Friday, May 31, 2013

Myanmar, Burma, Living in La La Land with Two-Child Policy

Burmese authorities, including President Thein Sein, are living with their collective heads in the clouds. The idea that a government can single out one ethnic minority and restrict their breeding to two children is as obscene as it is illegal, a form of ethnic cleansing that should warrant the attention of prosecutors at the international Criminal Court (ICC).

More so, given the government’s desire to see Burma normalize relations with the rest of the world, which would mean being subjected to the numerous resolutions and agreements struck by the United Nations over the last 60 years or more, when Rangoon was opting to model itself on the likes of North Korea in a bizarre form of military socialism that enriched the leaders and left the overall population destitute.

Even opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, if only briefly, stopped toeing the government line and spoke out against the reinforcement of the two-child policy, first initiated in 1994, for Muslim Rohingyas. However, her comments again seemed to lack the moral backbone that once made her famous.

“If true, this is against the law,” she said.

Much of the violence against Muslims over the past 12-months was launched in the state of Rakhine, where almost 200 people were killed during the bloodiest period in the second half of last year. It is also where a government commission claimed it “found“ that population growth among the Rohingyas was behind the sectarian violence.

Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing left no doubts about the intentions of the policy, saying that it would be mandatory for all Rohingya, although the government was still determining how to enforce it.

Given the level of well-documented violence in the past year, including rape, torture, beatings and detention, perhaps the idea of Myaing and his cohorts sitting back and mulling over ways to enforce a population control program for people it does not like should not come as a surprise. What’s it to be? Sterilization? Forced abortion?

"This is the best way to control the population explosion which is a threat to our national identity. If no measure is taken to control the population, there is a danger of losing our own identity," said the National Affairs Minister for the Yangon Region Zaw Aye Maung.

He also suggested that the government would be doing the Muslims a favor because the two-child policy would reduce the costs of raising a family.
Much of the ethnic violence in Burma has been blamed on the country’s Buddhist monks, who have broken every conceivable notion of Buddhism as a purely peaceful religion and hold fast to government propaganda that Burmese Muslims are just Bengalis who fled across the border sometime back.
One Buddhist monk from Maungdaw township was, according to Agence-France-Presse, enthusiastic.

"It's a good idea. If the government can really control the Bengali population in the area, the other communities will feel more secure and there will be less violence like what happened in the past," said the monk named Manithara.
Thein Sein has showed himself to be a clever politician, bringing his country in from the cold while allowing the generals, who ruled with an iron fist for than half a century, to don business suits and reinvent themselves as politicians. He might soon be able to add ethnic cleansing and genocide to his list of accomplishments. By Luke Hunt for The Diplomat

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