Rohingya Genocide and the passive involvement of Burmese Authoritarian Left

Ven Wirathu Racist Monk with far-left ABFSU Student Union

Exposing the underreported involvement of Burmese Authoritarian left on Rohingya Genocide as an activist who is a descendant of Bengali ethnicity and who also has the distance relatives from Rohingya ethnicity. However, I'm not a ethno-nationalist in any sense. I am only writing this for accountability, responsibility and universal human rights.

Submitted by heinhtetkyaw on June 10, 2024

Rohingya Genocide was indeed a commonly known incident even for those who don’t really know much about Burma. Before the Rohingya Genocide, Burma was only well known for Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy, even for the activist circles. Later, Rohingya Genocide is something that made Burma famous again, not in the good way.

Everyone well aware that Rohingya Genocide is committed by the Myanmar Military Army and Aung San Suu Kyi defended them at ICJ. There are some interpretations that since ICJ sued the whole nation instead of the Myanmar Military Army as the sole entity, Aung San Suu Kyi had to defend the nation. Regardless, if it’s the case, she could simply say the Myanmar Military Army did it and the state has nothing to do with it. She didn’t do as such. Rohingya Genocide has its root in 2012 Rakhine-Rohingya riots and the 969 grassroot movements which in turn has their roots in far-right islamist Pakistan separationist movement from Burma of 1946 and Arakan massacres by Rohingya in 1942 (during colonial era of divide and rule politics of British colonialism).

The main underreported information of the whole Rohingya Genocide was the passive involvement of Burmese Authoritarian Left. Venerable Wirathu, the xenophobic and racist monk whom Time magazine called “The Face of Buddhist Terror” used to be active among the far-left circles. One of his first books from around 2000s, named “The Criminals of History”. In that book, Venerable Wirathu wrote about how the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee was reactionary and tool of the military dictatorship at the expense of the grassroot monk community. After his release of prison at 2012, he was seen preaching anti-military and pro-NLD messages at the local branches of NLD party. In 2012, Venerable Wirathu was invited by the chairman of the Kayan New Land Party, Than Soe Naing, to discuss and deliver knowledges on nationalism, self-determinism, federalism and democracy. Here, it’s important to know that federalism used to a word of kryptonite for the military junta until 2015. The military junta believed in one state solution for Burma. The opposition, including those from the far-left, believed in federalism and self-determinism. So, the military interpreted federalism as an enemy of their one state solution (unitary union). Communist Party of Burma always believed in the one state solution (unitary union). However, since it was too weak around 2010s, it endorses the united front against the military junta. Here, it’s important to know the history and ideological development of the political party that invited Venerable Wirathu to deliver the speech. Since 1979, Kayan New Land Party (KNLP) was a close ally of Communist Party of Burma. It even adopted the Maoist "people's war" strategy upheld by the CPB since 1979. In 1983, under CPB's leadership, KNLP alongside Karenni National People's Liberation Front and Shan State National Liberation Organization formed the central regional command which lasted until CPB was forced underground due to internal mutiny from its Wa and Kokang cadres. The video of Venerable Wirathu delivering speech about nationalism, self-determinism, federalism and democracy at Kayan New Land Party can be seen in the following YouTube link.

YouTube Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFFTzRR2RyQ

Also, All Burma Federation of Student Union, the historical pro-CPB student union, was resurrected by a far-left student union leader called Kyaw Ko Ko in 2007. In 2014, which is after 2012 Rakhine-Rohingya riots, the success of 969 movement led by Venerable Wirathu, All Burma Federation of Student Union invited Venerable Wirathu and fellow monks to host an event that was organized by All Burma Federation of Student Union (ABFSU) to memorated the student union leaders who were killed by the military in 1988. The image from the event is attached as the featured photo of the whole article. It’s still available at the official Facebook page of a branch of All Burma Federation of Student Union whereas it cannot be found the official Facebook page of the All-Burma Federation of Student Union (ABFSU) anymore.

Also, current All Burma Federation of Student Union (ABFSU) which was refounded back in 2007 by Kyaw Ko Ko had some members who became ultra-nationalist right-winger. All Burma Federation of Student Union was refounded with Kyaw Ko Ko as its chairman. Back then, the organising committee contained 12 members. One of the senior members (secretary of student committee) was Ye Min Oo, who later became popular as Wira Ye Min Oo for his close relation with the racist monk Venerable Wirathu.

Some references about him can be seen here:

  • https://english.dvb.no/charges-against-arakanese-nationalist-baseless-lawyer/
  • https://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/all-burma-students-unionabfsu-has-been-reformed/
  • In 2013, Ye Min Oo was arrested for with the two charges, one of them for anti-Muslim riots. Later, the leaders of 969 movements (mostly monks) launched a nation-wide campaign called "Free Ye Min Oo".
    Reference: https://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/alert-chit-ko-lin-former-pp-ye-myat-hein-former-pp-new-hnin-ye-aka-noe-noeformer-pp-and-ye-min-aung-younger-brother-of-ye-min-oo-were-sued-under-penal-code-353506/

    The campaign was led by "U Pammokha", one of the future leader of Patriotic Association of Myanmar (MaBaTha), the far-right ultranationalist monk led pro-military and anti-NLD association.

    Again in 2024, there are several reports from international humanist communities about the war crimes committed against Rohingya community by both the Myanmar military junta and the Arakan Army. The Arakan Army and their allied brotherhood are considered the strongest ethnic armed organization and played the imperialistic type of influence on the whole revolution against the military junta. Their operation 1027 was indeed effective against the Myanmar military junta. However, it doesn't give them the license to commit genocide or war crimes.

    As of now, given all these reports of international humanist communities about the war crimes committed against Rohingya community by Arakan Army, around 100 non-government civil society organizations published statements and call for an investigation of Arakan Army. Among them, GSC (General Strike Committee) and so other left-wing groups such as Alliance of Students’ Unions Yangon and so on. However, Kyaw Ko Ko, an influential student leader from 2007 generation who also is the founder of “Social Democratic Party”, took the pro-AA position on the on-going Rohingya genocide of Arakan Army. GSC (General Strike Committee), Alliance of Students’ Unions Yangon and several far-left or left-leaned left-wing groups retracted from the statement.

    Anti-Junta Mass Movement – AJMM was one of the few groups among the far-left or left-leaned left-wing groups that didn’t retract their statement. The argument given by all of these individuals and these groups for retracting their statement calling for “formal investigation into Arakan Army for genocide or massacre level war crimes committed against Rohingya people” was that they claimed there were no information to back the accusations up. However, a lot of Rohingya refugees and Rohingya activists have been providing audio recordings, video recordings, and photographic documentations of the situations. A Rohingya left-wing activist named Arafat Jamil can been seen confronting Kyaw Ko Ko for his silence on his official Facebook page about the current Rohingya genocide by Arakan Army. Kyaw Ko Ko replied (in briefly translated version) that “Arakan Army despite being ethno-nationalist right-wing group is more left-wing than most of the so-called left-wingers in Burma. I'm dealing with them, so, I know they're more left-wing than you”.

    The interaction can be founded under this post: https://www.facebook.com/share/p/Z27QnKGrjwWyNw3R/?mibextid=WC7FNe

    In the meantime, United League of Arakan (Arakan Army) publicly stated via “The New Humanitarian” that “from the perspective of the local native indigenous population, ‘Rohingya’ is a political movement to separate a part of Arakan, our fatherland, by destroying the integrity of our ancestral history. We see it as a very unfaithful and dishonest act. However, it does not mean that we will never recognize the term ‘Rohingya’. We want them to admit the historical facts of colonial migration in addition to the removal of politically motivated distorted historical claims harmful to other communities in the region.”

    This whole narrative of Arakanese Buddhists being the local native indigenous population and ‘Rohingya people’, the political movement name of “Bengali settlers living in Arakan” was not a new one. The former General of the Myanmar military army and the former president of Myanmar’s quasi-military regime, U Thein Sein, also said the similar thing. He said and I quote “These are no Rohingya among the races in Burma. We only have Bengalis who were brought for farming during British rules”.

    A satellite army which is helped and nurtured by Arakan Army called "Bamar People's Liberation Army" which use the classical right-wing ethno-nationalist representation of Bamar ethnicity is in total silence of the whole war crimes committed by Arakan Army. Their founder "Maung Saung Kha" who was a ex-NLD member, who identified himself as a left-wing, despite his active presence on Social Media, refused to offer comments on the war crimes and accused genocide of Arakan Army committed against the Rohingya community. Let alone the genocide, they don't even warn the ULA/AA for their same wavelength racist remarks of "Rohingya" people as post-colonial settlers.

    Both the Myanmar military and Arakan Army always conflated Bengali people with Rohingya people. Indeed, they're unique ethnicity with unique language and culture. Among Chittagong Hill Tracts, there are a lot of genocides happening. Myanmar military junta and Arakan Army are committing war crimes against Bengali and Rohingya. On the other hand, the Bangladesh Army is committing war crimes against Chakma people and other Buddhist ethnic minorities for almost a century too. The world has woke up to the sufferings of Rohingya people, yet the Burmese left-wingers are selectively woke only when the Myanmar military junta is the oppressor, not when their ally. Here, I urged everyone to learn more about the sufferings of Rohingya people, Bengali people when it comes to the state of Myanmar and Chakma people when it comes to the state of Bangladesh.

    Summing up, it’s not new for Burma to witness the left infightings for interests-based politics and so-called authoritarian far-left movements uniting with far-right movements for political gains. Burma has this curse of authoritarian far-left movements messing up people's lives since independence. Since independence, the CPB have been following Stalin’s Third International lead and tried to establish a one-party rule against the democratic socialism regime of AFPFL led by a popular third camp socialist Kyaw Nyein. Due to the hostility between socialists and communists within AFPFL, General Ne Win conducted a coup in 1962 and founded a NazBol alike ideology called “Burmese Way to Socialism”.

    Comments

    heinhtetkyaw

    2 days 4 hours ago

    Submitted by heinhtetkyaw on June 10, 2024

    This video is when Venerable Wirathu (current far-right monk) used to be far-left and attended an event from All Burma Federation of Student Unions.

    https://archive.org/details/wirathu-abfsu