More From Alder's Ledge

March 31, 2013

Behold Us Caesar...

...Those Who Are About To Die
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Herero Victims During German's Genocidal Campaign in Namibia 1904-1907)

Genocide is a heartless act that knows no bounds. When it begins it is often hard to define and often hidden from view. But once it is underway, once the dead start to pileup, genocide is almost impossible to mistake. We know it because we have all at one time participated in it in one role or the other. We have seen it. We have felt it. We are the reason it still exist. 

Without the cooperation of good and decent people genocide has no ability to rack-up the horrific numbers it achieved in the 20th century. Without complacency of the virtuous portion of the population it is powerless. And yet in the last century it has killed more people than the number of those who died in combat in both world wars. A feat that would be unimaginable had it not been for the lack of resistance to it from the civilized world. 

The deads' voices still linger to this day. Their faces peer back at us from faded images and grainy video reels. Like ghost, they wait to be acknowledged. They wait for justice to be served. And yet to this day we as a world community seem unwilling to give them the peace they so desperately desire. 

The pain of the holocaust still shows up from time to time. The Armenians' agony still rips its way through modern flesh as the heart of a people breaks every April. The sorrow of the Herero still lingers in modern Namibian society as the people of a forgotten genocide still try to cope with what was done to them. All of these murders were committed by men and women who are all gone or near dead today. And yet the wounds still remain open. 

(Jewish Boys In Ghetto During The Holocaust)

These wounds refuse to heal for a reason. They will never nor can never be closed till the world learns to deal with genocide when it is happening and as it is happening. It would be a crime against our tragic past to forget the sorrows our ancestors lived through only to have to witness those same events over and over again. 

Today there are more genocides occurring at one time than we have ever seen in modern history. From ethnic cleansing, deportations, to campaigns of total extermination... genocide is on the rise. And it will only continue to spread as long as the morality within our societies remains numb to its presence around us. 

In Syria we have watched for over two years as a minority sect of Islam has sought to subjugate the majority through political tyranny and genocidal military action. Even as the world community rallied around the consensus that Assad needed to step down from power we ignored the massacres he had committed in the name his faith and lust for power. It was a step too far for us to recognize the intentions of the beast. The UN and its supporters seemed to believe it was the right of a regime to kill its own people as long as the blood stayed within its borders. 

Sudan continues to grind down it's undesirables through a ruthless and never ending genocide. Starvation, massacres on grand scales, and aerial bombardment are all hallmarks of the Sudanese government in Darfur. And despite the dire situation in which Darfur civilians are forced to live the West remains silent. Taking only small steps to "persuade" the Sudan toward a "desirable" outcome, the UN refuses to bare its teeth with the homicidal leaders in Sudan's government.

Somalia, a regular offender of human rights and perpetual state sponsor of genocide, has continued to operate outside the realms of international law. Its government uses tribal hatred to help control a population it can not bring under its boot. Groups who find themselves on the wrong side of even a minor issue are up for grabs. And yet the living memory of "Black Hawk Down" keeps outsiders on the fence when it comes to dealing with ethnic cleansing and the genocidal tendencies of the Somalian warlords. 

Christian communities throughout the Arab world affected by the "Arab Spring" continue to feel the pain of being a religious minority in countries turning toward fundamentalist Islam. In Libya the world ignored the hints of ethnic cleansing of Coptic Christians and black Africans as Gaddafi fell from power. In the typical rush to be first to back a popular movement, the Western world failed to insure the safety of minority groups across Libya as Islamist leaning rebels took control. This was repeated in Egypt and Syria as the Arab Spring fever spread unchecked. And as one government collapsed the power vacuum it created proved detrimental to Coptic Christians and other minority religions. Yet the UN and West all together failed to recognize the potential for genocide and continued to blindly support a "democratic" movement that has failed to produce a representative government since it first began. 

Then there is Bahrain. While the Arab Spring seemed more profitable for the West in other countries it never panned out in Bahrain. Instead the continued oppression and bloodshed remains under a cloak of darkness as the world tries desperately to ignore the tragedy all together. And yet it was in Bahrain where we first heard the genocidal government refer to its people as "cockroaches". This phrase should have send chills up the backs of those who remember Rwanda. But nothing ever happened. Instead the West closed its eyes to the suffering of the oppressed and turned their attention to Egypt... the payday of the Arab Spring. In doing this they have let the politicide of the Bahrain go unchecked and unabated. 

(Roma Being Deported By Nazi SS, World War Two)

Burma. A country that just recently opened up to the outside world... or at least cracked the door a little. It was a fleeting moment in time when we all thought that Myanmar was actually moving toward democracy. That brief moment where Aung San Suu Kyi was first paraded as the symbol of hope and freedom for a religiously and militarily oppressed country. Where the hell did that go?

During the summer of 2012 the old junta reared its head in the Arakan as the Nasaka and military helped perpetrate genocide against the Rohingya people. In response to religious propaganda and political pressure from the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party the pogroms began. Whipped into a frenzy with the excuse of a single crime, the Rakhine majority descended upon the Rohingya minority. And every since the story has remained the same. A radical group of monks or politicians spreads hate filled propaganda and soon after the Buddhist majority is up in arms and ready to kill. Yet the UN and Western world seems to be unable or unwilling to recognize the simple progression genocide takes (both in Burma and everywhere else it takes root). 

The pogroms of the Rohingya people illustrate the very reason the wounds of past genocides never seem ready to heal. The very reason for their existence in the first place is still with us. The very act that put these wounds in place has not yet been removed from us. So for what reason should they heal?

It is in the shared history of our cultures that we are able to relate to those still suffering this affliction. Once, no matter how long ago, we too where put through these same flames. The faces of our past now look back at us, if not from faded images, but rather from living flesh and blood. So how is it that we still find it possible to look away? 

If we do not deal with genocide here, today, we will deal with it again in the very near future. It does not go away simply because we detest it so. Instead it seems rather persistent in showing its ugly face throughout the pages of history. As if it too seeks some form of rationalization... an end.

When the victims of the circus in Rome were dragged out before Caesar their faces portrayed the imagined words of Shakespeare. In their eyes said what their lips could not, "Behold us Caesar, those who are about to die." 

Today the Western world is our Caesar. We hold the power to save lives or damn them. Our wealth, our power... all of this puts us in a place of responsibility. And yet as the innocent victims of genocide are paraded before us we seem unwilling to spare them this fate. Even in situations where their plight could be diminished or ended, we do nothing as they perish. 

Their voices are crying out. Their screams just need help to be heard. And in this world where genocide is treated like the ancients' circus, they look to us for help.

March 30, 2013

Will We Ever Break The Silence?

Zipped Lips, Bloodshot Eyes
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

Every since the end of the October massacres the few strong voices on Twitter and the blog-a-sphere have warned us of the coming "third massacre". Hate groups such as 969 in Myanmar have been feeding the fires that fuel the hate for Muslims across Burma. This was the same sort of fuel that had sparked the flames of the first two Rohingya pogroms. The religious fervor that they feed upon has not been subdued or left to die as the Buddhist monks help prop it up. And it was this basis that had led many of the Rohingya activist around the world to fear the next wave of massacres.

Jamila Hanan on Twitter (@JamilaHanan) spends countless hours warning her 8 thousand plus followers of the both present and coming massacres. Yet the vast majority of them remain silent or stuck in the world of retweets as the genocide goes unabated. Their voices remain silent as the screams of the Rohingya people echo out of the abyss Myanmar has created.

Apathy kills.

Aung Aung out of Sittwe, Burma (@AungAungsittwe on Twitter) is one of the few voices coming out of Myanmar can only get 2.5 thousand followers? Is the voice of the suffering not important enough to warrant some attention? Or is Justin Bieber's 36 million plus followers just too fixated upon an idol to be bothered with the agony of their fellow man?

We may not all be able to travel to Burma to help the few NGOs still delivering aid to the Rohingya do their jobs. We may not all be able to gather the attention of millions of online followers. But we all can take a few moments out of our busy days to be human... to pay some attention to the plight of the most overlooked people on the planet. Our few voices raised together can help those in the most need. And yet our lips remain zipped.

I for one have been watching the horrible news scroll pass on a daily basis. The lack of help from others has left me jaded to the point of wondering what it would be like if genocide started here in the US tomorrow. Perhaps if the Myanmar monks used the phrase "nigger" instead of "kahlar" to describe the Rohingya than perhaps the West would pay attention. Perhaps if the Rohingya were not Muslim but rather Christians than US citizens might find them more ready for their help. Or perhaps if the Rohingya were not wrongfully accused of being "illegal immigrants" than perhaps conservatives could find it in them to scream for the Rohingya.

Or perhaps this post is just a result of my bloodshot eyes and jaded mind. Whatever the case, the plight of the Rohingya people leaves me to ask just how much better a world it would be if there were more people willing to scream?

March 25, 2013

Where Is The Love In Burmese Buddhism?

Love? What Love?
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Monks Patrol Meikhtila As Military Watches)

When Buddha was a young man he sat at beneath a large tree and watched as the peasants prepared the fields for the planting. Instead of worrying about the hunger of his people, the Buddha thought to himself about the plight of the worms in the soil as the plows turned over the land. If the crops were not planted the people would starve to death. But that did not cross the Buddha's mind as he worried about and animal that can survive being cut in half. To the Buddhists of today this is supposed to represent his love for even the least of these. But I ask what love? 

It is hard to imagine any person, regardless of his supposed deity status, thinking that the life of a single worm was more important than the lives of millions of starving humans. It is a self righteous behavior that has become characteristic of the Buddha. While he had everything provided for him the people beneath his "enlightened" state died of hunger. So once again, what love? 

(Helix058 Is My Account On Instagram, This Is Burmese Hate)

"Parasites"... "Termites"... "Cockroaches"... 

Is this the love of which Buddhists speak? Is this the compassion which Buddha supposedly held for the worms? What if the worms had been called "parasites"? Would the Burmese still refer to Rohingya and other Muslims as such? 

When a people forget the morality that helped shape their culture they forget the soul of their culture. Stepping away from love and compassion brings us to the brink of catastrophe. It takes us beyond the point of no return... it drags us to place where we no longer recognize the people we once were. This is the hate with which Burmese Buddhism has been poisoned. What love was once there is trapped beneath it's heel. The hatred for their fellow man now replaces the love of which Buddha spoke. 

The parable of the worms and Buddha was much more than mere self righteousness. It was meant to show that at times when we think we are helping others, performing a task greater than ourselves, we often hurt others without knowing. Buddha showed that with other ways of doing the same task we can often avoid the casualties of even the least of these (those society rejects or abandons). 

If Buddhism is to ever heal in Burma it will have to learn to exercise resistance to the hate that has worked it's way into Myanmar's culture. The racism, bigotry, and intolerance must be dealt with in ways other than the killing and ostracizing of an entire portion of the population. Those who have introduced this disease must be dealt with also. The sickness must not be allowed to govern the politics of a nation. In approaching this problem in this way, Myanmar must recall that the illness of one man changed the way Europe thinks today. Had Hitler's disease not been permitted to take hold, Europe and America might have been able to avoid the Nazi's "Final Solution". 

But none of this can be accomplished or even worked on until the country of Burma decides to first abandon its policies of extermination and religious bigotry. Until the blood stops flowing this disease can not be contained. The love that Buddha tried to spread can not be achieved as long as hate is allowed to rule the hearts and control the minds of the Burmese.

March 24, 2013

Meikhtila Riots Illustrates Burma's Failures

Where Is Thein Sein's Democracy?
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Helpless and Homeless)

On Saturday afternoon the Myanmar military finally gained control of a burnt out and devastated city center. The city of Meikhtila had become a pile of rubble and burnt out timber. Cars sat like carcasses along the roadside as the military drove past. Refugees carried what little they had left on their backs as they dared not look at the soldiers. Only the Buddhists monks wielding weapons bothered to greet the military. 

When cleanup began the military reported that they had uncovered 32 dead and were tending to wounded and displaced Muslims. Once the 6,000 plus Muslims who had fled to a sports stadium were evacuated to safety the military secured the burnt out city. Taking up positions at banks and "valuable infrastructure" the military began patrols to keep the peace. 

(The Hallmark Of The Ethnic Violence)

For months the Buddhists have been pumping propaganda into areas like Meikhtila. They have used the plight of the Rohingya in the Arakan state to justify these attacks on other Muslim minorities. Their goal has been to create an ethnically pure Myanmar with one religion. And yet the pogroms have been successful due to the lack of protection the religious minorities in Burma receive.

This incredible amount of hatred was not only evident in the shear amount of Muslim's left homeless but also by the methods used to attack them. The Buddhists mobs were armed with machetes and hammers thus leaving their victims either hacked to pieces or beaten savagely. The homes and businesses that were burnt were torched so as to leave the Muslims no place in Meikhtila to call home. And the mosque that were razed had been hiding places for many of the Muslims fleeing the initial waves of Buddhists assailants. 

As the smoke clears the Muslims of Meikhtila are left with the horrible decision of whether they should flee to the military protected refugee camps or attempt to salvage their homes. For many it is hard to imagine that the Burmese military will protect them in the camps if the Monks decided to use the camps as ghettos like they did in Arakan. For those who dare stay the threat of death is more immediate. 

Thein Sein had promised to make Myanmar into a democracy. He had said that this would be a modern state where all of Burma's citizens would have a voice. Yet Meikhtila shows the weakness or unwillingness of the ex-general when it comes to protecting Muslims. It once again illustrates the desire on the part of the Burmese government to create a society in which tolerance has clear and concise limits. Thein Sein's version of democracy is thus clearly a form in which liberty is prisoner to the whims of the state. 

(Mother And Baby Now Homeless)

March 21, 2013

And It Begins

The Rohingya Watch As Other Muslims Come Under Fire
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Central Burma Being "Cleansed" of Muslim Communities)

As the Rohingya wait for the hammer to fall they can't help but notice the Muslims of central Burma being burnt out of their homes. Meikhtila and Yangon have begun to see large riots where Buddhists extremist have whipped their followers into a frenzy of looting and burning. This is a recreation of the massacres and pogroms that the Rohingya suffered for nearly 8-9 months now. The only difference is that the extremist are spreading the fire beyond the Arakan region of Burma. 

On March 20th the extreme wings of Buddhists nationalism descended upon Meikhtila and began burning Muslim districts. Police, apparently less willing to participate in violence outside the Arakan, tried hard to push the mobs back. Yet when the mobs refused to stop and put away their weapons... the police stood down. Instead of fighting the mobs, the police tried to confine the violence to areas already on fire and to help get Muslims out of the line of fire. 

(Centers of Muslim Daily Life Targeted First)

It is believed that in response to this the security forces in the Arakan have attempted to prepare themselves for the coming "third massacre". In routinely poor forum and provoked out of fear, the security personnel are confining Rohingya to their homes and villages. Security personnel have ordered Rohingya in MinPya to stay indoors and not leave the confines of their own homes. At best they are banned from leaving their villages. All the while Rakhine mobs are telling calling for the Rohingya homes in MinPya to be burnt and the Rohingya killed. 

The desire to appear as though the local authorities are trying to fight the violence is however a mask. Just as in the past two massacres the Myanmar military will either stand off to the side and watch or actively join in the blood bath and take the opportunity to slaughter Rohingya. The second option will only be made easier now that the Rohingya are confined to concentration camps and ghettos. In essence the ground work for a Burmese style "final solution" has already been laid. 

(This Is What Awaits The Rohingya)

Rakhine Buddhists have promised the world a "third massacre". Their lack of desire to stop the violence has been only encouraged by Burmese politicians who have rewarded the past two pogroms. Leaders in the Nasaka (border police) have helped Rakhine while imprisoning the Rohingya. Leaders in Thein Sein's party have made a habit of denouncing the "ethnic tension" while praising the Rakhine extremist. Thein Sein himself has told leaders like Barack Obama that he is against the slaughter of the Rohingya while making it easier for the Rakhine mobs to do just that. 

The conditions in the Arakan state are a tinderbox for this next pogrom. The stage has been set. The show is ready and the outside world is watching. Even the governments that claim to be looking the other way are eagerly looking at Arakan, Myanmar. Yet nobody is trying to stop it?

(What Will We Do When The Rohingya Ghettos Look Like This?)

In HaraPyaing, MinPya 871 Rohingya are starving to death as they wait for the next pogrom. But they aren't alone:
  • Tenseik has 1,867 starving Rohingya
  • Sakkyar Ywa has 1,109 Rohingya starving to death
  • There are 3,232 Rohingya starving in Lama Ywa
  • 768 Rohingya are starving to death in Thadar Ywa
  • 1,152 Rohingya are close to death in Piekthay Ywa
  • There are 1,250 Rohingya starving to death in Tara Auk
  •  NagaPyan has 1,065 starving Rohingya 
  • 2,400 Rohingya are starving to death in Nagara Pauktaw
  • SanGyi Pyin has 2,232 starving Rohingya
  • Nawnaw Ywa is home to 997 starving Rohingya
  • And in Yatori Ywa there are 767 starved Rohingya
All of these could be dead once the next pogrom takes place in MinPya. And if the Buddhist monks who are planning this next massacre have their way... most of these could be dead within a week. After all, this is supposed to be a "flash mob" style attack. The violence is designed to happen quickly and rapidly so that the Rohingya have little time to escape the confines of their concentration style camps or the ghettos in which the Nasaka have confined them.

All the world has to ask itself now is just how they will justify the lack of action that has characterized our response to the last two massacres. How will we justify the silence? How will we rationalize the dead? And who will remain silent once this massacre begins?

Whatever happened to "Never Again"?

March 19, 2013

Scream For Burma

A Message From The Author
(Screamers Post)

Yeah, so I'm not really comfortable in front of the camera. After all, the bulk of my work is done from behind a keyboard and not with the verbal word. Anyhow, here is the information that you can follow to find more information about this subject:

On Twitter more information is available via:


And as always you can easily link these articles from Alder's Ledge to your Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts.

Please scream for the Rohingya. Your voice can help end this tragedy and save the lives of the Rohingya still trapped in Burmese ghettos. 

March 18, 2013

At War With Slavery

A Reason To Fight
(Not For Sale series)

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead

At this moment in time there are an estimated 27 million people in conditions that constitute slavery. This means that there are more than people in bondage today than there ever were during the 300 years of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. These numbers leave us to ask just what century we live in?

When Lincoln freed the slaves during the American Civil War he restated the natural state of mankind was to be free. It is a well known fact throughout mankind that we are born with the desire for freedom. We are created with a soul that yearns for freedom. So how can we today tolerate even one person being denied this most natural right? 

Many are left to ask themselves, "I'm just one person, what could I do to ever make any real change?"

What many of us are unaware of is that there are organization across the world uniting individuals like us to create the change we desire to see. These are NGOs and charities that are fighting the good fight. They are organizations that can take your intent to create change and apply it where it is most effective. 

These are just a few:

  • The A21 Campaign,
  • Agape International Missions,
  • Center to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE),
  • Made By Survivors,
  • Happy Horizons Children's Ranch,
  • La Strada International,
  • Polaris Project,
  • Not For Sale Campaign,
  • RedLight Children,
  • Stop the Traffik,
  • The Defender Foundation,
  • End It,
These are all organizations that are helping spread the facts about slavery in the modern era. Though only 1-2% of modern slaves are ever rescued currently, those numbers are changing. With the dedicated work of individuals and organizations like these the war against slavery is raging. And by donating and spreading the word about these organizations and their cause, you can join the fight.

The average age of a trafficking victim is only 12 years old when they are initially sold. Their predators rarely face jail time (1 in 100,000 European traffickers ever face a judge). And for most, the only way out of bondage is death.  

 “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know."
~ William Wilberforce

As long as even one of us is left in the bondage of slavery, none of us are ever truly free. Join the fight. Help liberate your fellow man from one of the most destructive crimes our modern world currently faces.

March 17, 2013

Raining Fire

Cluster Bombs And Syria
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Cluster Bombs Don't Just Kill Militants)

Over the past six months there have been 119 locations where cluster bombs have been verified to have been used against the civilian population within Syria. 156 known cluster munitions have been verified to have struck and/or have been targeted against civilians. This means that in those 119 locations, Syria's government has used multiple cluster munitions on the same location. And with each and every attack there has been children like the one above either killed, wounded, and physically and emotionally scarred by the heartless brutality of these indiscriminate attacks. 

Human Rights watch has identified two such attacks in just the past two weeks. Between the two cluster bombs dropped there were 11 civilians killed (of which were two women and five children) and 27 others wounded. It is important to note that these were just the results of two cluster bombs. 

As of March 5th the world was given evidence of new cluster bombs entering the conflict. These Soviet made weapons were not known to have been used prior to this attack. A fact that points to the continued support of the Assad regime by the Russian government. It also points to the fact that Assad is expanding his ruthless campaign of slaughtering civilians while he pretends to be looking for a "peaceful resolution". 

(Russian Made, Assad Approved)

The ShOAB 0.5 is a weapon that is not only old but has been proven to be both deadly upon impact and a prolonged killer upon the battle field. Not only does it spread out over a large area when dropped but many of the little grenade like bombs are left unexploded. This means that they can detonate at any time and kill those trying to save wounded or clear out the initial fatalities. It also means that they pose the same risk as landmines once the battle is over or the war has ended. 

In the past Assad has used cluster bombs ahead of military or Shabiha militias to clear the way for his troops. Now Assad appears to be carpet bombing areas simply to drive the death toll upward. At times it doesn't even seem that the Syrian army needs to have any indication that rebels are in the area for them to justify the use of weapons like cluster munitions. All that is apparently needed is for the military to believe that the local citizens at one time supported the rebel cause. 

For the children of Syria this "death from above" method has left them seeking more creative ways to hide. In the past they had been able to hide in their homes from the government militias and military forces. By simply staying indoors when the shelling began or the gunfire grew louder they could at least pray for protection. Yet cluster munitions void that strategy. With cluster munitions, if the neighbor is suspected of a crime... so are you.

I have said over the past two years that I believe Assad will only get more violent as the war goes on. Cluster munitions are just one way he is proving me to be correct in my assumptions of him. If these weapons are not stopped and Assad is not given limits to his madness... what kind of new hell will he unleash next?

March 11, 2013

Burma Preparing The Killing Fields

Nasaka Dictate New Rules For Rohingya Villages
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

As the radical Buddhists Rakhine continue to rally around propagandist monks the Arakan region of Burma grows even more unstable. Monks with political agendas replace those who had once taught the actual faith of Buddhism. Police with the power to kill back these very political ideals. And an army with the willingness to torture, torment, and slaughter provide the political base the muscle they need to crush all opposition.

During the summer of 2012 the world watched as the Rakhine took to the torch to remove Rohingya from villages and cities. Then when peace had been "restored" the gates of hell swung open once again in October of 2012. The calm of normality has still yet to return.

Now we watch as the radicals call for "action" once again. The blockades are being reinforced so as to keep the Rohingya within their villages and concentration camps. The police presence is being built up well beyond its original strength. Military presence is everywhere as the army of Thein Sein prepares to back the Rakhine pogrom looming over the horizon.

In Maungdaw, Arakan state the Nasaka (border police) called upon all Rohingya villagers to attend lectures about the new laws they are supposedly there to impose. In these meetings with village leaders and Rohingya community leaders, the Nasaka gave even more harsh demands than before. Now Rohingya are banned from leaving their homes from 10pm to 6am. No Rohingya are allowed to go outside the limits of their villages. Farmers must ask permission to leave the villages to tend their fields. Visiting family members must be documented and reported to the Nasaka guards. And anyone caught violating these laws will be removed for punishment at the whims of the Nasaka guards.

More importantly, any demolished house that was not given an OK by the Nasaka will also be punished extremely by the military or police. This is important to note since the Nasaka do not care how the house was destroyed. They simply need excuses to use when attacking Rohingya and removing them to prisons and torture houses. It will not matter if the house was firebombed by Rakhine or not, the Rohingya will be the ones who pay the price.

It is also important to note that the new police presence is not in the area to protect the Rohingya but rather to defend the Rakhine. The harsh new laws do not apply to the Rakhine. They only are meant to keep Rohingya in one place where they can be easily attacked and killed when the Rakhine mobilize. This is a measured step in preparing the area of Maungdaw for the next wave of ethnic cleansing.

Now all we apparently can do is wait and see. More Rohingya die of starvation every day in Maungdaw. And these harsh rules will only help them die of hunger or die at the hands of the radical Rakhine militias. Whichever comes first. 

March 6, 2013

A Fire Inside

The Screamer's Response To Burma
(Screamers Post)

For almost a year now the world has ignored the genocidal ambitions of the Burmese government. World leaders in the West have turned a blind eye to blatant ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the Arakan state. When faced with a "civil war" in the Kachin region the government of Myanmar has established a campaign of genocide to wipe the Kachin people off the map. A clear pattern of expulsion and annihilation has been laid out by the history of Burma's Junta when dealing with Myanmar's ethnic minorities.

The leaders of Europe were among the first to swoon over Burma as it slowly cracked its doors and started to allow foreign eyes into the dark abyss the Junta had created. And yet the Europeans did not focus upon the wholesale slaughter of "undesirables" or the indiscriminate use of slave labor throughout the country. Instead the European leadership began to drool over the puppets the old Junta had put out to entertain it's new guests. The EU paraded its favorite puppet around shamelessly as they fawned over Suu Kyi. And in doing all of this, Europe turned its back upon the helpless still stuck beneath the heels of the old Junta leadership.

Democracy comes slow in a country once ruled by ruthless dictators. And in a country of religious bigotry it comes like a fire.

This is something that America should had understood. Or would have understood a long time ago when it too had suffered oppressive rule of a seemingly foreign power. Yet now days its leadership falls in line with the very powers that once had placed their boots upon American throats. Obama's administration tiptoes in the footsteps of the EU and its socialist leadership as it too fawns over Burma's democratic facade. Hollow words and self interest are all Obama's America has to offer the suffering minorities in Myanmar.

For those of us who have been following Burma's destructive behavior there is a sense of urgency forming as March begins. We have been told by those in Burma that the Rakhine are organizing for a third wave of ethnic cleansing in Burma. This next pogrom has been eluded to by the extremist as being the Rohingyas' version of the Final Solution. It is a promise that calls upon the worst genocide in living memory and eludes to the ambitions of the Rakhine (Buddhists) in the Arakan state.

These threats grow with each passing day. Unlike the people we believe to be leading us, we cannot look away. We are the ones who watch. We are the ones who cannot remain silent in the face of evil. We are the screamers.

A fire is growing in Burma. It began with a spark upon the tongues of propagandists. Their incendiary words set the Rohingya villages ablaze. And for a short time in the summer heat, their words turned to bloody violence the turned the Arakan into an inferno.

The fire is smoldering. It flared up in the fall of last year. The memory of which has been driving countless Rohingya to flee to the sea and off to foreign lands. The smoke of their villages, the memory of their lives before this, still lingers over all that they do as the Rohingya try to outrun the coming blaze.

A similar fire is growing inside of us. For those who are watching the sense of urgency is a fire that drives us on. It is a reason to fight. A reason to grow louder, to fight harder, and to scream longer than ever before.

The Rohingya will not die without the world knowing. We will scream till the entire world knows their plight. But to achieve this we need your help. We need your voice.

It is easy to scream...

One way to scream is to share news articles and blog pages like this one. You can do so by posting them to Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Tumblr, and other social media websites.

Another way to scream is to write your congressman or other elected officials. By making your voice known and your concern for this issue you can let your government know what you expect it to do and what you care about. Voting against those who support the murders (and telling them you will) is one way to affect the change you want to see in both your country and Burma itself.

The most direct way to scream is somewhat odd in the fact that it doesn't involve the spoken word or written word at all. It is just as simple however. It requires you to put your money where your mouth is.

By donating to organizations such as Partners Relief and Development (see link below) you can help fight the good fight when dealing with the Rohingya Genocide. This is one of the most direct methods in giving hope to the helpless. Your dollars can go much further than your next cup of coffee or your next iTunes purchase. Your money can give a Rohingya family a fighting chance to survive in the long run. Partners Relief and Development is one of very best organizations in helping your money go directly to the front lines.

Whatever you do, please scream with us. Literally millions of lives are counting upon the actions of good men and women like you.

Partners Relief and Development

March 4, 2013

Blockades In Bangladesh

Racism Knows No Borders
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Always On The Outside Looking In)

For nearly a year now the Arakan has been under siege by Rakhine extremist who are determined to fulfill their campaign of ethnic cleansing. These fascist have created as system of oppression not seen by the West since the Bosnian Genocide. And much like the Serbian aggression, the Rakhine extremist began their siege of the Rohingya with a horrific purge. 

Many of Burma's Rohingya fled the initial wave of genocide in their homeland for the promise of security across the border in Bangladesh. These Rohingya had been led to believe that at the very least they would be spared the killing and barbarism that was spreading across the Arakan. The one thing they would never escape however was the racism that plagues the region in which they live. 

No border would stop the hatred the Bengali and Burmese communities hold for the Rohingya. It is a deep seeded hatred that can't be easily explained. And yet, in the same irony of the cheap excuses given for the Bosnian Genocide, it isn't a hatred that can be used to explain the violence. This was a hatred that has left the Rohingya as a people vulnerable, oppressed, and constantly on the run. 

In Bangladesh the local authorities fought against the establishment of any form of refugee camps. Recognized camps were just as dangerous as the purges across the border in Burma. So with the constant threat of violence, the Rohingya gathered in unregistered (and considered illegal) camps away from prying eyes. 

(Dreary And Miserable Camps)

Hostility against the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh has been only getting worse. The Border Guards Bangladesh and the Repaid Action Battalion have been increasing their presence around the Rohingya camps. Along with their presence comes the threat of rape, robbery, extortion, and slavery. Let alone the violence associated with the security personnel.

This increase in military and security has also led to Rohingya being unable to seek jobs and income in the the surrounding area. The fact that these camps are unregistered with the UNHCR also means that they are unable to receive aid from the UN. And with the security the roads have been blocked and checkpoints erected, meaning that NGOs are unable to reach the camps. 

In Bangladesh there are four refugee camps. Two of which are not registered with the UNHCR. This leaves these two camps vulnerable and at the whims of the Bengali military.

In Kutupalong makeshift camp there are about 60,000 people and  15,000 in Lada makeshift camp. All of these Rohingya are on the verge of starvation. Without the ability to leave these camps and seek employment and food, these Rohingya will have to face a slow and painful death.

For many they will have to decide if they should stay in Bangladesh or risk death on the sea fleeing ethnic cleansing once again.