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Buddhadharma : Winter 2018
46 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY against Muslims in the town, resulting in a death toll of forty- three people, mostly killed by sticks and knives, and 830 buildings destroyed. (Again, the men making up the mobs were reported to be drunk and/or high on drugs.) June 2013 After the report of a rape of a Buddhist woman by Kaman Muslim men in Thandwe, violence erupted again, not just against Kaman but also against Rohingya far away from the incident. August 2017 Armed Rohingya rebels—of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)—launched a coordinated attack on thirty border police posts, killing a dozen security forces. This caused the Burmese army to retaliate against the Rohingya throughout Rakhine State with a “scorched earth campaign.” March 2018 By March, more than 6,000 Rohingya had been killed and more than 655,000 had fled to Bangladesh. Over fifty-five villages had been completely bulldozed, removing traces of build- ings, wells, and even vegetation. Here we can see the Myanmar army has learned from the Israeli Army, which many Myanmar officials admire; when asked how to respond to the Rohingya, Dr. Aye Maung, head of Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, said, “We need to be like Israel.” Today Amnesty International says those Rohingya who remain in their villages and camps are being systematically starved to force them to flee the country. It is a situation ripe for genocide. In all cases of violence against Muslims, reports of police partici- pation in the attacks raised suspicions of a link between the mobs and the government. In Azeem Ibrahim’s 2016 book The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide, Ibrahim says that the violence in Myanmar is closely related to inter-ethnic tension in Sri Lanka and Thailand. The key difference in Myanmar, he writes, is that several prominent Buddhist groups such as Ma Ba Tha are actively photo previous page | Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Rohingya refugees who were stranded, then rescued by Indonesian authorities and accommodated in a stadium (May 2015)