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According to most of the world’s media, an unfathomable tragedy has been unfolding in Myanmar.The Buddhist majority, inflamed by rabble-rousing anti-Muslim monks, has been persecuting, killing, even massacring, members of the entirely inoffensive Muslim Rohingya minority in the western state of Rakhine (formerly, and in some places still, known as “Arakan”).Only a handful of the reports mention, and only briefly, as if in passing, that the current violence began when, in mid-August, Rohingya fighters attacked 30 different police stations and an army base, as part of their campaign to stake their claim to Rakhine State, in western Myanmar, and showing themselves able “to strike terror in the hearts” of the Infidels to get it.The attacks left more than 70 dead, Muslims and Buddhists.In the last month, the world media reports, 250,000 Rohingya have now fled the latest cycle of violence, that began with Rohingya attacks on the military in mid-August, for Bangladesh.In fact, Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken out, but not in the way that many expected.It was taken by Albert Facelly for Sipa, and was one of series of photos that won a World Press Award.It has also been difficult to track down the fourth image, of people immersed in a canal, but it can be found on a website appealing for funds to help victims of recent flooding in Nepal.
This is what the BBC’s south-east Asia correspondent has confirmed.
She has noted that “fake news” about atrocities in Myanmar have been relied on by much of the world’s media.
More than a few of the stories about the Rohingya have indeed been accompanied by photos purportedly showing the violence against them, but which, in fact, have turned out to be photos of other atrocities experienced by other peoples, having nothing to do with Myanmar.
Particularly disappointing for many in the West (not to speak of the reactions of Pakistan, Al Jazeera, and Tariq Ramadan) has been what they regard as the unforgivable silence of Aung San Suu Kyi, currently the head of the Myanmar government.
For Aung San Suu Kyi was formerly the leader of the nonviolent opposition to the Burmese military, placed under house arrest by the generals, then freed, and awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.