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Denial is integral to any genocide: My take on the latest round of Myanmar official blanket denial

“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 ASIA PACIFIC Myanmar panel rejects claim that Rohingya are being persecuted REUTERS 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 Hutus. 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 class.

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