Final Project: Conflict in Myanmar

Posted on December 14, 2013 by


Throughout history, countless numbers of people have experienced persecution and although in today’s times we like to think that such treatment doesn’t exist anymore, it does and it is full force right now. Take a look at the conflict that has enveloped the country of Myanmar. Violence has broken out between Buddhists and Muslims; the violence is often physical, but also sometimes political. The worst part is that the government is refusing help. How can the country grow and survive if its citizens cannot even live together?

            This country is no stranger to violence. The British colonialized the country in 1937 and by 1948 the country had gained its independence and named itself the Union of Burma, though it was anything but unified. The country has faced many revolts throughout its short history. In June of 2012 they gained new force. This outbreak has caught the attention of the United Nations and the world as a whole as a plea for help to finally end the violence that has plagued it since the beginning.

            One of the first attacks reported in 2012 came on the 20th of June. A report came in citing that around 60 people were dead between the populations of the Arkanese (Buddhists) people and the Rohigya (Muslims) in the Arkan state. This article shows the two different sides opinions of the subject. The reason for the outbreak, according to the article is the rape and murder of an Arkan woman. When asked about the incident, the Rohingya people claim that the death toll was much higher than 60, what was reported. This begs the question, who is telling the truth? The truth most likely will never be found until at least after this conflict is resolved, but even then it is a long shot. This article seems to be taking the reports from the government as absolute truth, when in reality, reading words such as “Rohingya leaders say the real number of dead in remote villages could be much higher,” it makes me think that the government is telling us what it wants us to believe. I’m not sure how interested this author was in trying to uncover the truth. Their bias seems to lean toward the Buddhists when they show no sign to uncover what the truth actually was.

The same thing seems to occur in articles that are much even recent. Another article from the Voice of America website shows this discrepancy between what the government says and what the people say when talking about the violence that broke out last June and October. The government believes that only 192 people were killed when the Rohingya people put the total around 748. This article makes it seem like the author is more intent on finding out the truth by asking both sides what they believe to be the actual number of casualties. This article also seems to show the authors defense of the Muslims. The author states the violence as “violence against Muslims.” The author also provides defense for the Muslims claiming that the Rohingya have roots that can be traced back throughout history in Myanmar. This author seems to be in favor of stopping this atrocity of persecution by getting the country to allow the Rohingya to live there rather than needing to flee because of what they believe.

A Huffington Post article attacks the Buddhists in Myanmar. The author says in his article “That a country that is 85 percent Buddhist — the religion of peace — is known for non-stop war is a cruel historical irony.”  The author obviously believes that the people of the country are supporting the religion they claim to be in worship of. The author notes the lack of identity in the country, as well: “All told, [minority] ethnic populations cover half of its total land area and make up nearly half of Myanmar’s total population…That’s where the trouble begins.” The author wants the country to find peace and has identified the things that stand in the way of peace. The author cites the constitution of the country as one problem because it gives the government too much control over the collective minority peoples’ land. At the same time, the author criticizes the government for not having enough control over itself by quoting an Asian ambassador in saying “the president tells the military to stop fighting, but the army keeps fighting.”

Many people are calling for the government to find peace amongst the turmoil in this country. The United Nations has proposed that Myanmar recognize the Rohingya people as citizens but the country has refused to accept the people. Instead the government has simply tried to release prisoners who were arrested as prisoners of conscience but this fixes nothing because the government still refers to these people as “Bengalis.” These ideas are from an article from The Hindu and shows that this author very much seems to think that the government is in the wrong here because they are taking the wrong steps.

Overall, what started in 1948 has not been resolved, but rather has attracted the attention of the whole world. Some people think that Myanmar is in the right for not accepting but based off of these articles, many people think that Myanmar is not doing enough to end the violence that has and will continue to plague their country.

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