A quick search of Google News yesterday showed that, with the exception of Reuters, no Western media outlet or news agency is regularly reporting on the recent massacre against Muslims in urban Burma (Myanmar). The BBC, while reporting on a curiously silent Aung San Suu Kyi devoted a paragraph to it, but we have yet to see a single dedicated story so far.
How many dead urban Muslims and how muchdestroyed property does it take to cough up a story? It probably depends on the attendant geo-politics.
Taking a look at regional papers, Arab and Indian newspapers have picked up the issue in quite a serious manner. Curiously, China remains silent and its silence is ominous. The Chinese media is usually very sensitive to events in its neighbourhood — especially in a strategically located country with which it shares a border and some ethnic ties. Burma is also close to China’s western provinces.
Cameron brought Neo-con Democracy to Burma
David Cameron visited Burma last year (2012) and miraculously convinced the military junta to embrace democratic ideals, with barely a chirp from China. It was most likely the dutiful silence of a confidante. In case you didn’t get it by now, I am deliberately not using the word ‘Myanmar’ in this article and referring to the country by its colonial name. David Cameron legitimised Burma’s military leadership and got them to play along with the Democracy’s anointed heroine Suu Kyi. She has remained silent on the Muslim issue since then. An almost dutiful silence.
Just imagine this during Burma’s ‘bad boy’ days. At first, the violence targeted the tribal Rohingyas and the authorities could be excused for being caught off-guard. Now, the organised violence zeroes in on Muslim merchants in cities. While the merchants fled their area overnight, burning, looting and killing continued unabated with the authorities looking on. In an ominous foreboding, a Burmese has, controversially, compared it to Kristallnacht (opinion, not news, in the NY Times). There are also reports of increasing anti-Muslim violence by Buddhists in Sri Lanka.
So, what’s the deal here? Here is a conspiracy theory making the rounds among British Muslims: The latest neo-con folly seems to be another international adventure. Burma is the land link between the Far East’s 300 million Muslims, and an equal number on the Indian subcontinent. Cleanse it of Muslims and you break the crescent-shaped contiguous lands of Eurasia and Africa. Bosnia, anyone? The neo-con thinking then was: no Muslims in Europe. It remained below the media radar until enough Europeans spoke out — ‘not again’ — and Bill Clinton had to get involved. But it happens yet again.
If true, then what the overpaid neo-con armchair pundits don’t get is that they will soon convert some of the most docile Muslims in the world into terrorists and then they would have to invade and then use civilian-controlled drones when they pull out. And there will be 100 news stories a day! Extending the conspiracy theory, perhaps that is the goal — as with Kashmir, Chechnya, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each of these countries has had tribal affiliations, military history and pre-existing militias, but Burma? The urban merchant Muslims there probably don’t even slaughter their own chickens!
Needless to say, the frustration of British Muslims over Burma continues to rise, but there is little avenue to express it. They feel boxed in, and this is where the linkage between foreign policy compromises and domestic peace comes in.
Advice for British Neo-cons on how to Solve Muslim ‘problems’
Do the Conservatives really want to solve ‘Muslim problems’? Start off with no secret courts for ordinary Muslims — no torture and no drones. Charity begins at home and not through 20th-century international intrigues. Kick the Saudi-financed misogynistic mullahs out of the country — round every single non-citizen Wahhabi-inspired mullah and put them on a plane. The law allows it and there will be a collective sigh of relief. And after the dust settles, the chips will fall in all the right places.
These Saudi-financed extremists are the ones stoking tensions within Muslim communities — radicalizing young men and harassing women and Muslim youth. Women and youth who do not opt for the mullah‘s line and want to participate in normal British life have to cut themselves off from their communities or be ostracized. Those who remain in their ghettos might as live in an alternate parallel reality. Well, if we kick out the Wahhabist and Salafist extremists, where will the media get their stories then — not that they absolutely need a kernel of truth. OK, maybe since Leveson!
And the Conservative government tolerates these Saudi-financed fanatics in their midst because they are spewing venom against Shia Muslims, and by extension, Iran. Iran, as in Persia — the enemy du jour. And on the streets of East London and the Midlands, Muslim women and youth are suffering — scared of the *mullahs *and not trusting their government that has taken sides in the proxy war between Israel and Iran.
What is the Neo-con end-game?
What is the link, you may wonder, between Burma and Birmingham? The British government has taken sides in the most tragic way: coddling Saudis whose anti-Shia venom strikes British cities. Hateful venom needs hateful ideological underpinnings. While Cameron follows the international plans of overpaid 20-something American-inspired consultants, he has to coddle the Saudis and turns a blind eye to the Saudi-financed fanatical priests in Britain who are the cause of 90% of Muslim problems here in Britain and across the Muslim world. Why? Saudis turn a blind eye to Israel as they think they share the fantasy of a common enemy — Iran. The Saudis employ their *mullah *think-tanks to spew out venomous anti-Shia hatred — for them, every solution lies in a fatwa that results in some type of religious fervour. We saw how that backfired when bin Laden never got off the high against the Soviets. In our government’s continuing international follies, it does not matter that Iran is a healthy democracy. Such rank hypocrisy by the guardians of the cradle of modern democracy must have consequences: British Muslims suffer in silence and other British citizens are horrified at what goes on inside Muslim ghettos in Britain.
So, while Shias are welcomed for Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, anti-Shia hate is spreading on Britain’s streets. NB: To preserve my chances of a Hajj in the future, I should fully disclose that I usually support the Saudis’ shrewdness in politics and it is on this specific issue that I vehemently disagree.
What is the neo-con’s end game, anyways? Criminalize, marginalize and castrate our Muslim citizens? Make them a laughing-stock? And hope their frustrated anger will subjugate itself into silent subservience? Or follow the founding principles of civilization — that humans are equal and society organizes our collective existence. The radicalization of British-born Muslim men and the ghetto-ization of British Muslim women are entirely the failure of government policies which has sovereignty over all aspects of our lives. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the theory of genetic predisposition and occasionally wear Nazi regalia. Or you believe that mining subsidiaries of multinational corporations that also control newspapers can better raid poorer countries if the poor countries’ ethnic groups and religions are dehumanized? Kinda what they did to Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries. And all packaged with free protection from the British army on their greedy little raids. Too far-fetched a conspiracy theory, I think. Perhaps not, as the merchant has evolved little in human history — he has just had varying degrees of support from the nobility and the shamans.
Listen, if you can get a person like me to look twice at a conspiracy theory, you’ve probably lost most Muslims. I am still not totally believing what I have written above, but at the end of the day, I have to trust what reason and logic tells me. Unlike some 20-something (OK, 30-something) Whitehall apparatchiks playing on a chessboard of the world — not knowing they are headed for yet another stalemate. Britain is not a superpower, and the Blairite lap-dog role is backfiring. Britain needs to be a plucky little left-ish champion for its core ideals — the ideals that have defined her modern history. As we saw during the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony, the British people relish that role.