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#14784436
'I had to pretend to be a Muslim to survive'
When soldiers went searching for militants in Myanmar's Rakhine state last October, the result for members of the Rohingya minority was disastrous. Villages were burned, men were killed, women were sexually abused. And when one woman complained of rape, she was accused of lying by the office of the country's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and hounded by vengeful soldiers.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor, 25-year-old Jamalida Begum tells me what happened in the days after her husband was shot dead in the village of Pyaung Pyaik, north-western Myanmar.
Jamalida fled with her two children and watched from a distance as the army set houses in the village on fire. Satellite images confirm that at least 85 buildings were destroyed.
Five days later she returned with some of her neighbours to find her belongings and home destroyed. They sheltered together in one of the few homes that had survived - but at dawn the next day the soldiers came back.
"They chose 30 women. Half were young girls aged between 12 and 15," says Jamalida.
The soldiers took them to the village school.
"Then they chose four from among the 30," Jamalida says.
"It was me and three teenage girls. Then we were separated. The army took me to the east of the school near the pond. Another seven soldiers took the other three girls to the hill to the south of the school.
"They shouted at me to open my shirt and my thami (wrap-around skirt). When I refused they started beating me, grabbed my clothes and pushed me to the ground. Three soldiers raped and tortured me for an hour. Blood came out of my lower part and my legs got cramped. They punched me into the eyes saying I was staring at them. It turned my eyes red like fire coal. They left me bleeding and drove away in their Jeeps."
The soldiers were sent into northern Rakhine state to conduct "clearance operations" after militants from Jamalida's ethnic group, the Rohingya, launched an attack on three Burmese police posts on 9 October last year - killing nine officers and seizing guns and ammunition.

A wave of reports of human rights abuses followed, including scores of allegations of rape.
For weeks Myanmar's human rights icon turned leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, denied the allegations, insisting soldiers were adhering to the law, while at the same time refusing to allow independent journalists or observers to access the area.
Freedom and Fear in Myanmar is broadcast on Our World on the BBC News Channel from 11 March - click here for transmission times or to catch up later on iPlayer (UK only)
Click here for transmission times on BBC World News
But as the outcry grew she set up an investigation team, and on 11 December it reached Pyaung Pyaik.
Though initially reluctant, Jamalida was persuaded to speak by the only woman on the team, Dr Thet Thet Zin, the chairman of Myanmar's Women's Affairs Federation.
Aung San Suu Kyi's Facebook page called her story an example of 'Fake Rape' in a big picture banner
"She said we won't harm you, bring us the raped and tortured women," Jamalida says. "So I went there and told her everything and they recorded it."
Jamalida's interaction with the investigation team was filmed and several minutes of it broadcast on television. It is extraordinary footage, not just because of the way Jamalida is browbeaten by the translators, but because the Burmese state broadcaster didn't translate what Jamalida is saying to the investigators in the Rohingya language.
Once fully translated, it's clear that Jamalida is describing strong circumstantial evidence that rape has taken place. She tells them she saw three young Rohingya women being taken off into the bushes by soldiers.
"Did you see if those women were raped or not?" the translator asks.
"I did not," Jamalida replies.
"So, it isn't true," the translator fires back.
"Yes and no," Jamalida says. "They were bleeding directly from here". She points between her legs.
"Don't say that, don't say that, don't say that they are bleeding, just say whether you've seen rape or not," the translator replies.
The translator tells the investigators that Jamalida did not see the women being raped.
Jamalida is also asked directly whether she herself was raped. She tells the investigators that soldiers took her away, stripped her naked and molested her, but says it was "hands only" and not rape.
The translator says: "She wasn't raped."
Here things get complicated.
Ten days later Jamalida is filmed again. This time, a group of handpicked journalists have been brought by the government to Pyaung Pyaik.
Initially none of the Rohingya want to speak to them so someone goes to get Jamalida. She tells the journalists the same story of army abuse again, except this time it changes and she says she was raped.
This discrepancy, between being stripped and molested and being raped, was immediately seized on by Aung San Suu Kyi's office, which was at the time running an aggressive campaign rubbishing foreign and social media reports of atrocities in Rakhine State as "fake news".
Jamalida's face was suddenly on Burmese television and state media once again, now paraded as a liar.
Aung San Suu Kyi's Facebook page called her story an example of "Fake Rape"in a big picture banner.

Banner on the Facebook page of Myanmar's State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi
So what's the truth? When I speak to Jamalida her testimony is detailed and convincing. It matches what she told the journalists and what she said to the investigators apart from that one detail. I believe her when she says she was raped.
I ask Jamalida about the difference in her accounts 10 days apart. She insists that she did tell the government investigators she was raped but that one of the translators was shouting and threatening to beat her. If she did tell the investigators this, it's possible Burmese TV chose not to broadcast this part of her testimony.
"I know they told everyone we weren't raped, tortured or anything," says Jamalida. "We do not have justice in our own country."
The promise made by Thet Thet Zin that no-one would face reprisals for speaking out, turned out to be hollow.
When soldiers came looking for her, she fled to a different village. Then, after speaking to the journalists, she realised it was not safe even there.
"The military were searching for me by getting all the women together in the yard and then showing them my picture," says Jamalida. "I was so scared I hid in the jungle."
Unable to take it any longer, the young widow fled across the River Naf into Bangladesh - one of more than 70,000 Rohingya to have arrived in the last few months.

I spoke to Thet Thet Zin on the phone. She said that although she couldn't remember meeting Jamalida, the soldiers must have been searching for her to protect rather than harass her. She added that she had seen no conclusive evidence of rape and that she doubted it had happened, as it went against Buddhist culture and tradition. (While the Rohingya are Muslim, most of Myanmar's soldiers are Buddhist.)
Bangladesh is now the best place to go to learn what is happening in northern Rakhine state, which is closed to journalists. Even the UN's special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has had very limited access.
"I didn't think that I would say this out loud, that it's crimes against humanity," she says, when we meet in the airport at Cox's Bazaar.
"I think that the military needs to bear [responsibility] but at the end of the day it is the civilian government that has to answer and respond to these massive cases of horrific torture and very inhumane crimes that they have committed against their own people."
On Monday Yanghee Lee will urge the UN Human Rights Council to set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the abuses against the Rohingya.
As dusk began to fall at the Kutupalong refugee camp, where I met Jamalida Begum, I ask her what she thinks of Aung San Suu Kyi.

"She is doing nothing at all for us," she says. "If she was good, we wouldn't have to suffer so much in that country. Since she is in power Myanmar is hell for us."
Suu Kyi's power to stop the army abuses is limited, under the terms of the constitution drafted by the military. The spokesman for her party told me the UN claims were "an exaggeration" and the Rohingya issue was "an internal affair".
But Aung San Suu Kyi hasn't been to northern Rakhine State, and has never visited a Rohingya camp. In short, Myanmar's Nobel peace prize winner has given no indication to the Rohingya that she really cares.
Jonah Fisher's report was a joint investigation by Our World and Newsnight

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-39204086
#14785233
On the plane ride back to the US from Tokyo this past December, I sat next to a very nice fellow who was part of a Christian human rights group providing aid to the displaced in Myanmar. I asked him how things were going and he got rather quiet, so I changed the subject and wished him a merry Christmas.

The point is, I did my part by providing emotional support. What have you done lately?
#14785257
Blondie wrote:The point is, I did my part by providing emotional support. What have you done lately?


Have been a member of Amnesty International and of Liberty for decades now.
#14785259
anarchist23 wrote:Have been a member of Amnesty International and of Liberty for decades now.

Don't forget HRW.

If you actually pay attention to AI (such as reading their yearly reports), you would recognize so much more that goes completely unreported and uncared about. Unfortunately, the public in general is poisoned against these NGOs.
#14785263
Zagadka wrote:Don't forget HRW.

If you actually pay attention to AI (such as reading their yearly reports), you would recognize so much more that goes completely unreported and uncared about. Unfortunately, the public in general is poisoned against these NGOs.


Yes. Am not a member of Human Rights Watch but its a great organisation. Have a daily briefing every weekday from them.
#14786826
There is nothing in Buddhist doctrine or held beliefs that legitimizes the wholescale slaughter and genocide of an entire people. Myanmar is an ugly and unfortunate situation. This should be condemned by Buddhists and non- Buddhists alike.
#14786837
anarchist23 wrote:Yes. Am not a member of Human Rights Watch but its a great organisation. Have a daily briefing every weekday from them.


I am not a very big fan of HRW, while I agree that some people throw a lot of mud against HRW and Soros that is not true at all and that HRW has indeed done some good work reporting on issues around the world, I simply can't bring myself to trust them or support them. I too am a member of Amnesty International and Doctors without Borders which I much prefer to HRW. About 10 years ago I used to monitor the HRW and its press releases, I recall from back then that the large majority of its press releases had to do with minor issues within western countries instead of genocides taking place around the world and a lot of its employees were also columnists in major western newspapers. Back then I became convinced that the main goal of HRW was to influence internal western politics instead of reporting on Human Rights and that idea has remained with me since even though I no longer monitor the HRW website.
#14786852
@noemon

Yes. And HRW still has the stigma of a bias in favour of the Zionists.

But after saying that, here are some of the subjects in the daily briefing today..

Indonesia's Child Tobacco Workers in Peril
Millions of kids in Indonesia start smoking each year. Thousands more work on hazardous tobacco farms. A new bill being considered by Indonesia's president puts them all in peril.
READ MORE »

A Year of Suffering for Asylum Seekers
The EU-Turkey deal has been an unmitigated disaster for the very people it is supposed to protect – the asylum seekers trapped in appalling conditions on Greek islands.
READ MORE »

What Every Country Can Do to Make Schools Safe
Our local school was closed the first time in fall 1992, because local authorities saw that it was no longer safe after it was hit by artillery fire.
READ MORE...

Social Media Trolls Threaten Activists
Death threats and other violent messaging on social media are not just vile words: they can sometimes lead to actual violence.......


And of AI.
Criticism of Amnesty International includes claims of selection bias, as well as ideology/foreign policy bias against either non-Western countries or Western-supported countries.

wiki

The running costs of these mega charities are something else.

Amnesty International is perhaps the world’s most honored and respected human rights organization, having fought the good fight against injustice and poverty around the world for a half century.

But, like any business or organization, Amnesty is not perfect – in recent years, it has endured a number of episodes of inner turmoil, internal conflicts and some questionable financial dealings, despite the group’s noble stated intentions.

For example, Salil Shetty, the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, who has held the position since July 2010, earns nearly £200,000 ($305,000) a year, and senior directors earn up to £107,000 annually. While those salaries are roughly comparable to most other NGO senior executive pay-scales, the messy and somewhat mysterious departure of Shetty’s predecessor, Irene Khan, cast a harsh glare on Amnesty’s internal strife and financial issues.

Khan, who had led the organization since 2001, was given a severance pay package of more than £533,000 ($760,000 in 2012 currency), while her deputy Kate Gilmore received a hefty £325,244 ($493,000) payout. Khan, whose second and last term as secretary-general expired in December 2009, fought a bitter battle to stay on, creating a crisis within Amnesty.

As a result, after much hand-wringing and internal discussion, Khan and Gilmore finally walked off with huge payoffs. Not surprisingly, these payments raised quite a few eyebrows – among other things, the cash compensation Khan received was equal to more than quadruple her annual salary.

http://www.ibtimes.com/amnesty-internat ... ty-1301765
#14841410
It has kicked off again and the Rohingya are being harassed by the Myanmar troops.
There is a flood of refugees that have had their villages burnt to the ground.

At least 100,000 Rohingyas have been forced to flee their homes since August 25, after armed forces began "clearance operations" across Rakhine State.
The government blames "terrorists" for starting the violence. Rohingya militants killed 12 security officers in border post attacks two weeks ago, according to state media, intensifying the latest crackdown.
A top military official said the government was "taking great care in solving the (Rakhine State) problem."
Due to Myanmar's policy of shutting off all access to Rakhine state for the media, CNN is not able to verify any figures independently or any stories told by refugees.
Village burnt down
This new satellite imagery shows the total destruction of a Muslim village, and prompts serious concerns that the level of destruction in northern Rakhine state may be far worse than originally thought.
The images were taken on August 31 of Chein Khar Li village in northern Rakhine State show that about 700 buildings have been burned down, making up about 99% of the village.


Image
#14841435
Its a shame that Amnesty Int. didn't become outraged at Rohingya atrocities that sparked this current situation. And why isn't anyone outraged by the Sultan of Brunei's support of bloodthirsty Muzlim fanatics in the Philippines? No one cares about that either.
#14841444
neopagan wrote:Its a shame that Amnesty Int. didn't become outraged at Rohingya atrocities

Is it that they didn't publish the events, or that no one ever actually reads their nation reports?

https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/as ... t-myanmar/
#14841462
I condemn the Burmese government for not doing enough to defend their people from Muslim terror. Muslims have been getting away with ethnically cleansing Buddhists from western Burma for far too long.

Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon is a classic example of what happens when you try appeasing Muslim terrorists.
#14841751
The Burmese have probably looked at what happened in Indonesia and Malaysia and decided they don't up like what they see. They don't want Buddhism to end like Zoroastrianism or the Bahai. Can't really blame them. People tend to want to continue to exist.

Perhaps if the Rohingya were to stop desecrating the Buddhist shrines that the natives worship at and stop trying to spread Islam by force of arms people would have less of a reason to want them to return home to Bangladesh?

I hope south East Asia does not end up like Europe, their native faiths annihilated by Crusaders spreading a Middle Eastern cult.

Edit: my fucking spelling. :*(

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Crusades
Last edited by Decky on 08 Sep 2017 06:48, edited 2 times in total.
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