What is Going on in Myanmar Right Now?

September 18, 2018

Despite a decline in mainstream media coverage, affairs in this country are far from tranquil.

 

 Photo: The New York Public Library on Unsplash 

 

Just months ago, the news media was absolutely up in arms in outrage regarding the Rohingya ethnic cleansing occurring in Myanmar, where a Muslim minority people known as the Rohingya is being raped, slaughtered, and forcibly exiled by Myanmar’s Buddhist military. Articles in The New York Times called the atrocities a full on “genocide.”  There were also calls for the Nobel Prize to be stripped from Aung San Suu Kyi, one of Myanmar’s leaders who has refused to speak out on behalf of the persecuted Rohingya.

 

Time and time again, there were anticipated outpourings of sympathy for the victims of the Myanmar genocide and empty promises of support. However, the amount of coverage on the ongoing crisis has significantly diminished in recent weeks. Since the problem is nowhere near solved, it is important for us as a civilized society to continue to monitor it and look for any possible solutions, or even signs of relief, in Myanmar.

 

In a time where the media has proven to be eurocentric, it is the responsibility of journalists to provide the public with information on overlooked tragedies like this. On that note, here are some updates on the Rohingya genocide.

 

It was all planned

 

One of the most dramatic breakthroughs in the investigation of Myanmar’s government with its relation to the mass murder of Rohingya Muslims was that the process was not spontaneous, but ominously methodical. A recent report by Fortify Rights, a Thai international NGO (non-government organization) that focuses on the advocacy of human rights, suggested that the Myanmar military systemically gave weapons to non-Rohingya civilians and cut off humanitarian and financial aid to Rakhine State (where the majority of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims live and where the genocide largely took place) shortly before the attacks started.

 

The mutilation of Rohingya society

 

Another chilling development is that Myanmar’s military has now admitted that they actively targeted and killed educated Rohingya people, particularly school teachers, so that “there would be no community leaders left willing to speak up against the pervasive abuse.” Soldiers even asked “where are the teachers” to the people in the villages they ransacked. To say that this is horrifying is an understatement. Unfortunately, this tactic is not a new one. The same method was used by Hitler to wipe out his Communist political rivals before he exterminated the helpless Jews. It is also the reason as to why Stalin went after his closest and most powerful colleagues in government before purging the rest of his critics. This level of calculated brutality only cements Myanmar’s government officials and military leaders as comparable to the worst people human history has to offer.

 

What can be done now?


Although well-known organizations like Change.org and Amnesty International have recruited thousands of people internationally to sign petitions urging the United Nations and Myanmar’s military leaders to put a stop to the violence, the only way for real progress to occur in this crisis is if the international community remains vigilant in their quest for justice. They must perpetually pressure Myanmar to cease its ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, be it through actions like economic sanctions or threats of military intervention against Myanmar’s armed forces. Therefore, the media must constantly highlight developments in the Rohingya genocide to ensure that the persecuted innocents of Myanmar are never forgotten by the rest of the world.

 

Tuhin Chakraborty is an 18 year old freshman at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. He is considering studying History and Political Science there. His favorite book is Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert. Tuhin believes that success is gaining the respect of everyone who knows you. He steps up for Civic Engagement: getting young people involved in politics and community action.

 

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