There’s one famous Buddhist monk who was on the cover of Time magazine a couple of years ago, and he’s described as a “Buddhist Bin Laden.” His name is Ashin Wirathu. He’s a very strange character because he wears the Buddhist garb, which is worn to demonstrate your withdrawal from the world. At the same time, he has diamond-studded watches; he flies on a private jet. It’s completely contradictory. He’s one of the main instigators of the violence. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and Wirathu and followers of his Buddhist nationalist 969 movement believe that the Rohingya minority have all reincarnated from snakes and insects. So when you actually kill them, you’re not actually killing people, you’re actually just killing snakes and insects. That laid the foundation for the current situation that we’re in.
Can you give a basic overview of the current situation?
The Rohingya faced wave after wave of violence, which began to escalate in 2012. The United Nations has called them among the most persecuted minorities in the world. A recent Harvard study said that one in seven stateless around the world are of Rohingya origin. The Rohingya have basically been removed from their villages. They’re placed in this huge mass of concentration camps, hundreds of thousands of them, in which they’re denied education, they’re denied health care. They’re not permitted to marry; they’re not permitted to have children unless they’ve got a license. They’re stripped of all dignity.
Now, Myanmar’s policy is to try to expel them all, and hoping that a third country will take them. In the last few days, hundreds of thousands have poured into Bangladesh. Bangladesh is already hosting about 400,000 Rohingya, and many experts now believe that by the end of this period, you could have 30 to 40 percent of the entire population of the Rohingya being ethnically cleansed just in this short period of time.
via New York What the Hell Is Happening in Myanmar?