Fear of Myanmar genocide gain momentum
Independent online news group The Irrawaddy is the latest publication to pose the question of a looming genocide in Myanmar in the wake of the release of two reports into so-called “inter-religious” and “inter-racial” violence in the country.
Penned by Burmese national Sai Latt, a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University in Canada, the article, Signs of Coming Genocide in Burma? says “Burma now displays the early warning signs of genocide” and takes a cutting swipe at fellow Burmese nationals, including Aung Myo Min, the director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB).
Also under fire from Mr Sai is the Myanmar government-sponsored Arakan Conflict Inquiry Commission’s report into the death and destruction in Rakhine State (Arakan State) in June last year that some say left more than 1,000 Rohingya and Kaman Muslims dead and more than 90,000 homeless, and which amongst other things recommends “promoting birth control among Rohingya women”.
In a pithy article Mr Sai said: “Burmese tend to conflate “ethnic cleansing” and genocide based on two assumptions: that the outbreak of violence is sudden and that many thousands are killed. This is a misconception, leading many Burmese to assume genocide has not taken place in their country.”
Drawing parallels between the rewards and praise bestowed on the 1994 Hutu-dominated government of president Juvénal Habyarimana as it proceeded down the path of democratic multi-party electoral reform and those currently being heaped on Myanmar as a result of its reforms, Mr Sai says “the inflow of aid money, [the] International Crisis Group’s award to President Thein Sein, and the US’s plan for military engagement, are the Burmese equivalent of Rwanda.”
In a grim appraisal Mr Sai says: “In Burma, most people reject the term genocide to protect the innocence of the nation they are so dear to. It is hard to imagine that their denial supports mass slaughter. But denying the warning signs is not really serving their purpose… Unlike Rwanda, Burma has been forewarned”, he said.