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Burmese Regime: Committing Crimes with Impunity

M.S. Anwar

Analysis & RVison TV News

June 27, 2013

Many people around the world, who oppose the racist and extremist movements in Myanmar led by a pseudo Monk called Wirathu, were apparently pleased to see the cover story of  July 2013 TIME Magazine. In the cover page of the TIME, Wirathu was labeled as a Buddhist terrorist. It mentioned Wirathu as “The Face of Buddhist Terror.” It was absolutely alright to label him a terrorist unless the term Buddhist is attached to him. But attaching Terrorism with Buddhism is oxymoronic many think.

TIME Magazine's Portrayal of Wirathu
TIME Magazine’s Portrayal of Wirathu

The very first tenet of Buddhism is to “Do No Harm” to any creatures let alone killing human beings. Buddhism no way needs to be defended by harming others or there is no such a defense needed to protect Buddhism. Buddhism should be preached through Metta (Loving-Kindness) and Compassion. The moment a Buddhist harms others, be it for the defense of Buddhism or others, he can no longer be called a Buddhist. Therefore, needless to say, Saffron robed fascist Wirathu and his 969 terrorist gangs have nothing to do with Buddhism. Recently, Dalai Lama also mentioned Wirathu’s movements are not related to Buddhism but serve political and strategic purposes. He lusts for popularity at the expense of innocent people’s lives. And he is having it through media.

Moreover, the TIME magazine’s story was an apparent attempt to solely blame Wirathu’s extremist movements for the nationwide growth of Islamophobia and the violence against Muslims in Myanmar. It can lead one to undermine or completely ignore the real perpetrators or culprits behind the rapid rise of Neo-Nazi movements and systematic violence against Muslims. It will not be difficult for one to recall how the violence against Rohingyas in Arakan began on 8th June 2012. Wirathu, imprisoned for the violence against Muslims in Kyauk Se in 2003, had just been released a few months earlier. Before the rise of 969 Neo-Nazi gangs, the fraud and conspired rape against a Rakhine woman, brutal killings of 10 Muslim pilgrimages on 3rd June 2012 and systematic violence against Rohingyas and all had already taken place.

Rohingyas Fleeing To Escape State-Sponsored Pogroms in Arakan in June 2012
Rohingyas Fleeing To Escape State-Sponsored Pogroms in Arakan in June 2012

Who had been behind all these then if Wirathu and his 969 Gangs are solely responsible for the violence? How can 969 Gangs operate against Muslims with all the impunity? Where is the rule of law? Where is the government that crashed 88 Demonstrations within few days? Where is the regime that crashed 2007 saffron revolution so effectively? Why could not the current government have arrested and punished a single 969 terrorist or a Rakhine terrorist? TIME magazine has not bothered to find out answers to these damning questions.

To no one’s surprise, the Burmese regime, rather officially, defended Wirathu and his 969 terrorist gangs. On top of that, it officially banned July 2013 TIME Magazine in the country. Is there anyone who is so stupid as not to identify the real criminals behind the crimes against humanity being committed against Muslims in Myanmar? If Wirathu and his 969 Gangs are behind the violence against Muslims, one should bother to wonder who are behind Wirathu and his 969 Gangs. Wirathu is just a smoke screen! Are not they Myanmar government officials and might not also some foreign Corporate Financiers and Global Powers be behind Wirathu and his 969 Gangs? The degree of impunity to commit crimes against humanity and freedom to kill that they are having can lead anyone to have a suspicion that there are certainly Burmese regime and some foreign powers behind them!

On the other hand, it is also possible that Burmese Regime in cooperation with the foreign corporate financiers (who need to maintain good relationships with the regime) were behind such coverage in TIME Magazine. It might be an attempt to classify the politically motivated violence against Muslims as a sheer religious violence in order to steer the attention of the international community away from the leading role played by the regime in the violence. One might argue that the regime, who they themselves call Buddhists, would not do it for doing so can damage the image of Buddhism. However, he/she should look back to 2007 and how the Monks were brutally crashed. Had the regime cared about and respected Buddhism, they would not have been so brutal with the Monks! All the regime cares for are Power and Wealth! Therefore, the official condemnation against TIME Magazine was just show off to please Burmese Buddhist community.

By portraying it as a religious violence during a (so-called) transformational period and simultaneously backing up the Neo-Nazi terrorist movements under the banner of Buddhist nationalism, Burmese regime can benefit a lot.

1)      The regime can have impunity from the crimes they have committed, are committing       and will commit.

2)      They can create more unrest that gives them chances to crawl back to military dictatorship or have people’s supports in 2015 election.

3)      The supremacist regime can get rid of Muslims whom they hate most.

4)      The Sangha or Monks that have the strongest influence on Burmese Buddhist Society and once posed serious threats to Burmese Junta’s Legitimacy can be internationally blacklisted and no longer attract international supports.

5)      Burmese people can no longer have international sympathy and supports in their future movements against oppressions of their own people by the regime and so on. Therefore, the regime is taking advantage at the expense of Buddhists’ sentiments against Muslims. And Burmese Buddhists are damaging the image of Buddhism by wittingly or unwittingly getting involved in the Neo-Nazi Political movements and hence are digging their own graves by their own hands.

As of Wirathu, a puppet of the regime, he can be disposed at any time when he is of no longer use. After all, he is now internationally known as a terrorist. History repeats itself; Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussain had been used and were disposed when they became useless. The TIME Magazine’s story helps the regime to a great extent to commit crimes with impunity. As the usual mainstream media, it also serves the interests of Super Powers and Corporate Financiers.

These sorts of stories, in turn, will also help US government to blackmail Burmese regime if the regime happens to go against US interest in Myanmar due to the pressures of its immediate neighbor and economic giant, China. That is not the end after all. One should understand that TIME is just a media. It will be unable to point out fingers at the regime. In fact, no one really dares point out his/her finger at the regime for the Ethnic Cleansing taking place in Myanmar. When Human Rights Watch (HRW) did, it was criticized by the respective ambassadors of UK and US to Myanmar. According to Dr. Maung Zarni, US ambassador criticized HRW for their report “All You Can Do Is Pray: The Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingyas and Crimes against Humanity in Myanmar” as “you have gone too far in publishing the report.”

HRW Report on Rohingyas and Arakan

M.S. Anwar is a student and activist living in Malaysia. He can be reached at: