April 11, 2013
Recently, a friend forwarded me a link to a web blog. The link points
to a 400-page document, titled “Islam Virus”, which is a collection of
misinformation about Islam – how cruel, inhumane and scary Muslims are.
The owner of the blog mentions that everyone must read the document
because what is happening in Myanmar today is very dangerous and scary.
That is, Islam is threatening the existence of Myanmar. Pointing to
distorted information about gross cruelty, the document urges the people
of Myanmar to protect Myanmar race and Buddhism by opposing Islam and
On the left column of the blog site, there are icons (with links) to
two books. One book is about the colonial-time conflict between Muslims
and Buddhists, and the other is a well-known anti-Muslim book titled
“fearful of the extinction of Burmese and Buddhism”.
On the top of the column was a feature section, labeled National
Traitors, under which people accused of supporting ethnic Rohingyas are
listed. They include Dr. Maung Zarni, Harn Yawnghwe of Euro-Burma
Office, Aung Zaw of The Irrawaddy magazine, Than Win Htut of Democratic
Voice of Burma, and Burmese section directors of the Voice of America
and BBC. There are anti-Rohingya posts here and there throughout the
What I want to say only starts here. Those involved in anti-Muslim
campaigns consistently claim that Kalars (derogatory term for Muslims
and South Asians) are taking over Buddhist women and converting them to
Islam. They also accuse Muslims to be spoiling Burmese woman to destroy
or swallow Burmese culture.
Only when I browse through the internet blog, I realize how irrational people are.
First, the blog urging people to protect Burmese culture and women turns out to a very popular Myanmar web blog.
Second, and more importantly, it is an abusive and disrespectful blog
for women. Why? Because it features nude photos of Burmese women and
leaked videos of Burmese couples. The blog also features photos and
videos of Burmese women/couples shared by blog visitors.Of course, the
attention is on ‘women’, especially their ‘passivity’ and ‘suffering’
during sexual intercourse.
They found the materials somewhere on the internet, or filmed by
themselves. Some women, possibly sex workers, allowed the men to film on
the basis that the films and photos won’t be published on the internet.
Regardless of the promise, these nude photos and videos made their ways
to the blog, which is a hard core pornographic blog accessible to
everyone for free. I will not enclose the blog address here to avoid
further publicizing of it and its contents, especially the women whose
privacy the blog has abused.
As soon as I realized the type of the blog, I immediately saw the
contradiction: calling for protecting Burmese women from ‘kalar’ on the
one hand, and abusing women by i) publicizing pirated photos and videos,
and ii) allowing blog visitors to write sexually abusive comments on
the other. These comments can be read as verbal rapes. Then, I asked to
myself, how possibly can these men, shamelessly writing sexually abusive
comments, protect the nation and the women?
They said they want to protect the women in order to protect the
nation, but they are verbally raping the women whose photos and videos
were pirated. I am amazed how self-proclaimed nationalists claiming to
protect Burmese women (by means of controlling their sexuality and
sex-related life) can easily abuse these women. They do not seem to
think that distributing the women’s nude images for the consumption of
the men they do not have any inter-personal relations is a plain abuse.
If they stay true to what they say about protecting the nation, they
should have opposed to the blog for the sake of the women’s privacy and
dignity. Far from it, they are the ones disgracing the women; they are
the one fulfilling their sexual fantasies on a free website. How
cheap they are!
This is an important indication that nationalists uttering to protect
the nation is not a safe refuge for women. These nationalists are in
fact the enemies of women. They abuse women by dictating personal
decision over relationship and reproduction. They abuse women by
exploiting sexuality and body.
The text said “Sky Net” logo on the TV in the back ground
To continue with my main point, the blog owner posted the 400-page
document on August 23, 2012. I thought he changed his attitude. I
thought he realized he needed to start protecting women and stop abusing
their private matters. But, the next day, he posted another nude photos
of a Burmese lady. What is even more surprising is, he highlighted the
logo of a Burmese channel “Sky net” on the TV in the background to
confirm that she is truly a Burmese.
There are many other photos and videos with exact names and locations
such as cities and countries where the videos were taken. Some
materials were taken secretly and make available on the internet.
The blog also links to another website. I am not too sure if
that belongs to the same person. On the second website, the most popular
post, as I visited in August 2012, was a nude photo of a Burmese
medical doctor in Thailand.
I expected that the woman’s privacy be protected – or at least
respected – by Burmese nationalists who have been upset and/or worried
about Kalars taking advantage of Burmese women’s sexuality. To my
amazement, supposedly the nation-loving and culture-loving blog owner
only publicized the photos of the doctor. The visitors left more than a
hundred comments that said they wanted to have intimate relations with
her (note: of course, their languages were sexually explicit, not even
some decent comments about woman’s body or the sort, but abusive hard
core comments). There is no single comment that said the woman’s privacy
should be respected. The point I want to make is, there is no such
thing as respect for the woman. It was a plain abuse and disrespect.
Book titled “Fearful of the extension of Burmese and Buddhism” (Left); Real Burmese Girl (Right)
The more I browse the blog, the more disturbing things I found. The
blogger posted the book “Fearful of the extinction of Burmese and
Buddhism” on the same day as his posting of a Myanmar-born star.
Similarly, he posted a blog post about Rohingya’s protest in the Middle
East on the same day as his posting of a pirated video in which a woman
was being forced to take off her cloth for filming. I found it strange
that the blog owner was publishing nationalist posts and nude
photos/videos of women at the same time – how contradicting it is. This
makes me wonder, if the nationalists are using pornography for
I need to mention another but similar point. The blogger posted
photos and videos of women specifically in Burmese traditional longyi
(women skirts). This is because the visitors asked if the women were
really Burmese. The blog owners highlighted longyi to prove that they
really were Burmese. I asked to myself: “is this part of Burmese
nationalism? are they that nationalistic that even their sexual fantasy
prefer specifically Burmese? This may sounds strange, but it is
difficult to make sense of how the nationalists can be that sexually
abusive against the women they said they wanted to protect. Perhaps,
they do not want Burmese women to have relationships with ‘Kalars’, but
they think they can abuse the women themselves. Whether or not this is
how they think, but this is how they appear.
In any case, the women need not be protected from Kalars, but from
the Burmese nationalists such as the blog owner and the visitors, the
sex fanatics who have no respect or what so ever for the women.
The hard core, sexually abusive comments on this web blog explains
why anti-Muslim and anti-Rohingya movement in Myanmar is characterized
with sexually explicit language. Perhaps, they are more or less the same
people — or the same sort of people. On various websites, insults
against Muslims in Myanmar have to do with specific words such as male’s
private part, mother, and the F word, just like the comments on the
A monk’s swearing against Muslims with male’s private part, mother and the F word
Translation of the comments:(comment 1) son of a . This is
our country, Myanmar. If you dog can’t say, leave. Mother [email protected]#$-er.
Penis. You dog kalar only go to Masjid to [email protected]# your mother. Penis (9
times). (comment 2) Penis: (15 times)
One might say, who care about what’s going on with this web blog.
This is a website. But I care because this is a million-hit web
blog. Nationalists one way or other band here together, and the massive
amount of sexually abusive comments towards women is quite concerning.
This is a good example of how abusive nationalists can be — to be
more accurate, how abusive “nationalist men” or “manly nationalism” can
be. One thing for sure is no woman expects protection from the people
who do not know the words ‘respect’, ‘privacy’ and ‘dignity’.
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Burma: UN calls for inquiry over Rakhine violence
Thousands of Rakhine people are living in temporary accommodation after fleeing violence
Burma: Battle for Democracy
Ethnic strife remains
EU 'to ease sanctions'
Voices: Bright future
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has called for an independent investigation following claims of abuses by security forces in Burma's Rakhine state.
Ms Pillay said forces sent to quash violence in the northern state were reported to be targeting Muslims.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says about 80,000 people have been displaced following inter-communal violence.
The agency says most of those displaced are living in camps and more tents are being airlifted in to help them.
The latest violence in Rakhine state began in May when a Buddhist ethnic Rakhine woman was raped and murdered by three Muslims.
On 3 June, an unidentified mob killed 10 Muslims.
Ms Pillay's office says that since then at least 78 people have been killed in ensuing violence but unofficial estimates are higher.
"We have been receiving a stream of reports from independent sources alleging discriminatory and arbitrary responses by security forces, and even their instigation of and involvement in clashes," Ms
Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.
"Reports indicate that the initial swift response of the authorities to the communal violence may have turned into a crackdown targeting Muslims, in particular members of the Rohingya community."
She welcomed a government decision to allow a UN envoy access to Rakhine state next week, but said it was "no substitute for a fully-fledged independent investigation".
'Scared to return'
The UNHCR says that about 80,000 people had been displaced in and around the towns of Sittwe and Maungdaw.
Spokesman Andrej Mahecic said that many were too scared to return home while others were being prevented from earning a living.
"Some displaced Muslims tell UNHCR staff they would also like to go home to resume work, but fear for their safety," he said.
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently called for laws to protect the rights of ethnic minority groups.
In her first statement in parliament, she said such laws were important for Burma to become a truly democratic nation of mutual respect.
Burma has undergone a series of political reforms initiated by the military-backed government.
But some parts of the country are still hit by conflict and unrest, most recently Rakhine state.
Iran ready to send aid workers to help Myanmar Rohingyas: IRCS spokesman
Mohammad Rafique, a Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar ©, begs a Bangladeshi Coast Guard official at Shahporir Dwip in Taknaf not to send his family back to Myanmar. (File photo)
Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:56PM GMT
The Relief and Rescue Organization of the IRCS is prepared to send relief teams to help Myanmarese Muslims.”
Spokesman for Relief and Rescue Organization of Iran's Red Crescent Society
An official at Iran's Red Crescent Society (IRCS) says the agency has already sent aid shipments to the oppressed Muslims of Myanmar and is ready to dispatch aid workers to the East Asian state.
“The Relief and Rescue Organization of the IRCS is prepared to send relief teams to help Myanmarese Muslims,” Hossein Derakhshan, the spokesman for the Relief and Rescue Organization, told Fars News Agency on Wednesday.
He added, “The IRCS has expressed readiness in this regard, but coordination is necessary through Myanmarese officials before Iranian aid workers can be dispatched [to Myanmar].”
On July 22, the IRCS called on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a letter to condemn the mass slaughter of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and take prompt measures to stop violence against the community.
The letter also lamented the international community’s apathy towards the humanitarian catastrophe in Myanmar, stressing the need for global condemnation of genocide in the country.
The government of Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas, who it claims are not natives and classifies them as illegal migrants. This comes as the Rohingya are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.
Myanmar’s President Thein Sein said on July 19 that the "only solution" to the plight of Rohingya Muslims is to send the country’s nearly one million Muslims -- which is one of the world’s most persecuted minorities -- to refugee camps run by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
However, the UN refugee agency has snubbed the idea of setting up refugee camps to accommodate the Rohingyas.
"We will send them away if any third country would accept them," Sein added. "This is what we are thinking is the solution to the issue."
Even Myanmar’s Western-sponsored democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has kept silent on atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya Muslims.
Over the past two years, scores of ethnic Muslims have attempted to flee by boats in the face of systematic oppression by the Myanmar government.
20 July 2012 Last updated at 13:27 GMT
Muslims in Burma's Rakhine state 'abused' - Amnesty
Many Rohingya have fled Rakhine in the wake of the violence in JuneContinue reading the main story
Q&A: Unrest in Burma's Rakhine state
Old tensions bubble in Burma
Stateless Burmese Rohingyas lament India 'hardships'
Muslims in Burma's western Rakhine state have been subjected to attacks and arbitrary arrests in the weeks since communal violence erupted, Amnesty International says.
A state of emergency was declared in Rakhine in June after deadly clashes between Buddhists and Muslims.
Since then, hundreds of people have been detained in the areas where Muslim Rohingya people live, a spokesman said.
The government has dismissed the allegations as "groundless and biased".
Win Myaing, a government spokesman for Rakhine state, told the Associated Press news agency that the claims are "totally opposite of what is happening on the ground", adding that the region was calm.
But although communal violence has eased since the unrest in June, violations by the security forces appear to have increased, rights groups say.
Amnesty accuses Burmese security forces as well as ethnic Rakhine Buddhist residents of assaults, unlawful killings of Muslims and the destruction of property.
"Most cases have meant targeted attacks on the minority Rohingya population and they were bearing the brunt of most of that communal violence in June and they continue to bear the lion's share of the violations perpetrated by the state security forces," Amnesty researcher Benjamin Zawacki told the BBC's Viv Marsh.
Continue reading the main story
Q&A: Rakhine unrest
Chris Lewa, director of The Arakan Project, which focuses on Rohingyas in the region, also told our correspondent that hundreds of Rohingya Muslims had been arrested, with allegations that some had been beaten and even tortured.
"Shortly after the main violence... then we start seeing a new phase of, I would say, state-sanctioned abuses, where especially in Maung Daw... we heard on a daily basis about mass arrests of Rohingya," Ms Lewa told the BBC.
Reports from the group's network of sources in the area, mostly Rohingya, also said that authorities allowed Rakhine youth to assault Rohingyas in custody. The group also alleges that Burmese authorities took part in looting of shops and homes belonging to Rohingya.
The Burmese authorities denied similar allegations made by Amnesty International.
Some of the Rohingya Muslims arrested were held in connection with violence that erupted in Rakhine on 8 June, the day on which, observers say, violence was largely carried out by Rohingyas. The Arakan Project also says that some Rakhine, particularly those found with weapons, were arrested.
It is difficult to verify any of the information provided by such sources, as journalists cannot access the area.
Violence between Buddhists and Muslims flared after the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman in May, followed by an attack on a bus carrying Muslims.
Communal unrest continued in parts of Maung Daw as Muslims attacked Buddhist homes. Reprisal attacks then targeted Muslim homes and communities. The attacks left many dead and forced thousands of people on both sides to flee their homes.
There have been long-standing tensions between Rakhine people, who are Buddhist and make up the majority of the state's population, and Muslims many of whom are Rohingya.
Many Rakhine Buddhists have said that much of the violence in June was carried out against them by Rohingya groups. Rohingyas say they have been forced to flee because of the violence.
Earlier this month, Burma's President Thein Sein said the "solution" for the Rohingya was deportation or refugee camps.