An important essay by Dr. Maung Zarni and Natalie Brinham, published in the Brown Journal on World Affairs which looks at the history and re-working of old racist tropes and motifs into new ones by the state of Myanmar as it sanctions oppression against Rohingyas and other Muslims.
Those who frame several large-scale bouts of violence in Rakhine since 2012 and the violence against Muslim communities across the country as sectarian disputes between the country’s Buddhists and Muslims overlook the crucial history of the region and the peoples concerned. Both phenomena predate, by several decades, the country’s military-led democratic transition, which began in 2011. We argue, however, that it is not the process of opening up that has catalyzed simmering and latent religious and communal tensions to boil over. Rather, the violence is a direct outcome of the central, military-controlled state playing the race and faith card for its own evolving strategic ends in a country rich in religious and ethnic diversity