Activists Demand Action As Further Genocide Looms
Activists the world over are voicing outrage and calling for action, regarding a new wave of genocidal violence, which is expected to begin shortly in Myanmar. Anonymous, along with others, are planning another round of demonstrations and “twitterstorms” to demand media and governmental attention be drawn to the atrocities, which have thus far gone largely unreported by mainstream Western media outlets.
Panic and terror are gripping Muslims throughout Myanmar today, as rumors and official warnings of further escalations of ethnic violence and genocide circulate throughout the country. Yesterday, military authorities were reported to have ordered the Rohingya village of Paikthe to prepare for further attacks by Buddhist extremists.
Fears of impending massacres by armed mobs against the largely defenseless Rohingya and ethnic Burmese Muslims have caused mass exoduses in some areas, as families seek to flee the latest wave of these planned and coordinated attacks. There are unconfirmed reports that attacks and arson have already begun in the town of Tharyarwadi, with mobs attacking residents and burning homes.
These latest reports come as the Rohingya people, as well as Muslims throughout the Burma/Myanmar, struggle to come to grips with the waves of savage violence visited on them by area militants and mobs, over the course of this month. Last week, a total of 32 people were confirmed to have been killed, with that number likely to rise even higher, given the numbers of those missing and feared dead.
In a report by independent UK journalist Assed Baig, who had been in Myanmar since Sunday, area Muslims in hiding throughout the city of Mandalay are recalling the terror and bloodshed that accompanied their efforts to escape the violence and persecution in Meiktila. While speaking with some of those presently in hiding, a seventeen year old student, identified only as “Hafiz” recounted his flight, after being told by his teacher to run from the roaming mobs,
“We ran, we saw the younger children falling over, the older kids had to help them. We hid, and then moved from place to place until we were rescued and brought here. I’m not sure where some of my other friends are.”
When shown photos taken days earlier during a tour of the destruction, one photo, depicting a young man, dead of what appears to be a machete wound to the neck, Hafiz paused, touching the screen, before stating simply, “That’s my friend.” Cycling through additional photos, Hafiz managed to identify two other bodies, both dead youths, by name.
Additional, albeit unconfirmed reports are circulating, that as a kick off to this next round of massacres, up to 80 Muslim school children where burned alive in their school house, along with a local Buddhist woman, who was attempting to save them.
The carnage wrought by the Buddhist mobs, at the behest and encouragement of area monks such as the fanatical “Burmese Bin Laden,” monk Wirathu, has continued to be largely ignored by the Myanmar government. In Meiktila, it wasn’t until after three days of violence that the army was dispatched to restore order. The hundreds displaced who had not gone into hiding or fled the city entirely, are presently still encamped in a local stadium, under military guard.
The highly regarded human rights and democracy advocate Aung San Suukyi, who has been praised in recent years by the Western media for her struggles against the now declining military junta, has remained largely silent on the matter. Explaining her silence last November, following a summer of untamed ethnic cleansing and violence, San Suukyi stated that the clashes (as she put it,) were an “international tragedy,” but went on to declare that she could not “take sides” in the conflict.
In response to the general silence by national authorities across the globe, as well as major media outlets, activists from human rights organizations world wide, as well as the hacktivist group Anonymous, have taken steps to organize demonstrations, both online and off. Sunday, demonstrators rallied outside of the CNN headquarters in Los Angeles, to demand that the news giant help expose the ongoing genocide. Additionally, tightly organized “twitterstorms” (organized efforts to help subjects trend through Twitter) allowed the hashtag #RohingyaNOW to trend at number one world-wide, for a matter of hours.
Similar demonstrations and “twitterstorms” are planned for today, in the hopes that they may help in addressing and quelling the massacres yet to come. Additionally, efforts by Rohingya Journalism Fund as well as Rohingya Daily are underway to help support and promote journalism focusing on the genocide in light of the mainstream media’s silence. Progressive Press will continue to cover the story as it develops.
(Top video from Jamila Hanan, image credit: akrockefeller.com/news/, bottom video is from wearehelp.org)
(Author clarification: In our previous report on the genocide in Myanmar, it was reported that last weeks violence was focused on the Rohingya people specifically. While the Rohingya people are primary targets of this ongoing ethnic cleansing, and did suffer attacks at the time, the violence reported on last week was against Burmese Muslims in central Myanmar. We apologize for the error.)