Burmese Days

May 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Whilst Muslims in certain areas of the UK are living in fear of reprisal attacks from bone-headed thugs, the Muslims of Burma (or Myanmar) live in fear of their businesses, their lives and their homes being taken from them. If you’ve ever had the good fortune of reading Orwell’s fantastic novel ‘Burmese Days’, set in Burma under British colonial rule, you’ll understand that the Burmese were thoroughly oppressed by their British rulers.

What is surprising now is that a sizeable chunk of the Rakhine Buddhist population have split themselves from the Rohingya Muslim population and began oppressing them. They’ve adopted a ‘strategy’ that could be described as being the illicit love-child of Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden. One of the most outspoken Buddhist monks, Sayadaw Wirathu, even goes as far as to label himself the ‘Burmese bin Laden’. His sermons and speeches attack Muslims and Islam, claiming that they are taking over Myanmar and will prevent Buddhists from practicing their faith.

He claims that they are buying out all of the land and the buildings, using their money to take young Buddhist women, outbreeding the ‘native’ Burmese and ‘infiltrating’ political parties. Interestingly he claims that Aung San Suu Kyi’s party is under particular threat of infiltrators, which seems a little outlandish given her relative silence on the entire matter. According to him ‘They’ve got her’.

Last year saw some 180 Rohingya killed (though figures vary) and 120,000 displaced, it saw nationalists call for a boycott of trade with all Muslims, it saw riots, it saw villages burnt to the ground, it saw refugees attempt to escape over the border to Bangladesh only to be turned back to face continued persecution and it saw very little media attention. This year is no better, in fact the persecution is escalating.

Bangladeshi Buddhists have been quietly crossing the border, re-settling around the edges of Rohingya villages causing increased tensions in the area. The Rohingya people have lived in the area for almost a millennia yet are not currently ‘recognised’ by the Myanmar government as citizens, but as refugees with limited access to basic amenities such as schools. Now the very real fear amongst the Rohingya is that the government are trying to force them from their home through fear, oppression and violence.

The latest development, a truly shocking one at that, comes in the form of a two-child limit enforced upon the Rohingya. Immediate thoughts turn to China where there has been a ‘One Child Policy’ since 1979, but in truth there is no comparison as China does not target this policy at specific ethnic groups. My friend Omnia brought it to my attention that in Myanmar this policy only applies to Rohingya.

The policy itself actually dates back to 1994 but until now has never been enforced. A government-appointed commission identified rapid population growth as one of the key factors behind the ‘sectarian violence’ last year. For this reason the government is implementing this ban in two Muslim-dominated townships along the border with Bangladesh: Buthidaung and Maundaw. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Western-appointed saviour of Burmese democracy, has spoken out against this policy but is mere condemnation enough?

To this end, it’s clear that the official policy of the Myanmar Government is the Ethnic-Cleansing of the Rohingya people. If this plan is successful, the consequences for the Rohingya are stark. Not only will they lose their homes, they don’t have anywhere else to go. They will be forced to live under the increasingly repressive rule of the Buddhist majority. That’s if they’re still alive.

The world’s media have been silent for too long. And by silent I don’t mean that the plight of the Rohingya has gone unreported, I mean that it has not been reported enough with actual purpose. The reports we’ve read are somewhat disjointed and focus on ‘Sectarian Violence’ and ‘Riots’ when the Rohingya dare to fight back against their Rakhine oppressors, instead of what’s happening: Ethnic Cleansing. It’s unacceptable and the world needs to be informed.

Why should we care though? For the same reason western news agencies fawned over Aung Sang Suu Kyi during her house arrest. It’s unfair, it’s unjust and it’s inhumane.

Why such a difference in the reporting? Well, it is said that a man can be judged by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. Supporting Suu Kyi during her incarceration was aimed at opening Myanmar to democracy and therefore trade (note Coca Cola resumed trade there this year), whereas supporting 4% of a population (Rohingya) will give a far smaller financial benefit. Now is the time for wealthy western nations to develop a more compassionate foreign policy, because pursuing this exploitative one is damaging both the environment and humanity itself.

It looks increasingly like the Rohingya’s Burmese Days are numbered, we should do all that we can to ensure this is not the case.

The Woolwich Reaction

May 22, 2013 at 7:10 pm

As many will already know, or will be arriving home to find out, a young male was murdered in Woolwich today. I won’t go into the details as that will no doubt be extensively covered in the media over the next week or so, besides it’s so disgusting and evil I can barely comprehend it.

The first thing to say is that my heart goes out to the family and friends of the young man whose life was ended so prematurely, so abruptly and so unjustly. The attack itself was horrific and seemingly out of the blue. Initial reports (including a filmed speech by the attacker) indicate that it was carried out by a man purporting to be Muslim.

Before this video appeared though, the media and Political reaction was almost as shocking as the event itself. The BBC’s Nick Robinson claimed the attacker had the appearance of a Muslim, quite how this kind of conjecture came to be broadcast by a journalist is disgusting. Nick later claimed to be quoting a politician who quoted a police officer. Also quite worrying, given the attacker wasn’t wearing particularly Islamic clothing, how can a man look Muslim if he’s wearing normal clothes? Strange.

The political reaction is even more disturbing. David Cameron believes there is a strong possibility that this attack could potentially be a terrorist attack, COBRA has had an emergency meeting, MI5 is briefing Theresa May and Ed Miliband is cutting short a trip to Germany. Why, why, why and why? Having watched the video, they attacker claims to be Muslim indeed. But why is this attack on one person considered a ‘Terrorist’ attack? Why is that the instinctive reaction of the media and political establishment?

The hypocrisy on display is so brash and in-your-face it’s quite unbelievable to see. The facts are: Black man, presumed Muslim, murders a white man who we now know to be a soldier. Where is the terrorism? I see a sickening, brutal murder. A crime. While the media, police and politicians were scrambling to establish whether the attacker was actually a Muslim or not, they were unsure whether to treat this as a matter of criminality or terrorism.

So the obvious questions are: if a non-Muslim kills a man why is it just a crime, not terrorism? Why is it if a Muslim is involved in a crime that it’s immediately linked to terrorism? Why is the Woolwich attacker a terrorist for killing one man, yet the man accused of killing and raping April Jones is just a criminal? Surely little girls and parents are terrorised by the thought of Paedophiles and Murderers? Why was Ryan Lanza in America immediately considered insane, yet today’s attacker isn’t? Why are the countless murders every week all over Britain considered murders not terrorist attacks?

There are so many more questions and the answers are all the same. The media hates Islam, Politicians hate Islam and the campaign to convince a majority of the general public to join them in mutual hatred is well underway. But just to clarify something, something that shouldn’t need clarifying: Islam does not want to conquer Britain, Islam does not seek to kill non-Muslims, Islam is a religion of peace. Muslims, however, are just as susceptible to mental illnesses and criminality as non-Muslims whereas Non-Muslims are actually more like to commit terror attacks in Europe than Muslims.

Scapegoat Politics

May 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

David Cameron has been on the offensive this week after two of his frontline cabinet ministers almost sort of broke ranks at the weekend. Michael Gove and some other bloke who looks like your atypical Tory, and whose name is instantly forgettable, both declared they would vote to leave the EU if a referendum where to be held today.

This gave David an excellent opportunity to appear on his favourite mouthpiece, or rather TV channel, and give one of his endearing head-masterly type speeches where he left us in no doubt that there won’t be a referendum until 2017. I absolutely love watching our glorious leader’s appearances on the tellybox. He’s such a natural in front of the camera, his appearances are NEVER stage-managed unlike that odd-looking commie Miliband fellow and what’s more you simply cannot beat a leader who talks to his subjects like primary school children. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Sarcasm and sick buckets aside, Nigel Farage has really hit a big blue Tory nerve within the last month. You see, the thing about the Tories is they’re a bit like Millwall FC fans in a small way. They know nobody likes them, but the key difference (aside from the fact Millwall fans know what hard graft REALLY is) is that the Tories do care. To an extent. The Tories need us on their side for them to gain and regain power, but they know that their ideologies and policies if presented openly would repulse the common person.

One might think that the thing to do then would be to, I don’t know, change tack? They could adapt policy and/or ideology to suit the political, social and economic landscape around them to win public support. This way Britain would actually move forward and the general public would slowly begin to warm to this bunch of work-shy, trust-funded, elitist toffs.

What the Tories and to a much lesser extent, Farage’s UKIP, do instead is manipulate the political, social and economic landscape to suit their own ideology. A few examples spring immediately to mind: ‘This mess we’ve inherited’ was a phrase synonymous with the first 3 years of Conservative rule, EU bureaucracy accepted a part-time role initially but has sprung to the foreground more recently, the Welfare bill has been under attack from day one, Immigration has been an underlying theme to Tory ideology for decades and this week Boris Johnson said that laziness in the workforce is the reason for our economic woes.

All of the examples above may contain a tiny element of truth. Perhaps the outgoing Labour government did overspend a bit, perhaps EU Bureaucracy can be a little irritating at times, perhaps some benefit claimants do take advantage, perhaps some immigrants have hindered our cause and perhaps some of our workforce are a bit lazy. What Cameron has expertly done is manipulate the public to believe that these issues are far worse than they actually are, and that the only possible solution is his. Effectively he has engineered problems for which the only remedy is traditional Conservative ideology.

So for ‘This mess’ we have swingeing, indiscriminate cuts across the board as well as privatisation of the NHS; for EU bureaucracy we have pointless negotiations leading to an eventual referendum in 2017; for the welfare bill we have the likes of ATOS and Bedroom Tax (with Top-rate tax cuts somehow thrown in); for Immigration we have changes to welfare policy, immigration caps and more pointless negotiations with the EU on Bulgarians & Romanians and for the lazy workforce we have ‘Workfare’ or, as it is known throughout history, slavery.

Cameron has picked up on the media-driven public perception of ‘major’ issues and instead of confronting that perception with the cold, hard facts he’s chosen to buy a high-power wave machine to stir the waters and surf the resulting tidal waves. He then panders to the misinformed public by bringing in legislation that ‘fixes’ these scapegoats or faux-issues whilst the real issues lurking in the background continue to grow and grow. He is effectively the waste management firm that dumps rubbish in big holes in the ground and just hopes it’ll all just disappear. And for him it will, it’ll be someone else’s problem in 2015 or 2020.

What the public need to realise is that David Cameron, Nick Clegg and their respective parties are not actually making one jot of positive difference to this country as a whole, neither in the short, medium or long term. All they are doing is using scapegoats to buy time for themselves.

But why? Well Politics is about the gaining or regaining of power for personal benefit, the benefits of wielding power are enormous. Particularly if you side with big corporations over the little people. And that is exactly what modern Conservatism is all about, large corporations driving forever increasing profits from the pockets of the common person. Presently, the Tories are using scapegoats and false issues to make you think they’re helping you. Well they’re not, they’re helping themselves.

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