Myanmar needs International Support: Fighting on the Border with China and anti-Buddhist Media
Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The situation in Myanmar remains critical because ethnic, religious, and political issues are extremely complex. On top of this, it is notable that certain militias are utilizing border areas between Bangladesh and Myanmar, and China and Myanmar. Equally problematic, narcotics are awash in various parts of the country and the legacy of military rule speaks for itself. Therefore, Aung San Suu Kyi’s long-term objective of restoring ethnic and religious peace is extremely difficult, to say the least.
To make matters worse, international media outlets in the West and Sunni Islamic world are overtly manipulating one issue to suit a simplistic agenda. This applies to the “Muslim question” in Rakhine State and the citizenship rights of Bengali Muslims. Yet, little is reported about the treatment of Buddhists in parts of Rakhine, nor the cleansing and Muslim internal migration policy of Bangladesh in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. After all, for decades you have had vast crimes against the indigenous Buddhists and other tribal minorities. Similarly, in Southern Thailand, many Buddhists have fled after Islamists beheaded Buddhist priests and intimidated Buddhist villagers. Not surprisingly, a biased Western and Sunni Islamic press campaign disillusioned some Buddhist priests in Myanmar – and the same applies to regional events that are underreported when Buddhists are the main victims.
Indeed, in the last few decades in Myanmar, more Christians have been killed than any other non-Buddhist faith but this doesn’t suit the “Muslim card” being played by the media. In other words, this doesn’t suit the same forces that destabilized Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the former Yugoslavia based on a simplistic approach – and then took Kosovo from Serbia by force. Therefore, with 20,000 non-Muslims fleeing the latest bout of fighting in border areas between China and Myanmar, this highlights the complex reality of this nation because this is nothing to do with the Rohingya Muslim question.
Aung San Suu Kyi is firmly aware that certain forces within Myanmar seek to prevent reconciliation between various ethnic and religious groups. Likewise, this astute political leader knows that militias in border areas are receiving covert support. On top of this, regional nations like Malaysia – yes, the same Malaysia that persecutes the Shia population based on Sunni Muslim power mechanisms, hence, mocks the “Muslim card” being played by this country – is upping the ante against Myanmar by fueling religious passions. Ironically, the leader of Malaysia is involved in a major money scandal based on funds being funneled by Saudi Arabia (Buddhism is illegal in this nation).
Turning back to recent clashes in border areas the government of China stressed that thousands seek sanctuary from the latest military clashes between anti-Myanmar government militias and central forces. The latest bout of military fighting erupted after ethnic Chinese nationals, from one of the countless militias in Myanmar, laid siege to Laukkai.
Only two years ago, fighting erupted in the same region between the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MDNAA) and central forces. Reuters says, “MNDAA is part of the Northern Alliance, a coalition of rebel groups comprising one of Myanmar’s most powerful militias, the Kachin Independence Army, and two smaller groups that have been in a stand-off with Myanmar’s military since clashes in Kokang two years ago.”
Overall, Aung San Suu Kyi and political leaders who seek to restore order to Myanmar need international support. Japan, for example, should provide even greater economic, infrastructural, technological, and political support to the government of this nation. In other words, it is essential to recognize the complex reality facing Aung San Suu Kyi because her obstacles are extremely difficult. Therefore, international assistance is essential in the ongoing fight to restore fresh hope after decades of military rule and the ravages of narcotics.
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