Action Alert: Give Positive Feedback to The Atlantic

Give positive feedback to The Atlantic for their excellent pictorial essay on Rohingya in an internally displaced persons camp!

World Buddhist Leaders’ Response to the Growing Ethnic Violence Against Muslims in Myanmar

In the last few months, Jack Kornfield has organized a group of concerned Buddhist elders, including the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh, to publish a full-page letter in Burmese newspapers encouraging the Burmese to stand up for their noble tradition of respect and nonviolence. The following is the full text of that letter. Following that letter is a full list of links for keeping updated and adding your voice to the call for peace in Burma.

Buddhists show support of Rohingyas

Buddhist leaders from around the world issued a statement that urged Buddhists in Burma to show compassion and respect to the Muslims in Rakhine State. Many Buddhists in that state have been complicit in holding demonstrations and acting violently toward the Rohingya Muslims. 

The Dalai Lama says reports of human rights violations in Burma 'very unfortunate'

Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama called the reports of gross human rights violations in Burma “very unfortunate” and said he tried to contact pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese government over the issue.


Dalai Lama speaks up about about Rohingyas

The Dalai Lama posted on his website about the appeals he has made to Aung San Suu Kyi for the Rohingya in Burma. 

He said he has written to her twice to ask her to use her influence to bring a peaceful resolution to the difficulties the Rohingya are facing. He has also tried to seek an appointment with the Burmese embassy to convey his views. 

Although he has had appeals to visit Burma, the Dalai Lama said that Burma is not open for him to visit. 

What is really happening to Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya? Why is it significant?

A slow burning genocide of 36-years with periodic spikes of violence and killings followed by waves of exoduses of fleeing Refugees to nearby Bangladesh, as well as Thailand, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Australia and other Western countries.

How is it that Buddhist monks seem to be involved? I thought they were into peace and compassion?

While Buddhism as a philosophical system is about universal loving kindness, accepting impermanence through a non-essentializable or solid ego, some of Myanmar’s Buddhism and Buddhist monks are contaminated with the country’s racist nationalism. Monks’ involvement in anti-Muslim deeds and words is more to do with racism and nationalism than with Buddhism as a spiritual philosophy. Even in Theravada Buddhism, no true monks/nuns or laymen/women can claim to be both nationalist or patriotic as well as defenders of a path that seeks liberation from suffering.

So this is Buddhists against Muslims?

No, absolutely not.

Again as explained above, it is in fact Myanmar nationalists acting irrationally towards the manufactured enemy of Buddhist faith and Myanmar race, Muslims of all ethnic backgrounds. Because Rohingya are concentrated in the pockets in Northern Rakhine State, unlike other Muslim communities that are scattered across the country, Rohingya Muslims have become the easiest target for organized attacks and state-sponsored persecution.

Isn't this just a symptom of the reforms that the government is being praised for?

What solid evidence is there that the military and /or government are involved?

Virtually all human rights reports on the situation of Rohingya, including reports of the UN Human Rights Rapporteurs on Myanmar have noted both direct and indirect involvement of Myanmar’s security forces, which are centrally – not locally from Rakhine state administration based in Sittwe - commanded from the Ministry of Defence in the violence towards Rohingya. Rohingya affairs are under the direct command of the military government, now quasi-civilian government of Thein Sein, at the highest level.

If it was actually genocide then wouldn’t there be scenes like in Rwanda or Cambodia’s Killing Fields?

Popular perception of a genocide is about dramatic spikes of mass killings as in Cambodia of Khmer Rouge days (1975-79) or 1994 Rwanda. But a genocide is not simply about media-genic scenes of mass killings.