Burmese media: Free from weed ?


Nov 17, 2012

Eleven media group published an article in Burmese language which captioned “Can Arakan Conflict lead to retrograde?” And this, “Radical Islamic Idea forming in Myanmar” is its translation for English version. Being not an Op-ed as it was endorsed by EMG as their sentiments, the author, Zeya Nanda (18 year old) who himself is a young editor of EMG.

The original title of the article was “Radical Islamic Idea forming in Myanmar”. EMG’s senior editors, however, had not well-observed or annotated before they published it and within a few minutes, changed its headline into “Can Arakan Conflict lead to retrograde?”. That is not a pro-standard but apathetic and an entity inclined to Junta’s deeds, often regarded as “Myanma Ne’ Myanma Han”, habitual Burmese ways which is a sarcastic phrase of Burmese comedians.

In accordance with the aftermath of careful observation of EMG’s article and well-balanced movement of Burmese two most influential journals, the real puppet master behind the Rakhine’s conflict is the Burmese local media itself. It was already pointed out in an Op-Ed of Asiasentinel, “A Jingoist Media Foments Violence in Burma’s Arakan state” and now becomes crystal clear.

It also can be well noticed that those two journals have advanced in making extravagant news even about the Burmese Muslims’ diminutive mischief. The Voice Weekly had recently publicized recklessly wasteful news in point of mass Indian tourists in Ta’muu, a town located at Indian border. Having said that, the Eleven media group also deviated the true media ethic even in analyzing of headlines and at this very profitable time, they had broken the trust, especially on social media, between the two communities, Burmese Muslims and Buddhist majority.

Who is real puppet master behind this Arakan conflict? Following the footsteps of racist anti-Islam activist and a monk, Wirathu, Eleven media put a loathsome answer stating that the local Islamic radical groups are real instigators.

The Voice Weekly’s Editor-in-chief, U Kyaw Min Swe shared an analogous note on his personnel facebook page on 3rd Nov. Incontestably, Hmuu Zaw, an official from President’s Office, was one of the first Like button clickers of that note.

Let’s take this is a coincidence, on Nov 8, Hmuu Zaw, once declared facebook as alike as battlefield, and a veteran facebook’s user, Kay Te Zat O were contacted by BBC. On which Kay Te Zat O had questioned to Hmuu Zaw in taking responsibility of a status message with regards to capturing massive weapons at Rohingya’s side and Burmese military was about to launch a military offensive, but later it was described as false information by Eleven Media. For that deliberately untrue info, Hmuu Zaw did not give any definite explanation on BBC’s tele-interview.

So, Eleven and The Voice should examine the level of cahoots in a constructive and apparently well-planned propagation about the instigation of the radical Islamist groups in Burma behind Arakan conflict. Their argument with no attestation might go somewhere in local but internationally it is just regarded as standing aloof from real circumstances.

Now, Eleven media did another ill fame deed. Carelessness in choosing headline and captioning differently in Burmese and English versions of the same article can be marked only as deception.
“The political effect of self-victimization is that it lends support to an anti-Muslim campaign which is already manifested in large-scale violence.” That fact was mentioned in Asiasentinel’s article and which now became undoubtedly a truth.

Even more that article suggests – “Thus, the first step to stop violence in Arakan state should be to temporarily suspend the Burmese language journals, which are shaping public opinion towards mob culture. Otherwise, people will continue to be fooled so as to keep rallying for violence.” and it now escalates into a good proposal.

While going back to Eleven’s article, what is ironic is the editorial endorsement on such kind of inexperienced young editor.

Here are some facts you can find in that article.

1) Though it categorizes the Arakan conflict as an internal issue, its barefaced opinion based on Arab springs, Philippine’s Islamic insurgency once described as internal conflict by the guardian.co.uk and Palestine’s issue. It also concludes with the imaginary likeliness with those incidences. Yet it is one kind of agitating the public to feel insecure with that imaginary terror.

2) Hmuu Zaw once shared wikileak news on facebook about the Rohingya’s contact with terrorist groups. Apart from this, there is no governmental statement regarding the affiliation between Rohingyas and such groups.

3) So, using this situation cleverly, Burmese media self substitutes the government officials and beguiles the public into thinking that there are Islamic radicals who foment the conflicts in Rakhine. But which is very obvious deception like hoisting the pirate flag on a mammoth as it comes without any solid evidence but arbitraries.

Let’s turn on the Eleven’s article.

(a) The riots first happened only at the Bengali majority places in June. Ironically, Bengalis started the recent riots in Bengali minority places. Do they want to say that they are being oppressed by the Rakhine? It is not a long time that the word Rohingya emerged, but they are now calling for the recognition as in the Philippines. Such demand is totally unacceptable.

(b) And the others who have lived over generations (actually it can only be translated as “several decades” instead of “generations” as compared to original Burmese article) and have good language skills, can be given secondary citizenship. Sending them to a third country rings a hollow. They have to be integrated into the community. They must be persuaded to coexist with Rakhine residents like before. Who destroyed this coexistence?

18 year old, Mr Zeya Nanda, here is a question for you. Can “several decades” be spotted as “Recent”? If that fact does not refer to Rohingyas then it is vain to put it into that antagonistic article.

It though accuses that the demand of Rohingyas is same as to those rebels’ in Philippines, lacking in providing even an abridge referral of similarities is so obvious. Zeya Nanda and the EMG senior editors rub off their own memory in recalling constitutionalized autonomous divisions and self-administered zones in Myanmar. Are these people, residing in those divisions and zones, origin of Burmese ethnicity? Did they participate either in the years of struggling for independence or in developing the country even in miniscule number?

Of course, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (IMLF) and Abu Sayyaf group were involved in terrorist attacks. They had been the internal rebels in Philippines for more than 40 years. Their autonomous hunger is much more similar to the people in Burmese constitutionalized autonomous divisions rather than Rohingya’s demands.

In this year Oct 15, a groundbreaking deal with a Muslim rebel group and Philippines government had been announced. Though their agreement depends on establishing autonomous region, it deserves to be a cautious fact that “Manila retaining control over defence” specifically mentioned by guardian.co.uk. Certainly, EMG’s evaluation of Phillipines resolution, which is more like adding up fuel to the Burma’s conflict, can even mislead up to the level of forming a different country out of Philippines.

(c) The stance of the western countries can also be doubted. Can you say they are not diverting the strong Muslim sentiments against Christianity? What if they have that kind of ideas?

That fact is a mere suspect. An opinion like a voice from roadside teashops is not valid for global recognition and such accusations without evidence even can lead to imprisonment. A media which uses words like “What if or Probably” as a basis cannot be anticipated as an international standard.

As mentioned in above, my primary concern over EMG’s controversial article is “cunning propagation at the perfect timing” which is not a media ethic and in consequence of such irresponsible act can be cutting edge in leading others to look at the Muslims in Burma with fear.

What does it mean by “cunning propagation at the perfect time”? During the first unrest taken place in Arakan state, the international media analyzed it as a manipulation of a group of Burmese hardliners who desire to retrograde and to pose a dilemma for Suu Kyi at the verge of her foreign visits. But EMG, instead of presenting such analysis, gave pressure to Suu Kyi to stand a side against Rohingyas.

Dear Mr Editor and EMG! That was indeed a publicly popular analysis. However, your feign ignorance and busy with pointing fingers to other Islamic countries became more and more evident.

The additional concern is trying to mislead the others to feeling insecure as being the neighbourhood of the Muslims.

(d) Myanmar is located in a strategic location. China is seeking a way out to the Indian Ocean, while the US wants a partner to balance China. What is more, has Myanmar attracted some radical Islamic ideas?

(e) After a Arab Spring, Muslim radicals have a chance to switch their strategies.

(f) (There are some examples among Middle East countries, which always pointed out the Israel-Palestine crisis just to cover other matters such as Iran’s nuclear programs.) ASEAN could not view the Rakhine issue as a regional problem. There are more important matters to be addressed. There is another thing to think about: the riots recommencing in Kyaukpyu – which is a vital part to the gas pipeline project scheduled to be operational in 2013.

There is no much impact on emphasizing the focuses of Islamic Radicals on Rohingyas because the Rohingyas need to get a “permission like visa” just to pass across even in one township to another once while “Wa” and “Kokang” reached up to the former capital, Yangon with weapons which was disregarded by the Junta on purpose. It is possible estimation of the interest of Islamic Radicals on Rohingyas if they are in similar situation as those who are now residing in constitutionalized autonomous divisions.

So now EMG, Why don’t you try international media and UN agencies to believe whatever your media regards as the truth since you have too much time spending on pointing fingers to internal conflicts of other countries?

It is such an ironic and well structured fabrication that the Islamic Radicals eying on Rohigyas as they want to take chances on Burma since US is going to start business relation.

Can this be possible that Kalar haters’ sudden hero, the Tatmadaw do not know in details of what the Burmese Muslims have been doing or preaching as they have been the easy target for political stratagem since Junta ruled?

Though Kalar haters’ shout-out is “We are not extremists”. But the ground situation is quite contrary as there have been attacks on Muslim religious buildings and many mosques, especially situated in rural area, have been closed down for no reason.

Of course, residing inside US and harm its welfare is the best way for US haters. I think the EMG and 18 year old editor will be the same mind on this.

So, now what the experts have been saying about Islamist attacks on US? On Feb 9, 2012, the Washington post reported that “the threat of Islamic terrorism is “tiny” and often exaggerated by government officials” by citing a report of a leading anti-terrorism expert.

What about in Europe?

The 2010 report of Europol described that there were 249 terrorist attacks in EU countries and only 3 were caused by Islamist groups. Not 200, not 100 nor 10.


According to attached Europol report, there had been 1317 terrorist attacks in the year of 2007 to 2009 and only 3 can be categorized as Islamist. Hence, the percentage of Islamist terrorisms were only 0.2. Not even 1%.

Therefore, on the basics of the facts, the statement of EMG’s article with regard to the interests of Islamic radical groups on Burma for harming US welfare is nothing but absurd. There is no US based business yet in Burma and one will retreat in tiring of searching for US imports in this opened up country.

By tracking back the verifiable truth, the only conclusion can be done is the possibility of a political party manipulating the Burmese media to use western popular Islamophobia as a tool in whipping up Rakhine conflict to be more swollen.

Once the chief editor of EMG articulated that if it is needed, Burma should practice the Israel ways.

Now, abhorrence of EMG article also relied on the echo of Israel, who had openly violated the UN decisions, as it was stated that “There are some examples among Middle East countries, which always pointed out the Israel-Palestine crisis just to cover other matters such as Iran’s nuclear programs.”

Here is the point to EMG’s ignorance.

Why EMG and 18 year old Editor do not even have a sympathy (for Palestinians) though they are shouting boorishly for not to give land for Rohingyas who are considered as the squatters?

Obviously, it is because of politically well-beneficial Islamophobic stratagem or because there is possibly no illegally migrated Rohingyas. If both were incorrect, EMG would not speak out for Israel-Palestine matter.

18 year old EMG’s editor almost across the whole world in criticizing while he mentioned Rakhine conflicts as internal issue. So, who knows he is also a fowl used as a decoy. Suspected facts do not even need to be found out thoroughly but which come out automatically.

Kyaukpyu gas pipeline project, which will support China’s fuel needs, have been sporadically protested throughout the entire country. But all of the reasons behind such objections suddenly disappeared and only the Rohingyas have been allegedly pointed out as time bomb for that pipeline.

I also would like to present a couple of examples for EMG’s 18 year old editor. Handful of 18 year old students in Burma probably know of the details of Muslim insurgencies in Philippines and Thailand. One can present it for citing as an example and that one is definitely be able to lead the crowd in cheer already. That is the Burmese custom.

So now, EMG’s 18 year old editor also used the Islamic insurgencies as a covered threat. In other way, it can be marked as pushing harshly the Burmese Muslims to a side of suspension.

In 1998, of course, it was before September 11th 2001, the incident of Omagh bombing carried out by RIRA is described as “appalling act of savagery and evil” by Tony Blair.

The RIRA Insurgents

Again, the ETA insurgency in Basque Country was categorized as terrorist group by Spain and EU. They just announced a definitive cessation of armed activity on 20 Oct 2011. According to campacc.org.uk, Spanish war on terror had started long before 2001 and their threats were indeed, ETA and Batasuna.

The ETA Rebellions

Although there are many examples disregard to Islam and other incidences happening in Burma can be compared with those unislamic rebellions, why EMG’s masterminds almost always choose the threat of Muslim groups in other countries is certainly because it is the best way in manipulation at this very much profitable time.

It was mentioned that “Burma scholar Professor David Steinberg wrote in his book “Burma/Myanmar: what everyone needs to know” that Snr-Gen Than Shwe, who retired from public life last year, believes that the most dangerous Burmese frontier region is that shared with Bangladesh—not the area by China as many previously thought.” in “Fresh Arakan Strife bad Omen for Reform” by Aung Zaw who is founder and editor of Irrawaddy. In current situation, Burma media still has Junta’s mental outlook and propensity. The possibility of profitable popularity in giving pretext to Muslims is much higher and which is easy to be carried out in such kind of general member of public who consider discrimination of southern Indian descendants (Kalars) as unworthy for reprehension.

So, the fact mentioned in “A Jingoist Media Foments Violence in Burma’s Arakan state” which states  “the first step to stop violence in Arakan state should be to temporarily suspend the Burmese language journals” is an ugly true.

And free from weed is necessary if we want a clean and fruitful garden. We need to think about it for a harmonious country too.

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