catholic prelates have resumed the servile stance to better serve the fascist military junta which rules Burma.
Pope Francis will be walking into a mine field on his visit since he has more than once spoken in support of the Rohingya people against persecution. The question is, what advantage did Suu Kyi & the generals hope to gain by inviting the pope to Burma? Have they hopes he will become as compromised with genocide as Cardinal Charles Maung Bo who asked Pope Francis not to use the name Rohingya when he speaks to the Burmese genocidaires? Will the pope then agree to speak in ambiguities, referring to Muslim suffering rather than Rohingya genocide? Or will he soften condemnation like the Dalai Lama who called the genocide “sort of harassing some Muslims”?
It isn’t certain what Pope Francis hopes to gain either for the Catholic Church or for Rohingya solidarity by making an official visit to Burma while the government is conducting genocide. The truth is, it’s a serious political blunder for him to make this visit because it renders legitimacy to the Burmese government & the fiction of a civilian government headed by Suu Kyi. He will be moving on to Bangladesh after his visit to Burma. If he compromises himself when addressing the genocidaires of Burma, any gestures he makes toward the Rohingya refugees can only be considered pathetic grandstanding. When one bows before genocide, not even the pope can stand up, dust off his knees, & speak with apostolic authority again.
(Photo from Twitter)
Different sources are reporting the number of Rohingya refugees since August 25th differently. Some report just over 600,000, some 800,000, others 900,000 & some just round it up to 1 million. Truth of the matter is that no one knows for sure since the numbers are so overwhelming. That means the majority of Rohingya who have lived in Arakan state for centuries have now been driven into exile by genocide.
There is not yet a reliable assessment of how many Rohingya were executed, imprisoned, or confined to concentration camps but there are thousands who remain in Arakan state. So we must continue to demand Burma end the genocide by withdrawing all its troops & dismantling all its bases & demand our own governments take action by imposing & enforcing economic & military sanctions on Burma.
There’s no point playing into the scam about forcibly repatriating Rohingya refugees back to Burma. What Rohingya refugees want is what guides our political actions. We have to vigorously campaign for asylum rights in our own countries with travel papers, safe transportation, & full rights to work, education, healthcare, social services. The Rohingya refugee crisis is part of the international crisis of refugees denied asylum from war, occupation, genocide, plunder. Commitment to them will strengthen all campaigns for refugee rights for the millions of people around the world forced to flee for their survival.
(Photo of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh by thegobetweengoat on Instagram)
Not letting genocide stand in the way of doing business, a delegation from the International Monetary Fund visited Burma this week for its annual economic checkup. The Reuters reporter Lesley Wroughton said: “While IMF missions do not look into politics, they do consider ramifications of political developments on an economy. So far, there are no signs that the crisis has had a direct bearing on Myanmar’s economy because it is located in a remote northern part of Rakhine State.” Where can we begin to fill in the reporter on what she missed in Economics 101 about the inextricable nexus between economics & politics?
Perhaps the reporter does she not understand the stranglehold the military has over every aspect of the Burmese economy but it is not possible the IMF is unaware that the generals or their minions & relatives control the economy top to bottom, including banking, trade & commerce, telecommunications, industry, transportation, the Suu Kyi government–& genocide. If the Rohingya genocide has not affected the economics of Burma, it is not because Arakan/Rakhine state is remote but because none of the junta’s investment partners from the US, Canada, Europe, India, China, & elsewhere give a damn about justice or genocide but only about financial returns on their billions of dollars of investments in the neoliberal gold rush in Burma. If the politics of genocide do not have an impact on economics (yet), it is only because neither fascism nor genocide will stand in the way of profits–which is why these investment partners so elaborately maintain the fiction of a civilian government led by Suu Kyi that can bring reform.
Photo is Rohingya refugees coming off a raft they improvised from plastic & bamboo to cross the Naf River. They are having a powerful affect on world politics, no matter what the generals, Suu Kyi, & other governments claim, by bringing millions around the world to their defense.
(Photo by Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)
Being slick in the same way Obama was, Canadian president Justin Trudeau put on his mad face when he met yesterday with Aung San Suu Kyi at a side meeting during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam. Since the APEC summit is a gathering of some of the most repressive governments in the world, there’s no point in asking why Burma was allowed to attend while it is conducting genocide against the Rohingya people or why that genocide wasn’t the number one topic of discussion about economic cooperation with Burma.
There’s no transcript of the meeting between Trudeau & Suu Kyi but Bob Rae–who Trudeau appointed last month as an adviser & special envoy to Burma for the Rohingya crisis–claims Trudeau was “very direct.” There probably isn’t much diplomatic distance between Trudeau’s “very direct” compared to Trudeau’s usual smarmy in relation to Suu Kyi & Burma. If we want to know what the real relationship is between Canada & Burma we need only read the business pages, particularly those concerned with joint ventures between Canadian mining companies & the military junta which controls the Burmese economy. These joint ventures involve widespread land confiscations from farmers, massive environmental destruction, human rights crimes (including the use of white phosphorous against protesters) & egregious violations of labor rights.
Along with the US & EU, Canada imposed economic sanctions on Burma between 2007 & 2012, including an arms embargo with loopholes big enough to move subsidies through in the form of so-called humanitarian aid. The Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines (now named Turquoise Hill Resources) had a 50/50 joint venture project with the military called the Monywa Copper Mine. It was an open pit mine (the most destructive form of mining) with notorious environmental, human rights & labor rights crimes investigated by Amnesty International. To comply with economic sanctions, Ivanhoe Mines divested its fifty-percent stake in the project in a labyrinth of secretive dealings, creating the third-party Monywa Trust to circumvent scrutiny while breaching the sanctions. Amnesty International in Canada has asked the Canadian government to investigate this financial maneuver but Trudeau has not complied. It appears Monywa mine assets have now been transferred from the trust to a joint venture between China & the military. Once again, the divestment arrangements are secretive.
Canada played along with the fiction of a civilian government under Suu Kyi & lifted economic sanctions in 2012. Since 2013, it has provided over $95 million in so-called humanitarian aid, particularly for programs involving women & children’s health. Apparently those programs do not involve Rohingya women & children. It also now has about $17 million in annual trade with Burma. The sanctions were lifted & investments & trade openly resumed at the same time as the Burmese military was conducting genocidal operations against the Rohingya people in 2012, 2015, 2016, & now.
If Canada, the US, & EU want to get in on the neoliberal gold rush in Burma, it is essential to maintain the deceit about Suu Kyi heading a civilian government as a counterbalance to the generals. But since the military controls the Burmese economy, it is impossible to do business in the country without doing business with the military. If one reads the details of the economic sanctions, it is clear Canada, the US & EU know exactly who runs the government & economy of Burma. That’s why they are all reluctant & even opposed to censuring Suu Kyi for the Rohingya genocide–hoping to breath new life into the tattered fiction of Suu Kyi as a human rights icon leading a civilian government. The military is in complete charge in Burma & always has been with Suu Kyi playing an essential & willing role in the deceit.
(Photo of Trudeau with Suu Kyi at APEC side meeting yesterday)