More From Alder's Ledge

November 30, 2012

The End of the November Blitz

Thank You For Your Support


This month's relentless bombardment of post is an unprecedented move in Alder's Ledge's history. It has always been our goal to bring you the most important news on the most important subjects we have to offer. In that sense I feel that Alder's Ledge has kept that goal relevant while maintaining our blitz throughout November.

We began this month with the goal of covering the Native American Genocide in tribute to National Native American History Month. We accomplished that in a couple post and also managed to upload a video on Thanksgiving covering the topic in some detail. Now we would like to thank you for watching that video and sharing it. It was important to us to upload it on that day and to bring some recognition to the tragic events that also shaped this great nation.

In addition to covering the ongoing genocide in Burma, the Congo, Sudan, and Syria we have brought up the subjects of modern day slavery, sex trafficking, and child labor. In fact, if you recall, child labor was the first post of November when we covered the use of child labor in the production of chocolate. This was a post that was intentionally put up on Alder's Ledge the day after Halloween... a chocolate based holiday anymore.

With that said I would imagine that it is now clear to those who read this blog that Alder's Ledge is now covering a wider range of human rights issues. While genocide is still the main focus of our blog it will now be added to in our arsenal of topics to cover. We will now cover human trafficking and sex trafficking both here in America and around the world. In addition we will also be focusing on child labor and child soldiers anywhere and at any time these issues might occur. And finally, we will also be focusing on all forms of slavery and indentured servitude that come to our attention. After all, each and every one of these subjects are important and need to be brought into the conversations we have a society. It is only in recognizing these problems that we can start to find ways to combat them.

Please understand that this post is not meant to say goodbye to our newly increased level of activity. This post is meant to offer once again the opportunity for anyone who might be wanting to help write for Alder's Ledge. As we end November we begin our next campaign. And in December we will be making a concentrated effort at finding new sources and new contributors to Alder's Ledge.

Feel free to contact us or leave you information in the comment section below. Note that your information will not be posted since all comments must be read before they are allowed to be posted. We will contact you as soon as possible if you do wish to write for our blog. And once again, thank you to everyone who has supported us on FaceBook, Twitter, and even on Instagram. More importantly, thank you for your patience with us as we have had a sudden increase post. We understand that this blitz was unannounced and for many a sudden surprise.

~ Alder's Ledge

Kaman Suffer Alongside Rohingya

No Place For Muslims Within Myanmar
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Organized Slaughter of Muslims in Burma) 

Since mid summer the world has watched as the Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state have been targeted and attacked by their Buddhist neighbors. For nearly half a year now we have seen countless cases of violence that are tantamount to ethnic cleansing. And yet the world has failed to do anything about it. Worse of all, most world leaders refuse to call these killings what they really are, genocide. 

As the darkness of genocide has spread across western Burma the victims of these attacks have all but been forgotten. The reasons for their deaths have been pushed to the back of newspapers or websites so as to hide the conflict all together. And in doing this we have failed to stop the killings or even recognize those who are dead and dieing. 

For those of us who are bearing witness to this tragedy it is hard to look past the Rohingya, who make up the majority of the victims. We have in a way made them our poster child in a campaign to halt the blood shed. And with some justification in doing so, we have focused on their plight with a sense of tunnel vision as the world passed us by. 

In reality their are more than just Rohingya men, women, and children being targeted in the Rakhine. Their Muslim brothers and sisters who are not ethnic Rohingya are also being targeted. The Kaman Muslims in Myanmar are at risk of being targeted simply due to their religion. They too suffer from the wave of ethnic cleansing that has engulfed Burma. Yet the world has given little concern for their well-being or for their dead.



November 29, 2012

The Truth Will Always Find A Way

WARNING: Very Graphic Content. Viewer Discretion Is Advised.
(Part of the Darkness Visible series)



No sooner had I posted the prior update on Syria that a video out of Aleppo leaked out onto the web. This video is the latest look at what an "all out push" by Assad looks like. MIG jets once again bombing civilian targets as heavy artillery "softens" the the targets ahead of Assad's military.

This video is not pleasant for anyone to watch. The deaths of these civilians could have and should have been prevented. But this is what it looks like when the world does nothing. This is what it looks like when good men remain silent while evil men go unopposed.

It is time to wake up. It is damn well past the time to stop this cold blooded slaughter of innocent civilians. Assad must be stopped.

Blacked Out In Hell

Assad Guarantees No Syrians Will See This Post
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Internet Shut off at 10:30am Across Syria) 

With the war in Syria grinding its way through the 20th consecutive month the Assad dictatorship has apparently become desperate to stop the uprising from having access to its lifeblood... the outside world. In a move that has drawn harsh criticism Bashar al-Assad has shut down the Internet within Syria. It is not clear if the services will return under foreign pressure. But it is clear to human rights observers as to why Assad has taken this dramatic action in his attempt to smash his opposition.

Media blackouts have been common when it comes to Assad and his massacres. Before the last two massacres there were minor interruptions in communications with the outside world. In the last pogrom Assad interrupted the Internet surrounding Houla in an attempt to black out any videos arising from the area. These attempts to stifle the truth from flowing out of Syria failed. So now we must ask if this new nationwide black out is a smoke screen like it had been back in Houla?


We do know now that Assad is fighting fierce battles in and around Damascus. The war for Aleppo was lost to a stale mate for Assad's forces. Now the war is coming with even more ferocity to the capital city. Car bombs rack the Syrian army every time they try to rush off to a new guerrilla street fight. Planes that had ruled the air around Aleppo are now being brought down by Free Syrian Army surface to air missiles. And yet the fighting seems to still be stuck in grid lock as Russia and China continue to poor money into Assad's reserves. 


With Russia printing Assad's money for him the dictator can continue to pay off Iranian mercenaries and Shabiha thugs. The flow of cash means that Assad can continue to pay for his secret prisons and purchase new tools with which to torture his own citizens. These billions of dollars means that Assad can use his own money, thus keeping Russia's hands clean, to purchase more Iranian weapons and Chinese ammunition. It also means that Assad has the money to fund an all out push for wide spread atrocities across the country.

In addition to cutting Internet services Assad also cut cellphone services in the country. This makes it appear that the dictator has admitted that cellphone pictures have been the leading source of "eyewitness testimony" against his war crimes. After all, it was the cellphone videos uploaded to YouTube that first alerted the West to the horrific war crimes committed by the Shabiha in Houla. It was the images of children having been bound and executed by Assad's thugs that first raised concern amongst governments in Europe and the Americas. So once again we must pose the question of whether or not Assad is preparing to launch an all out push against his opposition across the country? And how far will Assad take the country before the lights come back on? 

Some outside sources have suggested that the cutting of communications was an overreaction to the car bomb attacks that rocked suburbs of Damascus earlier this morning. Around 50 people were killed in the attacks. Yet it is hard for Alder's Ledge to buy into this excuse since the car bombs were set off in Christian and Druze neighborhoods. A fact that rules out any sympathies an Alawite Islamic leader might have for the dead. In addition the very leader that cut the communications is the same leader that began targeting Christian and Druze Syrians shortly after the uprising began. 

(Syrian Neighborhood Rocked By Explosions This Morning)

We do know that Assad had already made plans to make a push somewhere around the international airport where rebels had been attacking for days. And shortly after cutting communications Assad did in fact start such a push against the Free Syrian Army. And in an effort to get planes back in the air and landing at the airport Assad has begun shelling civilian areas nearby. In this assault to reopen the airport Assad has sent the bulk of his forces into the villages of Babila and Hujaira to the south and Harran al-Awamid to the east. These are also areas where the cellular communications were slashed ahead of the military's arrival. 

If this is a new push to kill off as many "rebels" as the Assad regime can dig up or gather from the civilian population the West may never know. The fact is the lines of communication with the rebel militias are now cut. Outside of the foreign governments supporting the uprising, the rest of us will have to wait till information leaks out over the border into Turkey or Lebanon. What little news reporters are on the ground will also find it hard to get their reports out of the country. 

When the next massacre occurs we will have to wait to hear about it. When the next batch of children are sent off to an alleyway to be gunned down we will never be able to bear witness. When the next wave of Shabiha enter Syrian homes in the middle of the night the world will not hear their screams. This is precisely what Assad wants. The genocidal regime he has led now has all it has ever needed. A vacuum in which to operate. 

It is time for the world to wake up and take action. The darkness that has been covering Syria for nearly two years has now descended into pitch black. The monster in power now has the ability to operate without impediment. The people of Syria are now at risk of suffering far worse than they already have.







Source Document 

World Magazine
 http://www.worldmag.com/2012/11/deadly_twin_car_bombs_explode_in_a_christian_and_druze_suburb_in_syria

Forbes 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymagid/2012/11/29/syria-shuts-off-internet-but-can-they-really-block-information-flow/

Voice Of America 
http://www.voanews.com/content/syria-pushing-back-as-rebels-advance/1555248.html

BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20547799
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20493687


(note that not all documents used are listed)

November 28, 2012

Wal-Mart's Inferno

Bengali Workers Burn Alive As West Turns Away

(112 Workers Died Due To Lack Of Safety)

Last weekend 112 workers showed up to Tazreen Fashions to work for less money than Wal-Mart employees in America make in one hour. The difference is, these Bengali workers would earn that same amount of money in month's time rather than an hour's time. In addition the workers in Bangladesh were given no guarantee of safety in the work place as they worked in a poorly ventilated garments factory. They were also not allowed to leave or take breaks like the Wal-Mart employees back in the States. 

It has become popular these days to attack Wal-Mart without just cause. In this case the death of 112 workers in a sweatshop is just cause. The lives of these workers is far more valuable than the few dollars that shoppers at Wal-Mart will save from their demise. In no way should profits be allowed to trump the human cost of production. 

(Bangladeshis Prepare the Dead for Burial)

In this particular fire the victims were working to produce clothing for not just Wal-Mart. The factory also filled orders for Walt Disney, Sears, and Sean Combs' ENYCE label. All of these companies had orders that were lost in the fire. Each of these companies hold a portion of the responsibility for all 112 deaths their purchases helped cause. And like flies, each of these companies are now abandoning Tazreen Fashions Ltd. without daring to accept that responsibility. 

When tragedies like this occur it is rare that any Western company ever takes responsibility for their own actions. The loss of these peoples' lives is just the "natural order" of things in the world economy. While families and friends bury their loved ones the West looks the other way. While children cry for their parents the companies that funded their deaths are allowed to walk away without a single dime in reparations.

It is a sad fact that this very industry is the backbone of Dhaka and the rest of Bangladesh. In a country impoverished and struggling to modernize it is the textile industry that accounts for 80% of Bangladesh's exports. Yet for its apparent dominance in the Bengali economy the textile industry only accounts for 17% of Bangladesh's economic output. With much of the money earned in this industry never making it into the local economies where the factories produce the exports to start with. 

In a country where textiles are king it appears that the common worker is slave. Foreign investment in the socialist system that prevails in Bangladesh only furthers the lack of income that keeps common Bangladeshi citizens in servitude. And it is this cycle of poverty that has promised all of Bangladesh lower wages and longer hours than even their neighbors in Sri Lanka. This system gives garment companies a nearly free source of labor. 

This latest fire is just another tragedy in a long line of tragedies that has been growing for decades. Since 2006 just over 300 workers have died in factory fires in Bangladesh. Every one of these were lives lost so that the exports of garments could go unchecked. These lives were lost so that Europe and the Americas could receive cheap goods. Yet it is the cost of production, in human lives, that keeps ticking upward. 

There is no clear solution on how to stop governments from allowing the conditions that led to this tragedy from existing within their borders. It is clear however that companies like Wal-Mart and Sears have the power to extract change within the industry through the power of their dollars spent. If Wal-Mart (and other companies in the industry) were to insist upon safe working conditions and fair labor practices within the companies they purchase from the change would occur rapidly. For it is the cash cow, the garment industry, that companies like Tazreen Fashions can not live without. And without demand for their product, or a halt in orders, the industry within Bangladesh (and China for that matter) would have to meet the demands of companies like Wal-Mart. 

Until the buyer of these garments insist upon change, the producers of them will continue to rack up deaths in their production. Both in dealing with factories in Bangladesh and in the checkout lines at your local Wal-Mart.

November 27, 2012

Killing Those Yet To Be Born

Sterilization As A Means of Genocide
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)


In previous post Alder's Ledge has covered the use of sterilization as a weapon and means to keep "undesirables" from maintaining a growing population. Countries such as Norway and Switzerland have used forced sterilization to keep Roma citizens from having children in the past. Germany made the practice notorious with the use of it during the Holocaust. And in America the use of sterilization to further the practice of Eugenics occurred in nearly every state. Today the Rohingya face this threat as Burmese President Thein Sien continues to plot the final stages of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

The fear of forced sterilization has arisen as authorities in Burma have ramped up pressure on the Rohingya minority. In Tan-Seik village Rohingya youth are routinely charged with crimes they have not committed or have not even occurred. In Tan-Ran-Daing village police have confiscated the Rohingya fishing equipment to keep the Rohingya from their main profession. This harassment is only complicated by the fact that the Burmese police also take part in burning the Rohingya homes and attacking those who flee.

Fear of sterilization arises even more prevalently when the police who participate in ethnic cleansing are the same ones who run the jails, detention centers, and ghettos in Myanmar. Have the ability to detain Rohingya youth and women at will give the authorities in Burma the ability to subject the Rohingya to sterilization. For all we know, sterilization may have already begun in the Rohingya ghettos and in Burma's official and secret prisons.

In Norway sterilization of the Romani took place without consent of the woman by disguising the process as another type of surgery. In many cases the Roma woman who was sterilized did not realize what had happened until years later. And in some cases the Roma woman may never have learned that she was sterilized at all.

It is not clear whether or not Burmese officials will use this form of deceit to get Rohingya women to the operating table. In Sin-Gri-Daung village reports are already coming in that medical workers showed up with armed guards unannounced. These reports indicate that the Burmese authorities have no intention of tricking their victims into the procedure. Instead it appears that if widespread sterilization begins the Myanmar authorities will be performing random sweeps to track down their victims.

Other cases of sterilization in Myanmar may arise out of the detention centers that house Rohingya victims. Just as jails in Indiana were once used by Eugenicist to sterilize their victims, it appears that Burma will be doing the same. The only difference is that unlike America's sterilization cases, Myanmar's sterilization may be more closely related to Hitler's final solution.

Just as with Hitler's genocide, Thein Sien's pogroms are geared toward the total annihilation of the Rohingya. The use of sterilization as a tool of genocide guarantees the Burmese government that even if some Rohingya survive their numbers will be forever inhibited. And even if Thein Sien's government does not kill every Rohingya, but sterilizes most of them, they will in affect kill off the next generation of the world's most persecuted people.

November 26, 2012

Genocide and the Bible

The Genocide of the Amalekites


The Jewish Encyclopedia: 'David waged a sacred war of extermination against the Amalekites.' 

Throughout the history of Judaism and the nation of Israel the memory of the Amalekites has never truly been blotted out. Though the story of their annihilation may be hard to retell with historical facts to back it up, the tale of their demise has lived on. Mainly in part to its repeated mention throughout the Torah. 

Numbers 24:20 "Then he looked on Amalek and took up his discourse and said, 'Amalek first among the nations, but it ends in utter destruction.'"

It is in these accounts of the battles against the Amalekites that the ancient Israelis are often seen as killing ruthlessly this opposing tribe. It is in the Torah that the accounts note that G-d commanded of Israel to not only kill the men of Amalek who took to the battlefield but also to slaughter all of the Amalekite women, children, infants, and even their animals. And it is in these accounts that we can not ignore the fact that this act would today be called genocide. 

"Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." 1 Sam. 15:3

Today Christians and Jews alike write off the genocide of the Amalek people. Many claim that G-d himself commanded the actions of Israel so the killing is totally without blame. Others just simply consider the genocide part of ancient history. 

I myself can not answer the questions this subject brings to the surface. I will not attempt to place the blame with my G-d. I will not squarely place the blame with the ancient Israelites. But unlike most of my fellow believers, I will give this ancient tribe its justice in admitting that this was genocide. 


It is also important to note that no religion or race of man today can say that their ancestors have not done the same. Wherever we look in history there are accounts of genocidal wars and what would be called ethnic cleansing today. Islam started out with clear cases of ethnic cleansing in Arabia. Christianity spent countless years of "crusading" to rid the world of opposing views in both recent and ancient times. Buddhism has been used to justify ethnic cleansing in places like Myanmar every since it's spread. And Judaism has recorded it's own cases of genocide throughout the Torah.

It is only when we can accept this part of our own history that we can fully accept our past in its entirety. And when we finally accomplish that we can begin to take meaningful steps to end this grotesque chapter in our history as a species.

November 25, 2012

History In Replay Mode

A Plea For Humanity To Save The Rohingya
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(The Darkness Continues To Engulf The Rohingya)

Words without action are meaningless when one is dealing with irrational minds. The soul once tainted with hate knows no sense of reason. The heart once blinded by this disease knows nothing but pain. This is the reason Obama's good will speech to the Rohingya in Myanmar was worthless. This is why the political gain from Obama's actions were all the President wanted from this trip. 

We live in a world where we let the voices of cowardly leaders heal our sense of injustice far to rapidly. We allow their desire to preserve their own image rather than to act boldly in the face of evil overwhelm our own desire to fight. For this we have no one left to blame but ourselves. For all evil has ever needed was for truly good men to do nothing. And by putting our faith in man that is known for what he doesn't do... we did nothing. 

As the world watched Obama's speak they did not listen to what he had to say. They did not once ask the President to clarify what America thought needed to be done to end this genocide. He did not once lay out a method of attack that America would be willing to take to end the killing. He did not stand toe to toe with the wretched men and woman who have carried out this latest spat of ethnic cleansing. Instead we got what we have always got out of Obama... softly spoken lullabies for those who were about to die.

The Rohingya in Sittwe and the rest of the Rakhine state remain on the run or in hiding as the genocide continues. The ethnic cleansing has spread eastward in Myanmar as the radical Buddhist infect the rest of Burma with their cancer. Rape has become a more pronounce weapon of war against the Muslim Rohinya as the Buddhist attempt to rid "their homeland" of this "invader". Attacks on Rohingya children are on the rise as Myanmar sinks further into the darkness. 

For nearly half a year the world has sat back and listened to their screams. We have watched as the satellite images show their homes and ghettos being burned. We have closed our eyes as images of their dead flash on random news reports. And as best we could, we have covered our ears to attempt to block out the Rohingya peoples' pleas for help.

G-d himself should not forgive those who have the power to stop this sin against all humanity. The leaders of Europe, Canada, and America should all be accused just as much as the Burmese government for these atrocities. China's leaders should burn in hell for their part in helping these crimes flourish... and not just in Myanmar; but in Sudan where China buys oil from war criminals, in Syria where they prop up Assad's murderous rule, and in Tibet where their heavy hands crush the will of a nation. 

Over Thanksgiving Americans sat down to feasts as we celebrated what we were thankful for. Over that same time span nearly a million Rohingya have picked through sacks of rice to make sure everyone had enough food to fit in the palms of their hands. Thousands of Rohingya went without water or food again as Myanmar maintains a forced famine on the Rohingya still trapped in ghettos and Burmese concentration camps. Had this same thing happened here in the States there would be public outrage beyond measure. This morning at churches across the country preachers, pastors, and fathers of the faith would be giving a call to arms for all the good little Christians to come to the aid of their fellow men. On Shabbat the Rabbis would have been pleading with their congregations to give all they had to help those in need. But none of that happened. 

Yesterday Alder's Ledge gave a short review of a movie "The Machine Gun Preacher". A line from that movie has stood out for such an occasion as this. 

"G-d doesn't want more sheep, he wants wolves. Something with more teeth..." 

Now many of you might disagree with the religious meaning of that quote. And for that I wish I could say I am sorry. But as for me, the author of this blog, that quote rings more clearly than anything else ever could when faced with genocide and ethnic cleansing. After all, sheep didn't storm the beaches when my ancestors were being slaughtered by the fascist. Wolves came to Dachau to set the captives free. Wolves came to Buchenwald to liberate those who could not fight for themselves. 

The Western world should stop being the sheep that the genocidal regimes around the world thrive off. We should show that we are willing to stop this sin wherever and whenever it arises. And when need be, we should be willing to take up arms and fight to stop it. We should be willing to die in our battle against it. 

With Myanmar this would mean taking every action to inhibit the government there from committing it. Obama should not have lifted sanctions on Burma. Obama should not have extended America's hand to a government currently engaged in genocide. And we should not be ready to reap the benefits of trade with a government that is willingly engaged in ethnic cleansing.

Instead Obama should have started speaking out against Myanmar the day these attacks began. If Obama is the humanitarian he claims to be, we as a nation should be taking every diplomatic stance we have to leverage our weight against Myanmar's willingness to kill their own people. And if need be, Obama should have taken the steps to force the US and UN into action to stop the genocide given that diplomacy had not worked. 

The United Nations should have been on the ground with guns hot as quickly as possible. Rohingya should have seen the world coming to their aid the minute the pogroms began. Peace Keepers should have been given the command to stop the ethnic cleansing at all cost. 

But all this is fantasy. We live in a world where the good intentions of our leaders is meant to suffice as an excuse for the deaths of millions as genocide spreads across the map. We live in a world where genocide in Libya is met with limited action so as to serve a political aim. We live in a world where genocide by Assad's hands is ignored as long as it stays within Syria's borders. We do not live in a world where the armies of the world come storming the beaches as evil rains all hell down upon them. We do not live in a world where brave men open the gates of hell and liberate those history had forgotten. We do not live in the world my ancestors were blessed to have been brought out of.

November 24, 2012

Machine Gun Preacher in Review

A for Awareness


This might be a first for alder's ledge:  a movie review. 

This author recently watched a Netflix available movie titled "Machine Gun Preacher."  It's gritty, it's rated R for a reason and it's controversial.  But it brings to the table a method to heighten awareness of the child soldiers and mistreat going on in the Sudan if not anything else. 

The movie is based on a real person and a real conflict.  As covered in previous posts- the Sudan has been in the clutches of horrific genocides and rebellions for many years.  This particular film focuses the horror tactics used by the Lord's Resistance Army in terrorizing villages and abducting children for the use of their militia.   This is currently still ongoing.  The real person- the Machine Gun Preacher- Sam Childers is a man that has created a orphanage in the Sudan through the non-profit organization Angels of East Africa he founded.  This too is still currently operating as the war continues in Sudan.

The controversy is always where the facts end and fiction begins.  The movie is "based" on his (Sam Childers' life from his book Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan) Childers' has stated himself the movie has been a bit "hollywoodized" with minor character changes and slight time sequence differences, but overall gets the point.  There are nay-sayers and yay-sayers about this film, about this man and about this ministry.  That is not the point of this post.

This movie begins a much needed awareness to the main stream about the the issue of child soldiers and land mines being used in the world (focusing on the Sudan in this case.)  This movie also shows an audience there are means for them to do something about it.  There are ministries, reliefs, and organizations that one can donate, volunteer and participate in.  (please thoroughly research these before giving out personal information, though.) So the movie gets an A for Awareness from me.  Personally I enjoyed the film, too.


source documents:
Machine Gun Preacher
http://www.machinegunpreacher.org/features/

CP Entertainment
http://www.christianpost.com/news/machine-gun-preacher-real-life-sam-childers-more-unbelievable-55857/

Not all resources are listed




November 23, 2012

A Concert For The Damned?

In Very Poor Taste
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Rohingya Die From Starvation Every Day)

On December 16Th Jason Mraz will be playing a concert to help bring awareness to the plight of people bound in modern day slavery. These victims are bound in modern day practice of slavery we call "human trafficking". Many are traded for slave labor in factories and house servants. Others are indentured servants kept in slavery for most of their lives with the lofty dream of being free once their "debt" is payed off. Most however are traded as sexual slaves forced into lives of prostitution. All are robbed of their freedoms that G-d himself gave each and every one of us from our first breath. 

The concert is part of MTV's program MTV EXIT. It is a project I have supported on Twitter in the past. However the problem with this concert is simple... and obvious to those who follow human rights issues. Especially that of genocide. 

MTV plans to take their showmanship to one of the world's most impoverished hell holes. This place violates all its citizens' basic human rights and liberties. It denies citizenship to those who it deems unworthy of life. And at the current moment is a country actively engaged in the intentional destruction of a specific ethnic group on basis of religion and ethnicity alike. MTV is planning to host this concert, mainly for a Western audience, in Myanmar. 

(Internally Displaced Rohingya Die From Disease)

It is beyond a doubt the most blatant and disgusting attempt at self-adulation I have seen in some time. Practically breaking their arms to pat themselves on the back, MTV EXIT has decided to host a lavish concert in a country where portions of the population can barely eat one meal a day. And instead of recognizing the hellish conditions the Rohingya in Myanmar are subjected to, MTV EXIT wants to point out a human rights violation that has little to do with the genocide Myanmar's government is perpetrating right now. 

Even President Barack Obama, a humanitarian when his political image benefits from it, took time to at least mutter some words of condolence for the Rohingya who were dieing from starvation as he spoke to the Rakhine. MTV EXIT however does not seem ready to confront the worse evil our species has ever brought upon this earth. Instead they would rather carry on with a concert that in the end will only serve to glorify the pompous rich like Jason Mraz. 

(Rohingya Children Are At The Greatest Risk)

Instead of taking meaningful action to help those in need the liberal ideals that tug at the heart would have us listen to hollow words and lullabies for the dead and dieing.

November 22, 2012

No Thanks Thanksgiving

How An American Tradition Is Tainted By Genocide



Please note that this video and post are not meant to protest Thanksgiving but are rather meant to get you to think about the actual story of the Pilgrims. In our attempts to whitewash history we have often romanticized the genocide of the Wampanoag tribe and other Native Americans.

Thank you for visiting and please watch and share this video.

November 21, 2012

Nowhere Left To Hide

Two Hundred Thousand Children At Risk
(Part of the Lost Childhood series)


 Within twenty four hours of capturing Goma the Congolese rebels of M23 began their search for anyone loyal to the government. Those who had worked for the city were hunted down and executed in mass. Anyone who had ties to the military were also rounded up and killed. The numbers of how many were killed are still being estimated as the rebels prepare to move onto their next city.

As for the 200,000 estimated children (under the age of 18) within Goma, the roundups are still happening. These children are now at risk of being forced into conscription with the M23 rebels. This would mean that they would be turned into child soldiers and used as slave labor by the rebel army. Their task would be more dangerous than their adult captors. They could be facing task such as placing landmines, running ammunition under fire, and fetching weapons off fallen soldiers. 

According to UNICEF around 600 children are in immediate danger due to having been separated by from their families. "We know from the recent practices of the groups involved in this latest fighting that unaccompanied children in this part of DRC are in immediate and real danger of forcible recruitment into armed groups," reported World Vision. Once again it is important to remember that nobody can say for sure how many children are being forced into the rebel army. Yet reports of forced recruitment are coming in. 

"Children have nowhere to turn, we can't get to them, and we are hearing reports of groups arming people around Goma. Local partners have seen armed people passing guns and ammunition to civilians this morning, including children aged 16-18. A former child soldier we have worked with in the past told us today: 'I have seen some of my friends receiving weapons and going to fight... they are being told to go and fight the rebels and take their guns'." As reported by World Vision.


These children are, just as everyone else in Goma, afraid and lost as confusion sets in and lawlessness take over. Loyalist are just as likely to take advantage of this sense of helplessness as they too force children into makeshift militias in an attempt to fight off the M23 rebels... something the Congolese military refused to do. With this irony the children of Goma are quickly finding themselves with nowhere left to hide.

Organizations like World Vision and UNICEF are urgently petitioning the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to take action to stop this criminal activity. Many of the human rights groups working in the area have tried to get permission to enter the conflict areas to rescue innocent civilians caught up in the battle. However it is more than likely that nobody will be able to reach the conflict region until most of the atrocities and crimes have already been committed.

As the M23 rebels prepare to march on their next target, Kinshasa, the citizens of Goma will continue to suffer mass executions, gang rapes of women and children, and the looting of their homes and businesses. One can only hope that the majority of the 200,000 children of Goma will escape with their lives.... and avoid the horrors of becoming a child soldier.

November 20, 2012

Hide And Go Seek

Rebels Accused of Using Children as Weapons.
(Part of the Lost Childhood series)

(Children of Refugees in the Congo)

As the rebel group M23 marched into Goma, in the eastern part of the Congo, they bore weapons more sophisticated than most Congolese soldiers. Rwanda, and Uganda to an extent, have been funding these barbaric rebels and supplying weaponry such as night vision goggles and 120mm mortars. And for this reason the Democratic Republic of Congo's government has declared the M23 rebels are nothing more than "mercenaries". 

For the children of Goma, a city of nearly 1 million people, the approach of the M23 rebels was a sign of terror. It has been recorded that the rebels have in the past and currently engage in the deployment of child soldiers. These young combatants are often forced into battle against their will. And those who do not fight are often killed by the forces that brought them into the war in the first place. 

So far the United States has imposed sanctions upon the M23 rebels for the use of child soldiers. This measure is odd in the light of Obama's decision to relax sanctions on the government of the Congo itself. Meaning that while the United States is going to be sending goods and providing aid to a government that fled Goma like dogs with their tails between their legs. So it is hard to imagine that any aid provided would somehow not make its way into rebel hands. 

Meanwhile both the United States and the United Kingdom both offer aid to Rwanda and have lucrative trade deals with their ally in the region. It is now questionable whether or not this very aid provided to Rwanda is simply being funneled into M23 rebels' hands. And if the aid is being diverted into a proxy war with the Congolese government then any sanction imposed upon the Congo will further aid the rebels. 

As for the children trapped in the path of the M23 rebels the horrors of war still await. An untold number of children will be forced to flee as the rebels attack their villages. Others could face the terror of being forced to fight for the rebels. But most could simply grow up in refugee camps facing starvation, disease, and the lack of what could be considered a normal childhood. 

All of this could be prevented however. UN peacekeepers could be given a mandate to engage and stop the march of the M23 rebels across the eastern part of the Congo. Currently the UN peacekeepers (MONUSCO) can not and do not fight back against rebel attacks. Instead of defending the international airport in Goma, the UN stood down. Their actions helped the rebels in their war against the Congolese government. 

If the UN does not change its approach to defending even the most basic of human rights we could be watching Rwanda play out its genocide on foreign soil.

November 19, 2012

More Lies From The Tablecloth

Obama's Ghost Prisons

(Obama Signing The Order To Close CIA Secret Prisons)

In 2009 Barack Obama became the first president in American history to openly curtail the liberties the CIA had taken with human rights around the world. In a historic signing, Obama sat alone as his pen put into law the limits to which the CIA could go in detaining of foreign nationals. This move was supposed to end the existence of secret prisons that the CIA was running in countries around the world. 

For European governments this was a call for celebration as they were now being promised that the CIA would stop using their countries to transport terrorist into custody. For Eastern European nations this meant that their airports would finally cease to be the last destination for countless terrorist coming from the Middle East. But all this was a hoax. All those "atta-boys" and pats on the back were for nothing.


 
When Libya fell to the rebels it became clear that CIA prisons were still in operation. And when those same rebels attacked the United States Embassy earlier this year... it was obvious that at least one was still in operation within Libya itself. The order Barack Obama had given was nothing but a rouse. This demand to end the rendition of terrorists in ghost prisons was a hollow command... the law had no teeth at all. 

So once again the world is watching as the "humanitarian" Barack Obama takes to the air in a campaign for "basic human rights". We are meant to ignore that this is the man who flew off to Egypt months after the rebellion so as to claim victory for a fight he had nothing to do with. This the man who claimed that his mere election to office had ushered in a new wave of "hope" around the world. This is the man who now rushes off to Burma so that he can talk about human rights while the Rohingya die at the hands of his hosts.

All this and we are to forget that this is also the man who has sat on the fence when dealing with Syria. We are meant to ignore Obama's waffling during the "Arab Spring" when the Green Revolution started in Iran. We are supposed to forget that Obama signed an order to end illegal prisons around the world only to be caught running one in Libya. 

When it comes to human rights issues... we are meant to forget everything we have learned about Barack Obama. 

November 18, 2012

Suu Kyi Dismisses Rohingya As Illegal

"There Will Never Be An End To The Problem."
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Suu Kyi)

In recent remarks Suu Kyi, the European Union's favorite Nobel Prize winner, made it rather clear to the world why it is that she does not support the Rohingya within her country. Speaking to her supporters, Suu Kyi told fellow Buddhist that the Rohingya Muslims within her country were "illegal aliens". She went on to point out that from her perspective "there will never be an end to the problem" with the Rohingya as long as the border with Bangladesh is left open. To further her less than friendly stance Suu Kyi pointed out that Myanmar needed to get tough on citizenship laws and make it clear what these laws said and to whom citizenship could be given. 

For months now human rights groups have wondered how this "humanitarian" would respond to the massacres of Rohingya within her "democratic" country. Now it is painfully obvious that the woman the world paraded around is in reality no different than the system from which she came. Suu Kyi has continued to say nothing about the attacks on Kaman Muslims along the border with Thailand. Now she has taken the party line when dealing with the Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan region of Burma. 

Bangladesh's government did respond sharply to the sudden outburst from Suu Kyi. Yet the constant insistence on the part of Dhaka that the Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for centuries falls on deaf ears. It is obvious that Suu Kyi does not care that waves of Rohingya have been crossing the border in just the opposite direction as she claims. Since the founding of Bangladesh in 1971 there has been countless migrations of Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh from Myanmar. They are going in the opposite direction of what Suu Kyi claims quite simply because of the turmoil they face within Burma. 

With the backing of Burma's "humanitarian" wing several local officials took to cleansing their villages and towns of all Myanmar's Muslims. In Kyauk Pyu local officials today attacked and drove out Kaman Muslims as Burmese military stood by and watched. Border patrols were then seen attacking and beating Rohingya boat people as they landed in Sittwe. All of this occurring as Burmese government officials claim they have gained control of the Western Rakhine region. 

It is clear to now that the Burmese government will be hiding these sorts of attacks from President Obama when he visits. Instead of allowing the outside world see these atrocities, leaders like Suu Kyi will be displaying their country's progress and potential for trade agreements. Every effort to engage in ethnic cleansing will for a short time be hidden as Barack Obama gives his hollow speeches.

And in the end people like Suu Kyi will sadly remain in control of Myanmar. Their genocidal campaigns of ethnic cleansing will continue. And the question of citizenship for the Rohingya remains answered by those in power. 

According to Suu Kyi and her fellow Burmese, the Rohingya are not human as long as they remain in Myanmar. As long as even one stays within Burma's borders, all Rohingya will remain "illegal".

November 17, 2012

Yum, Yum

Preying On The Innocent
(Part of the Lost Childhood series)

 (Sex Slaves in Cambodia, Ages Unknown)

It is the personal opinion of the author of this article that people who trade in or purchase the sexual services of anyone under the age of consent should face the possibility of the death penalty. With that said, please read the rest of this article.

In Cambodia children as young as 6 years old can be readily purchased by the hour by sexual deviants from the moment they step off the plane. If the pedophile knows where to look, has done his/her research online, they can often spot the signs of a pimp. These peddlers of innocents lost will openly start up the conversation if the sex tourist gives any sign that they are interested. Boys, girls... nothing is sacred in this perverted industry. No age is off limits. If the child can walk, there is a pervert ready to take advantage of Cambodia's most neglected commodity. 

The organization "Save the Children" estimates that as many as 50 to 100 thousand children and young women are subject to sexual slavery within Cambodia. This number is most likely far lower than the actual number of sexual slaves within the country. Mainly due to the growing sex tourism industry within Southeast Asia. A region where sexual predators can spend half the money as they would back home on prostitutes half the age. 

The growing crime has become the subject of intense international scrutiny. However with many outside governments unwilling to part with the notion of "national sovereignty" when dealing with blatant human rights violations... the trade continues to grow disproportionately to the rest of the economy. Instead of imposing the same sanctions we would apply for genocide upon a country the rest of the world has decided to look the other way when dealing with human trafficking and child prostitution. 

"The Svay Pak brothel area outside Phnom Penh, where children are exploited in the sex trade, continues to operate despite numerous attempts by police to close it down." United States State Department Human Trafficking Report 2012.

When sexual slavery within Cambodia becomes less profitable for the Cambodian pimps the children are often sent across borders into Vietnam, Thailand, and even over waters to Malaysia. The exploitation of Cambodian children has become such a problem that tourist visiting Cambodia for nonsexual reasons can easily spot government sponsored posters, commercials, and billboards warning about the very issue. Yet the actual prosecution of pedophiles traveling to Cambodia for sex is rare. 

In the sparse cases of criminal prosecution of "johns" the Cambodian government has shown that it has the ability to be tough on sexual predators. Yet in other cases, such as Dr. James D'Agostino, it also appears that prosecutors in Cambodia are able to achieve convictions without much evidence only so that the government can save face with the outside world. The actual ability of the government in Phnom Penh to achieve consistency in attacking this criminal enterprise is often seen as weak if not impossible to gauge. 

 "Within the country, Cambodian and ethnic Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked from rural areas to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Poipet, Koh Kong, and Sihanoukville for commercial sexual exploitation. The sale of virgin girls continues to be a serious problem in Cambodia." United States State Department Human Trafficking Report 2012.


Poverty continues to be the driving factor in human trafficking throughout Southeast Asia. Being one of the poorest countries, only ahead of Laos, in the region has left Cambodians exceptionally vulnerable to this crime. Parents in Cambodia often are known to sell their children to traffickers under the promise of a better life by the predators. Other children are often put out to the streets to beg where they are lured or kidnapped and put into the sex trade.

A more disgusting part of the sex trade in Cambodia is fueled by the Khmer belief that having sex with a virgin will somehow endow the man with virility and other desirable masculine traits. This superstition continues to drive a disturbing number of Cambodian men to the sex trade. There they can readily find girls from the age 6 and up. And for most of these homegrown pedophiles the "virgin" is often a young girl who has been sold time and time again.

(Victim of Cambodia's "Sex Tourism" Industry)

No child should ever have to live this way. No human being should ever be bought or sold. This is not a simple matter of human rights. This is the fight to end the trade that spawned our understanding of the most fundamental of all human rights... Freedom. 

All people, of all ages, has the right from their first breath to a life free of fear. We are born into this life with the desire for it. We are born with the passion to preserve it. We are born to need it. Freedom is not a right we can deny to one and grant to another. As long as even one of us is left in slavery, none of us are truly free. 

In this spirit the world should offer Cambodia clear cut ways to end this crime against humanity.

First Cambodia needs to investigate and prosecute government officials complicit in human trafficking. It is painfully obvious when one looks at the "red light" districts of Southeast Asia that police are more than willing to look the other way. For this reason it should be standard practice of all state and federal authorities that any officer, politician, or judge willing to look the other way should face harsher sentences than even the "johns" themselves. We are not talking about just prostitutes and johns anyway. We are talking about modern day slavery. 

As for the pimps, Cambodia should create a registry with every arrest in which the slave driver is recorded. It is my own opinion that there is theoretically no sentence to harsh for these wretched souls. But in reality Cambodia should strengthen the sentences already in place while confiscating the property and money which the slave holder has made from this trade. The property should be sold and the money should be given those now responsible for the safety of the exploited children. 

As for the "johns"... again, it is my personal view that death is as befitting a punishment as any for these individuals. In reality Cambodia should use the most extreme punishment their penal system has to offer. The sentence should be as long as they government is willing to make it. And the johns from other countries should be sent to their country of origin only if the crime is punished harsher than it would be within Cambodia. 

We can not afford to take baby steps in our fight to end human trafficking. We spent far to long arguing the last time we fought slavery. It is time now to end this form of it. It is time that we show those who would exploit our next generation that we as a world community stand united in our desire to rid ourselves of slavery in all forms. Especially when it devastates our children... our hope... our innocents.

November 16, 2012

Stop Selling Our Hope

The Prostitution Of Our Next Generation
(Part of the Lost Childhood series)

(Every Year That Number Keeps Going Up)

On September 22nd, 1862 a great man stood before American and gave a proclamation that would set forth the framework to make certain that slavery would forever be abolished on American soil. It was with this speech that President Abraham Lincoln declared all slaves held captive on American soil free. Today slavery has spread to every state in the Union. Women, boys, and girls still to this day work in bondage to cruel slave owners who profit from the exploitation of these indentured souls.

The cause or reason for the enslavement of these victims varies with every given case of it. However the main purpose of many slaves taken from the American population or those brought into the United States is to service the sex trade. Women and children alike are abused sexually and physically to keep them in this trade. And for the most unfortunate of them, when they outlive their use they can face death at the hands of their captors.

In San Diego the number of human trafficking cases reported to the authorities has nearly tripled since 2011. Over the past two years in San Diego the number of human trafficking victims has risen to 1,277 individuals. That translates to around 638 victims each year... a number that is rising at alarming rates with every passing year. And it isn't just San Diego or the West Coast that is seeing this dramatic increase in human trafficking cases. These numbers can be seen rising sharply across the United States.

What is even more shocking is that in spite of the average 50,000 plus victims brought into the country to serve as slaves a surprising 72% of the victims in San Diego were American citizens.

When it comes to human trafficking involving child prostitution statistics show that the average entry of girls into the sex trade in America is only 12 years old. In Los Angeles these young girls are more often these days coming out of the foster care system (statistics show that as many as 70%). Others often suffer sexual or physical abuse at home and turn to pimps and human traffickers to escape... a mistake that ends in their enslavement.

So why is it that Americans are so unaware of this horrific violation of these victims' basic human rights?

Child sex trafficking is rarely discussed on major media outlets due to its taboos. Yet as more and more of our nation's future is sold off to pedophiles this illegal trade grows. The sex trafficking of children is now estimated to be the third largest and most organized criminal enterprise in the United States (and around the world). The people responsible for the growth of this industry have found that the sale of children is easy and without much risk.

In almost every state the risk of the sex trade nearly always falls on the victim. When a prostitute over the age of consent is caught she is rightfully prosecuted for the crime of prostitution. However when a child is caught, after being turned out by their pimp, the same system prosecutes the child. Instead of going after the pimp the system targets the victim... who has no ability to agree to sex in the first place.

If more of society would accept that the child is the victim and deserves our protection rather than our wrath as a society we might actually be able to stop this crime. As a society we must demand that the child be spared the punishment of a court sentencing and offered a safe haven. And as a culture we must address the reasons why these innocent children were turned out to the streets in the first place.

It is no secret that in America today that sex is a major part of the pop culture. But to blame that is an easy way out. The real threat to these children is how their predators view them in the first place.

"Throwaway Children"

This is how human traffickers view their victims. This is how these predators view their targets. And more indicatively, this is how American society views the victims of this disgusting crime.

We must demand that the systems we already have in place, such as foster care, be better managed and scrutinized. We must demand that our courts alter the way they view children arrested on the charge of prostitution. We need to also demand that our courts raise heavier sentences on those who prey upon our youth (in New Jersey a man got only 10 years for this crime on November 14th) and use them as slaves in this degrading trade. But most of all, we need to stop looking at these children in much the same way as the predators who target them in the first place.

November 15, 2012

Papers Please?

Nationality More Important Than Ethnicity In Burma
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Rohingya Roundup in Burma)

In the 1930's Jews in Nazi occupied Europe were more than accustomed to hearing the call for their "papers". This demand was a way for Gestapo to identify their targets and place the Jews under police scrutiny. In the end this demand would lead to millions of Jews being rounded up and sent off to death camps. For these victims of the Holocaust the call for one's "papers" was a death sentence. 

Today in Burma the military Junta has gone about the call for Rohingya "papers" in a different way. For decades now the Rohingya have not been allowed to claim citizenship in Myanmar. They have however had to go to the local authorities and document their intent to travel, give birth, or even the death of a family member. The paper work that piles up documents the peril of being a Muslim Rohingya in a Buddhist dominated country. It also makes clear that the Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations all the way back to the start of the Burmese government. And for that the Burmese Junta must demand the papers of the Rohingya in a different manner than the Nazi Gestapo did in Germany. 

The official claim of the Myanmar government is that the Rohingya are "invaders" that came from Bangladesh. The proof that lay in the stacks of official Myanmar records tells the story differently. Thus the Burmese military and police have come up with a method to alter that past. Instead of relying upon the official paper work, Burmese officials are now relying upon testimony derived through torture and repressive tactics that put the victim in duress. 

Every since the first roundups in June of this year the Junta have used interrogations of helpless victims to force Rohingya to sign documents stating that they are Bengali. This forced testimony and signed document is then used to justify the deportations or the endless imprisonment that the victims now face. It also helps further the genocidal ambitions of ethnic cleansing that Myanmar is currently engaged in. 

In the last few weeks these methods have been ramped up. The victims are never heard from again. If they do not sign they do not get to see their families again. If they do not sign they are lost to the illegal prisons of the Burmese Junta. And if they do sign... they are deported or thrown back in prison. Their signature is simply used as a tool in the arsenal of the Burmese authorities. Their papers are used to justify the extreme measures taken by the Myanmar government to "end civil unrest". 

There is no way of telling for sure where the Rohingya victims of this tactic end up. Some activist have claimed that the Burmese government is simply exterminating those who will not sign. Though hard to believe, it is plausible when one thinks back and looks at how the Burmese military willingly opened fire upon unarmed Rohingya fleeing the mobs. Others claim that the prisons in which they are held are nothing more than concentration camps in which starvation and disease is meant to kill through attrition. Once again, hard to imagine in this day in age... but very plausible when one looks at Burma's human rights record. 

We can not say with any certainty how many Rohingya have been killed in Burma as of today. We can say, however, that the Rohingya in Myanmar now face total annihilation by the Burmese government. Through tactics like this one mentioned here the Myanmar government is pushing for the removal or complete extermination of the Rohingya. The government of Burma is receiving absolutely no pressure from the outside world to end their campaign of genocide. And without that pressure, the million plus Rohingya face certain death.

November 14, 2012

Capitalizing On The Unwanted

How Thailand Uses Rohingya As Slave Labor
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Rohingya behind bars in Thailand)

As the fate of the "lost boys" in the shipwreck in Tai Muang continues to be left in question some activist have begun making serious accusations against the Thai government. In reaction the Thai authorities did send out a spokesperson in Ranong, a port that borders with Burma, to state one last time that the 112 Rohingya had been "deported". This is of course the official record given by the Thai government. 

One such accusation is that the Thai officials had sold off some or all of the Rohingya into slavery. The claim is that the Rohingya are sold to fishing factories where they are used as "indentured servants" or flat out slave labor. This is enabled by the fact that Myanmar will not accept Rohingya back into the country. So Thailand's old method of deportation is no longer a plausible method of ridding Thailand of what the government views as "undesirables" 

Some evidence is available that shows that human traffickers do take full advantage of the desperation of the Rohingya. These heartless traffickers promise their victims an opportunity to flee Burma and make a better life in Malaysia. When the Rohingya pay the "fee" they are often taken to the highest bidder and forced into slavery. And since Myanmar, Thailand, and Bangladesh do not recognize Rohingya as a minority (and at times not even as human beings) the victims are never offered help by government. 


Rohingya children are especially vulnerable due to the high level of sexual slavery in Southeast Asia. Human traffickers who specialize in child prostitution can easily transport their victims to different markets where "sex tourism" is more profitable. 

So in this light it is highly probable that the Thai officials who "deported" the lost boys did in fact sell their victims to the highest bidder. They will most likely be forced to work on fishing trawlers and in fishing factories. Those who are lucky may be able to save up some money and restart their journey southward. 

All of this could be prevented of course. Human Rights Watch has been very vocal in pointing out that Thailand should and could easily allow human rights groups access to the Rohingya. More Rohingya could be protected from slavery and human rights abuses if the Thai would just allow the Rohingya refugee status. 


And if, just to give the Thai the benefit of the doubt, the Rohingya were actually sent back to Burma they are once again facing mass atrocities at the hands of the Myanmar military and Rakhine mobs. Another outcome the Thai officials had the chance to prevent. Another failure of humanity in the ASEAN member nation.

Coming November 22nd To Alder's Ledge

No Thanks Thanksgiving


November 13, 2012

Lost Boys

Not Exactly Never-never Land
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Rohingya Preparing To Flee)

Every day off the coast of Burma the Rohingya people take to the sea in hopes of fleeing the ethnic clashes that have enveloped much of their homeland. These "terrorist", "invaders", and "outsiders" have been targeted for extermination in what appears to be a repeat of ethnic cleansing campaigns of the past. They are an indigenous minority of the region. The areas along the border with Bangladesh and Myanmar has been their home for as long as anyone can tell. But for now, once again, many are forsaking Myanmar and its abuses and risking everything by throwing themselves at the mercy of the sea. 

Around half of those who attempt to flee Myanmar by the water die at sea. Their bodies and their names are forever lost to the cruel ocean and their lives forgot by those who drove them there in the first place. In many ways the ocean is just playing its part in Myanmar's genocide. 

For 112 Rohingya the voyage out of Myanmar took them somewhere just north of Phuket, Thailand yesterday. This refugee boat was different form most however in the fact that the majority of the refugees were children. 56 of the refugees were teenagers, with the youngest being only 14 years old. The remaining 46 are believed to be under the age of 26. 

So what happened to this ship full of Rohingya boys? Are they safe in Thailand? Are they getting aid from the UN in a ASEAN nation? 

This is the disappointing and rather scary nature of what happens to Rohingya refugees when they have the misfortune of landing in Thailand. If they are allowed to land at all. 

Upon landing in the province of Phang Nga the Rohingya were most likely "greeted" by Thai military or coast guard. We do not know who made it to the shipwreck site first. All we do know is that the Thai authorities had scuttled the ship and dispersed the Rohingya before anyone could claim these boys were refugees. This is the customary approach in Thailand. If the ship can't be dragged back out to sea then it will be destroyed and the people aboard told to disappear.  Rohingya are not granted refugee status in Thailand. 

For a few brief moments that Thai authorities did classify the Rohingya as "Burmese". This is ironic since the Rohingya are denied citizenship in Myanmar itself. But the act of being called a citizen is not the same thing as being a citizen for Rohingya. The Thai may have or may be in the act of sending the Rohingya back to Myanmar. Nobody can say for sure what happened to the boys. 

It is a simple fact that human rights organizations are not granted access to Rohingya refugees within Thailand. Had the Rohingya been classified as refugees we would have known. Groups like the Red Cross or the UN would have been on the scene to do their job... we would hope. But the Rohingya aren't allowed that comfort in Thailand. 

Instead these boys did what all Rohingya do when they are unfortunate enough to crash in Thailand. They vanished. 


The most likely explanation is that the Thai police most likely rounded up the boys and sent them to the border with Burma. There they were most likely deported back to the country they attempted to flee from. And with their money spent on this first failed attempt... it will most likely be a long time before any of the 112 Rohingya try to flee again.

As for Thailand.

The lack of humanity shown by the Thai is not new or unique to this latest outbreak of ethnic cleansing in Burma. The Thai have for decades now used their navy to "help along" Rohingya boats that loose power or become disabled off the Thai coast. The practice of shipping Rohingya back to Burma has been standard policy in Thailand for just as long. It is blatantly obvious that the Rohingya just plain are not welcome in Thailand.

Instead of offering to let outside human rights organizations access to the refugees, Thailand stonewalls any attempt by the media or human rights groups to investigate the issue. Any offer to help the Rohingya is denied since the Thai do not want to "encourage" more refugees. And absolutely no sense of transparency is eluded to as the Thai secretly wage war on the world's most neglected group of people.

In the case of the lost boys... never-never land is just a dream.