The current Rohingya situation in Burma is being discussed a lot these days, and the general narrative seems to be that the Muslim Rohingya are entirely victims, and the Buddhist Burmese are terrible and committing acts of genocide. Speaking against the Rohingya in any way seems to attract accusations of ‘Islamobhobia’. And there have even been calls to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her Nobel Peace Prize for not speaking up loudly enough in favour of the Rohingya cause. To me, this situation seems to be imbalanced.
I do not condone violence. And I believe it is wrong to judge any people as bad merely on the basis of what religion they follow. However, I am a keen supporter of objectivity and of factual information. I would therefore like to share here two items - a video from BBC news on the issue, in which you will hear two sides of the story from two women whose backgrounds I have detailed below for those interested (it is good to know your sources); and an article on the history and background of this current situation.
I welcome any criticism by anyone who can demonstrate any factual errors in either source. I say that because I do not have a fixed view. I think this issue is worthy of open conversation, and I am against the idea that one should stick to one opinion and close ones ears and eyes to information that might challenge ones views. I believe ‘truth’ and ‘objectivity’ are far more important than ‘my’ views, if I had any.
Here is the video:
Here is also a detailed analysis of the history of this issue:
https://bdcburma.wordpress.com/2012/09/ ... ern-burma/
Background on the two speakers in the video:
The first lady to speak on this issue is Sanam Shantyaei. According to her company France 24’s website, she is “a specialist on Iran coverage and the weekly host of Middle East Matters”. I struggled to find more info about her, there’s no wikipedia page on her, but to quote her profile on the website of the company she works for in full:
“She is a British-Iranian journalist with more than a decade's experience as a foreign correspondent and international news television producer. At France 24, she is notably a specialist on Iran coverage and the weekly host of Middle East Matters.”
The second lady to speak is Priscilla Clapp. She is currently a senior advisor to the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Asia Society. Here’s more about her:�During her 30-year career with the U.S. Government, Ms. Clapp served as chief of mission and permanent charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Burma (1999-2002), deputy chief of mission in the U.S. Embassy in South Africa (1993-96), principal deputy assistant aecretary of state for Refugee Programs (1989-1993), deputy political counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow (1986-88), and chief of political-military affairs in the U.S. Embassy in Japan (1981-85). She also worked on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, in the East Asian, Political Military and International Organizations bureaus, and with the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
Prior to government service, Ms. Clapp spent ten years in foreign policy and arms control research, with the MIT Center for International Studies and as a Research Associate at the Brookings Institution. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Ms. Clapp’s books include: with Morton Halperin, "Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy" (Brookings, 2006), with I.M. Destler et al., "Managing an Alliance: the Politics of U.S.-Japanese Relations" (Brookings, 1976), with Morton Halperin, "U.S.-Japanese Relations in the 1970's" (Harvard, 1974). She is a frequent media commentator and the author of numerous publications on Burma and U.S. Burma policy with USIP, the Brookings Institution, the East-West Center, Australia National University, the Asia Society, the National Bureau of Asian Research, Singapore’s ISEAS and others.
If anyone can clearly disprove any of Ms. Clapp’s statements in the video, or any of the historical information in the article, I welcome you to comment with your reasoning and references. I am not posting these because I have verified all of the information myself and these are not my own opinions. Rather, I am posting them because I have no reason to believe they contain false data (except for Sanam Shantyaei's data as first speaker in the video). And because it seems the general information in the public discourse appears to be biased, incomplete, and inaccurate.