The extreme violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar (Burma) is closer to extermination than religious persecution. One key factor insufficiently recognized is the massive land grabbing that is happening in Burma and has now reached into the poorest state, Rakhine. Land grabbing has become a major factor in multiple displacements, including in Central America. Too many explanations stop short from seeing a larger economic vortex of land grabbing.
On Myanmar’s coast the villages of the persecuted Rohingya Muslims keep going up in flames, displacing 30,000. The army has shut out aid workers and independent observers, and plans to arm a local Buddhist militia, composed of ethnic Arakanese, a “recipe for disaster,” according to the International Commission of Jurists. But the Arakan National Party (ANP), which hailed Donald Trump’s election and favors “inhuman acts” to cleanse Myanmar of Muslims, endorsed it.
The Western media regards the status of the Rohingya people in Burma (Myanmar) as a minor detail in the wooing of a country known for its precious natural resources. While the electoral victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy represents a momentous event in Burma, the horrific treatment of the one million Rohingya Muslims who were denied the right to vote, stand for office, or even inclusion in a recent census, also demands our attention.