“The army has committed atrocity crimes and this commission is
attempting a whitewash. Ministries led by Suu Kyi have charted the
path of denial, waging a shameful propaganda campaign."
Matt Smith, Fortify Rights
Myanmar panel rejects claim that Rohingya are being persecuted
JAN 5, 2017
YANGON – Human rights groups said Myanmar’s government is trying to
cover up abuses against civilians in a Muslim-majority part of Rakhine
State after an investigation panel dismissed claims a government
crackdown there amounts to “genocide.”
A commission appointed by the government of Nobel laureate Aung San
Suu Kyi issued interim findings refuting allegations of abuses by
security forces on Wednesday, even as authorities were still
investigating alleged police abuses after a video emerged appearing to
show officers beating and kicking Rohingya villagers.
Denial is an integral part of any genocide, during and after.
Sitting with the victims of Khmer Rouge genocide - as yet to be
officially pronounced or recognized! - I watched Pol Pot regime's
Brother Number Two (Nuon Chea) plead "innocent" through the glass wall
inside Khmer Rouge Tribunal a few years back.
"They killed themselves," is what the wife of a Top leader of Hutus
who organized the genocidal killing told a friend of mine who was one
of the very first CNN journalists who flew in on a chartered plane to
Rwanda and tracked down the top leaders: he was himself roughed up by
The discourses, both popular and official, in circulation in Myanmar
today e.g., "Bengalis burn their own houses" "fabrications" or
"exaggerations" -- straight from the horse's (ASSK's) mouth - have
striking resemblances to other cases of atrocity crimes - whatever the
legal hair splitting about the name - which is 100% dictated by
strategic calculations of powerful actors internationally - as opposed
to the lived realities of the victims.
It must be one of the greatest misfortunes of my life as a Burmese:
both the planners and deniers are almost all my old/former friends,
minders and acquaintances.
So, genocide is not a legal or expert or human rights matter, but a
personal, very personal, matter to me.
The interim report was released yesterday by the Myanmar committee
formed by Suu Kyi gov, with former head of military intelligence and
current Vice President Myint Swe. The man was in charge of crushing
monks' uprisings - so-called Saffron Revolt - in 2007. He is a
relative of the "retire" dictator Than Shwe. I knew him personally,
and he would follow the orders from above religiously.
The previous investigation of mass violence in Rakhine in 2012 was
commissioned by Thein Sein, ex-general and then President. It was
headed by my close friend and history tutor the late Myo Myint. (Myo
Myint served as Director General of the Religious Affairs Department
and signed off on all kinds of anti-Muslim publications, under
instructions from the military propaganda department run out of the
Ministry of Defence). The secretary Kyaw Yin Hlaing who did the leg
work is 5 years junior to me at Mandalay U. and was again a close
friend. Here is my critique of the previous commission report.
When western educated Burmese whore for power it makes me loose faith
in the power of liberal education as "enlightener': both Myo Myint
and Kyaw Yin Hlaing were students of the late Benedict O'G' Anderson
at Cornell. Before his death, Anderson publicly endorsed a
statement, along with Noam Chomsky, that argues that Myanmar is
committing a slow genocide against the Rohingyas, the genocide that
two of which Burmese students worked so incredibly hard to whitewash.
They are not the only two highly credentialed Burmese. We have
Oxbridge and Ivy Leaguers who throw away any semblance of reason,
conscience and compassion and partake in this national project - a
genocide. Even the Third Reich met serious resistance from within the
German society, particularly anti-Nazi dissidents, Communists, etc. -
for instance, "the white rose".
Alas, no such luck - or friends - for Rohingyas.
Among other things, Myanmar's genocide of the Rohingyas signifies the
spectacular failure of a society at large - both majority Burmese and
the "Taiyinthar" or indigenous minorities - and the intellectual
Myanmar whitewashes ethnic cleansing
By Maung Zarni