This history of the Rohingya is a MUST READ.
Myanmar’s Muslims: Unpicking The False Narrative
Unfortunately – or rather, fortunately – not every citizen of the western world is a mindless, historically illiterate consumer of fake news. The narrative that the media has built around the situation in Myanmar is based upon anecdotal evidence, politically motivated half-truths, historical revisionism and outright lies. A great many of the untruths about the situation are being propagated by the Muslim world, with Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister tweeting an image of the supposedly genocidal scenes in Myanmar which turned out to be a 2-decade old picture from Rwanda – of course, this did not prevent the liberal European media establishment from taking this as irrefutable evidence of horrors taking place in the far-east.
But to truly unpick the fake narrative being spread by the media establishment, we must look deeper into the histories of both Myanmar as a nation state and the Rohingya people. Whilst there are of course many topical examples of Heads of States pushing false information, and media organisations presenting a one-sided image of the situation, the crux of the lie has its foundations in historical revisionism of the region. Whilst such falsehoods are frustrating, the internet age makes them remarkable simple to dissect and refute, which is of course why the vast majority of sane individuals place very little credence in any cause pushed by the mainstream media.
What many people fail to realise about Myanmar is that its a relatively new country. Up until 1948, it was a British overseas territory called Burma or British Burma, a part of the wider British Indian Empire or the “British Raj”. The Arakan region that now goes by the name of Rakhine State, which is the home of the majority of Rohingya Muslims, was historically a part of British India after it was ceded to the empire by the Burmese at the Treaty of Yandabo in conclusion of the Anglo-Burmese War (1824-26). The region was extremely sparsely populated; there was certainly not a thriving Rohingya Muslim culture, despite the claims of many that the minority are native to Myanmar itself.
The British colonialists recognised that the Arakan region was fertile and, in true colonial fashion, looked at how best they could exploit the territory’s natural resources. This led to the mass importation of Benghal workers from British India, who would work for very little and therefore would undercut and depress the wages of the native Buddhist Bamar (Myanmar’s majority ethnic group) population. A British census showed that by 1872 as many as 58,255 Muslims had been brought to the capital of Arakan alone and by 1911 this had increased to 178,647. It was reported that the vast majority of these imports came from the Chittagong region of Bangladesh, who were “moved en masse into western townships of Arakan”.
Naturally, this bred resentment between the native Burmese people and the British colonialists with their foreign pawns. This is not surprising when one considers the sheer scale of this migration. Historian Thant Myint-U wrote that “At the beginning of the 20th century, Indians were arriving in Burma at the rate of no less than a quarter million per year. The numbers rose steadily until the peak year of 1927, immigration reached 480,000 people, with Rangoon exceeding New York City as the greatest immigration port in the world. This was out of a total population of only 13 million; it was equivalent to the United Kingdom today taking 2 million people a year.”
As the onset of the Second World War loomed, the British in typical colonial style simply retreated from the Arakan area without consideration for the security of the region. Instead of maintaining a presence in the territory, they armed the Muslim migrants in anticipation that they would help defend the territory from a likely Japanese invasion. In typical western-backed-rebel style, the newly armed Muslims proceeded to forget about the Japanese and instead burn down the villages of native Burmese Buddhists. At this point, it’s no mystery as to why the Burmese were more sympathetic to the Japanese than to the British who had armed a hostile migrant community.
The Rohingya force armed by the British, also known as “V Force”, never mounted any serious defence of British imperial interests. Instead, as the secretary to the British Governor remarked at the time, they “destroyed Buddhist monasteries, pagodas, and houses, and committed atrocities in northern Arakan”. Amongst these atrocities was a particularly disturbing incident in March of 1942, whereby the “V Force” Rohingyas murdered in cold blood 20,000 native Burmese. Notably, when studying this period in Burmese history, it becomes apparent that no violence was instigated by the Buddhist population who only took up arms as a defensive response to the hostile Muslim migrants.
During the Japanese occupation of the territory, many Muslim settlers fled back home to the Benghal region. The conquerors, as was reported in Indo-China, did commit isolated atrocities against the local population which drove many across the border to Bangladesh, but there is still some debate about the extent to which the Rohingya vacated the area. A study conducted by Standford University in 1955 would suggest that the re-migration occurred almost comprehensively, which is evidenced by the sheer numbers of illegal immigrants who re-settled in the Arakan region in the aftermath of the war. It is also noteworthy that the authors of the study, Virginia Thompson and Richard Adloff, wrote “the newcomers were called Mujahids (crusaders), in contrast to the Rwangya or settled Chittagonian population”.
This suggests that the term Rohingya itself is relatively new, and that prior to this period in Burmese history they were always known as Benghal settlers as opposed to a native group of Myanmar. The term “Mujahids” also suggests that the Muslim migrants saw Arakan as territory to be conquered as opposed to a place to be shared in peace with the native inhabitants, much the same as what we’ve seen in more modern history with the “Mujahideen” (plural Arabic word for those engaged in jihad or, holy war of conquest).
Thus far in our journey through history, a very different picture than the one the media is attempting to portray of the Muslims in Myanmar is emerging. What we can see is oppressors, not oppressed; Jihadist conquerors, not natives; violent agitators, not assimilated, peace-loving citizens.
Post-Burmese Independence, 1948 Onward
As the “British Raj” disintegrated in the aftermath of the Second World War, various ethno-religious groups and factions attempted to piece together their peoples to create some semblance of nationhood. The only established national groups at the time that required little to no persuasion to do this were the Indians and Burmese, from whom India and Burma (Myanmar) were created. The more problematic elements of the post-colonial period in the region were mostly the Muslim populations, particularly in India where the “Muslim League” political party agitated and advocated Jihad in their quest to create a separate Islamic state. This resulted in mass riots in India, in which Muslim radicals participated in the mass murder of up to 200,000 Sikh and Hindu Indians.
The result was the creation of the Islamic State of Pakistan and subsequently the largest population transfers in recorded history. Up to 4.6 million Sikh and Hindu Indians were compelled to move from west Pakistan to India, leaving behind their livelihoods and ancestral roots in the process. Arakan, being a largely Muslim area thanks to the illegal immigration of Benghals, became a disputed territory. The “Rohingya” Muslims of the Arakan chapter of the Muslim League aspired to have their territory annexed into a greater Pakistani state, although this never materialised.
In 1947, the Arakan Muslims created the “Mujahid” Party, a political organisation dedicated to establishing the territory as an autonomous Islamic state. As the name suggests, this was not a group who sought to achieve their aims through peaceful or democratic means. They saw Jihad in the name of Allah as their primary method to realising their aims and behaved as such. Between 1947 and 1962, the group were very active and, not only did they commit acts of terrorism against the Burmese, they also encouraged yet more Islamic immigrants to cross the border and bolster their demographic stake in the region. There was a spike in the movement of people into Myanmar’s westerly-most region between 1971-78, causing Buddhist Monks and other activists to go on hunger strike in protest at their demographic displacement.
Interestingly, the term “Rohingya” only came into popular usage during the 1950’s when the Muslim population of Arakan, led by the Mujahids, were attempting to create a separate Muslim identity and distinguish themselves from the rest of the Burmese population. This, coupled with the acceptance of a further 200,000 Muslim immigrants in 1978 following international pressure, goes some way to contradicting the popular media claim that the Rakhine State Muslims are somehow an indigenous ethno-cultural group of the country.
In 1982, the Myanmar government enacted the Burmese Citizenship Law which specifically excluded Bengali immigrants of the variety imported by the British under the colonial era, as well as those who illegally migrated from Bangladesh in the aftermath of the Second World War. This is often seen by so-called humanitarian observers as effectively making the Rohingya stateless, but refusing permanent residency rights to a hostile group from a foreign land is hardly a genocidal move.
Current Tensions, 2012-2017
The current tensions that have gripped Myanmar and, specifically, Rakhine State, began in 2012 with a series of sectarian riots. Feelings spilled over after the gang rape of a native Rakhine Buddhist woman by a gang of Rohingya Muslims, resulting in a series of incidents including retaliatory acts by the Buddhist natives. This is compounded by the fact that the Buddhist natives to the region have a very real fear of being replaced in their own land by the hordes of Islamic migrants and established settlers, the size of which continues to grow and grow. The Burmese are already an ethnic minority in their own land in the northern part of Rakhine State.
The violence, which amounted to a radical insurgency by the Rohingya Muslims, left 78 dead and 87 injured. Martial law was declared, permitting the military to intervene in the administration of the state. “International observers” (leftist activists) were quoted at the time as saying this amounted to a genocide attempt, but the International Crisis Group explained after researching the situation that both the Muslims and the Buddhists were grateful of the military intervention to stop the violence.
The latest outbreak of violence has resulted in almost 150,000 Muslims leaving the country, but this is not as a result of “ethnic cleansing” as many sectors of the media like to claim. In reality, the crackdown on the illegal immigrant population came as a result of a terrorist insurgency by the “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” (ARSA), a group many media elements present as an humanitarian organisation looking after the welfare of the oppressed Muslim minority, but who are in reality a Jihadist organisation. On 25th August they coordinated attacks against Burmese police stations and attempted to raid an army barracks, the final tipping point that resulted in the clearance operation by the Burmese military in recent weeks.
The recent violence has come as a result of an upsurge in activity within the ARSA, who have been recruiting heavily amongst the Bengali villages close to the Bangladeshi border. This has coincided with an increase in terrorist Jihadist activity; in October 2016, the group attacked Burmese border patrol posts resulting in the deaths of 9 border guards and 4 soldiers; 15th November 2016, the group was involved in heavy fighting with the Burmese military; in December 2016 it was revealed the group have links with extreme Islamist organisations in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
The summer months of 2017 have seen another step up in the terrorist activities of the group and other affiliated Islamist organisations. On 26th August, a day after the attacks on Burmese police, 4,000 native Rakhines were forced the flee their homes thanks to ARSA Jihad. The following day, 27th August, the group claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of 6 Hindus, including a woman and 3 children. These actions by the subversive foreign group have prompted the Burmese military to act in order to prevent the slaughter, yet the media accuses them of being the aggressors.
The reasoning for this biased hysteria on the part of western media outlets is rather curious. There is every chance that this could just be the bleeding hearts of white liberals, whose priorities and principles shift based on who they believe is the most oppressed group in the current year. The irony is that Burmese Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi was the western media’s favourite underdog when she spent many a year under house arrest, campaigning for democracy in her country. The transparency of their motivations is clear to see now that the Nobel Prize winner is no longer the underdog, as the white liberals who once saw her as the next Nelson Mandela are queuing up to denounce her response to the escalating violence in her country.
But moronic liberal tendencies aside, there may be more complex motivations for the current faux outrage over the Myanmar situation. One theory is that this is an attempt to soften the mood in order to facilitate the importation of Rohingya refugees to Europe. Considering the Bangladeshi government is reluctant to take them, this is a very real possibility. Logistically it is not beyond the criminal NGOs either, for they have displayed their ability to bring migrants to Europe from the deepest deserts of central Africa – a coastal region of East Asia is a stroll in the park for these experienced campaigners.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the powers that be in the western world are seeking to incite their populations to another foreign interventionist war, “the next Vietnam” if you like. Without wishing to delve too far into the depths of conspiracy, it could be argued that after failing to get their war in Syria the military-industrial complex is looking for new battlegrounds on which to flex its muscle – and of course create the demand for the mass production of fuel and munitions. This would also tie into the theme of recent years, of western powers supporting terrorist Islamic groups against traditionalist governments in the east who are otherwise immune to western influence.
Whatever their motives, the duty is incumbent on those who see through the contemptible Fake News propagated by western media outlets to counter it in the strongest possible terms. We are, as many of you are aware, in the midst of the greatest information war the world has ever seen, the micro-battles of which – such as the Myanmar issue – are equally as important as the illegal people smuggling operation being conducted in the Mediterranean. Every lie allowed to spread unhindered is a victory for the establishment, therefore every false narrative must be dissected and destroyed on whatever battleground it spreads.