Monday, January 07, 2013

Myanmar Morass

First, we had government-orchestrated ethnic cleansing of the muslim Rohingya minority in Rahkine State who are denied citizenship, passports, access to health-care, education and decent jobs. Mobs of buddhist extremists have been torching whole Rohingya villages with little hinderance from the police or military. Hundreds have died and more than 100,000 people have been forced to flee. Nobel laureate and "pro-democracy" leader Aung San Suu Kyi has referred to Rohingyas with the pejorative term "Bengalis" suggesting to some that she does not recognise them as fellow-citizens.

Now Myamars "democratic" and "approved" government are conducting air attacks by fighter jets and helicopter gun-ships, as well as heavy shelling from 105mm and 120mm mortars on another of its minorities, the Karen. The United Nations has repeatedly demanded humanitarian access to an estimated 70,000 people displaced by fighting that resurfaced in June 2011, ending a 17-year truce agreed after decades of bloody battles.

 Bertil Lintner, a journalist, author and expert on Myanmar's ethnic conflicts, who recently visited Kachin State "Fundamentally, nothing has changed, it's the same people in power, they're just much more clever at managing things."

 "Skeptics had warned the international community not to get too caught up in all the excitement of the changes going on,"
said Christopher Roberts, a Myanmar expert at the Australia National University. "This escalation is enough to spark a debate on whether sanctions were removed too soon."

The haste, of course, can be explained by the rush to acquire access to Myanmar's natural resources.

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

China and Myanmar