(part of The Darkness Visible series)
(Kachin Woman Wounded In Burmese Air Strikes)
For the past two years a war has been growing out of control in the Kachin state of Myanmar. Its brutality has been escalated time and time again by the Burmese generals as they simultaneously attempt to hide the conflict from the world. The carnage this war has left across the northern most state of Burma is largely undocumented due to restricted access. What information is leaking out must go through Myanmar's own government or be smuggled out over the border into China (a strong supporter of Myanmar).
Roughly half of the Kachin community consider themselves to be Christians. A large portion of the other half call themselves Buddhist. While the remaining follow local customs and religions found in Burma for centuries. It appears to many outside of Myanmar that the old Junta has decided that as long as any of the Kachin call themselves Christians they all must be crushed into submission. This falls in line with the old style of law in Burma, military dictatorship.
Forty plus years of communist influence and absolute power has obviously left its mark on the leaders in Burma. The generals have had control over everything from the distribution of food, the cost of everything from oil to water, the freedom of speech both public and private, and the right to associate openly with one's own religion. The tactics used to enforce the rule of law over these past decades were derived from old world leaders such as Stalin, Lennon, Mao, and even Hitler. And yet today the outside world looks at Burma as the new poster child for Democracy?
(Seven Year Old Victim of Burmese Military)
The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) rose up to defend the Kachin people against what it saw as the imminent annihilation of its people. Yet today it seems that every action they take in fighting back only assures the Kachin more death and more suffering. On the other hand any surrender would subject the Kachin minority to the same hellish reprisals that have been witnessed all across Myanmar. And all the KIA have to do to reassure themselves of the reason they are fighting is to simply look south toward Sittwe at the starvation and desperation of the Rohingya plight.
For those of us half way around the world the situation in the Kachin state looks odd at best. It has been over 200 years since we have truly had to fight such tyranny on our own soil. Yet even then it was not a war that could be boiled down to "convert or die". And once we strip this conflict down to even that it seems bizarre to many that a Buddhist regime, the people many associate with peace and harmony, would or could be capable of such horrific atrocities. But here we are... watching it all happen right before our eyes.
The Kachin are just one more minority on the brink of genocide in a land where genocide is the favored tool of oppression. The Junta still lives in Myanmar through the use of this weapon. The old military wing of government still controls its people through this horrific act of degradation. The Kachin are simply attempting to fight back, and for that history will most likely record this as a war and not the genocidal efforts of a government to ethnically cleanse its territory.
As for the Rohingya, death has taken on a slower pace as it walks them to the grave. A slow and painful existence of a living death can be seen on the faces of their old and young alike. Children are the first to die as their young and fragile bodies simply give way to starvation. The old amongst them take their last breathes every minute as they struggle to cope with easily preventable diseases. The once able bodied are now damned to send their own parents off the grave alongside their children. Such is life in a land where only the ethnically pure are allowed food, water, and medicine.
Even as 24 tons of humanitarian aid arrive from Iran today, the Rohingya are nearly guaranteed that the food, clothing, blankets, and medical supplies will not reach those who need it most. In past months such aid has either been left on the docks to rot or dispersed to the Rakhine Buddhist instead. And even if the Junta do pick a camp to allow the Red Crescent Society to disperse the aid to, there is no guarantee that the police will not just come and collect it once the Iranian officials leave.
In the 90's we watched as the Serbians attempted to create a "Greater Serbia". For this to occur the Serbian military and its militia counterparts simply had to kill anything that wasn't "Serb". We gave this genocide the title of "ethnic cleansing". Today we are watching as the Burmese Junta commits the same sin over again right before our eyes.
So why is it that not one government official, not one Western nation, not one news media outlet, not a single voice is being raised to call for an end to this crime?
(In Bed With The Enemy)
Perhaps its a little of all these things that drives the greed of modern man. After all, the "gold rush" is on once again. Burma is the new frontier for the stagnate West. It is the spur to help keep China's economic boom afloat. It is the next proxy battleground for the saber-rattling mother Russia. As far as the Junta is concerned... Burma is whatever the outside world wants it to be, as long as they mind their own business.
President Obama visited Burma late last year and upheld it as the symbol of what "the people" of a nation can achieve when they "affect change" in the way their government is ruled. His speeches were persistently praising people such as Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein. His words were purposefully vague when talking about the struggle the people (better put, the ethnically pure) of Burma face on the road ahead. Yet more importantly, his actions aligned the United States with the genocidal leaders of Myanmar.
When Suu Kyi was paraded around Europe last year the leaders of France, Germany, and England all made certain to get their pictures taken with the modern "Bitch of Buchenwald". Sweden, Norway, and the Danish leaders made sure that their voices were heard amongst the choir of European leaders singing the praises of Suu Kyi. Yet not one single voice was ever raised amongst the throngs of EU leaders in questioning Suu Kyi as to how she intended to deal with the humanitarian issues plaguing her nation.
Of all the places, of all the nations, countries such as Iran were the amongst the first to question the Nobel Prize holder about her views on the Rohingya. Given Iran's failures in the area of human rights, Suu Kyi easily brushed off any and all question arising out of the Middle East. And for the most part, the West followed in line with Burma as they too ignored any concerns of the treatment of the Rohingya. Once again the West showed their backsides as they sided with one genocidal regime over the other.
Today we have little time however to focus on such reasons for the political failures of our own countries. Today we have only the plight of those whom these failures effect most to worry about. If no action is taken to stop the genocide against the Rohingya it could easily be complete by the end of this year. With little access to food, all of which is gained illegally, the Rohingya are starving to death. Their lack of water ironically will drive more to the sea this year than ever. And the flight from Burma will achieve the Junta's original goal... and ethnically pure Rakhine state.
The diaspora of Rohingya trapped outside their homeland will be the only remnant of a once vibrant culture. Children who would have once farmed the land their ancestors lived on or fished the waters their fathers had will then be forced to live as refugees in Malaysia and other foreign lands. The Rohingya will forever be stateless, homeless, and helpless living in countries that, much like Burma, do not grant them citizenship. This disturbing reality of a future existence as exiles is the only hope most Rohingya have for the future.
That is unless we, the world community, do something to stop it.
Please join us here at Alder's Ledge in our attempt to raise our voices as one against the atrocities Myanmar's government is currently carrying out. With your help we can affect change for the reason it is really meant to happen. With your help we can stop the slaughter and force the killers out into the open.
But for this to happen we need you to take a few simple steps. We need you to scream.
Screaming is a simple action that amplifies the voice of one person, one cause, to a level that can not be ignored. In the modern age we often scream without ever opening our mouths. And that is where you come in.
As a screamer you will be admitting that you have seen or heard about the genocide in Burma. You will be telling everyone you know what you have seen. And you will be relentless. In Obama's words, you will get in their face.
To do this as a modern day screamer is easy. Take the link to this post and others here on Alder's Ledge and share them on your Facebook page. Spill your heart out in the description of the link. Say what needs to be said to get others to do the same. Then if you have Twitter, do the same in your tweets. And if you have Tumbler or Blogger use our content and our links in your blogging. Post what needs to be said as often as you can. Share this information as often as you can.
That is how a modern day screamer screams without ever opening their mouth. That is just how easy it is to start amplifying the voice of the helpless to a level that the world cannot ignore.
So once again we ask... please help... please scream!