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08 October 2017


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Pacifica Advocate

Thanks for that, Mariner. A few weeks ago I read a long, detailed article about the role the Filipino Muslims played in US "anti-insurgency" campaigns back then, and was surprised by what it revealed. Unfortunately, few of the details stayed with me. I appreciate the lesson.

Pacifica Advocate

>>>The Rohingya ARSA insurgency is funded from Saudi....

It is absolutely wrong to call this conflict an "insurgency;" the entire conflict has grown from explicit Buddhist aggression against Rohingya communities. I have been reading about relatively routine attacks on and massacres of Rohingya communities for over 10 years, now. Three or four years ago I got briefly banned by Facebook, in fact, for posting some macabre pictures of dead families taken at one of the crime scenes (my interlocutor at the time refused to believe that S.E. Asian Buddhists were guilty of crimes against humanity, nor that Muslims of any sort could actually be victims of aggression).

If the Saudis have recently become involved in the Rohingya's problems, then it is an instance of the Saudis seizing an unfortunate opportunity created by someone else--and I, for one, am grateful the Rohingya are at last getting some help. Under no circumstances, though, did the US or the Saudis create the conflict, nor are the Rohingya guilty of attempting to either overthrow or challenge the government, nor expropriate other groups' property. This is a simple case of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya by Buddhist groups led by Myan (Mian, in Hanyu Pinyin) nationalists. This conflict started about a decade ago, when the military junta was still in charge, just after a spate of reforms allowed for greater provincial autonomy and civilian representation in the government.


O.K. I understand your point.

But as a lit major, I'm still trying to figure out the reference to the Decameron.

I got a list of books that I SHOULD know when I was a high school senior. Boccaccio's Decameron was one of those. A few of the tales still make me blush. I believe some were rehashed in The Canterbury Tales.Please expalain.

And, I might add that I would not want to live in Russia right now, but I can't understand all this hatred for everything Russian.


Thanks for the question. You go the heart of the matter.

From the introduction:

"... [I]t was come to this, that a dead man was then of no more account than a dead goat would be to-day."

Most editions of Boccaccio's Decameron leave off the Introduction -- the author's picture of the devastation of the Black Plague. It's one of the most chilling in all literature IMO, and a mirror of the indifference and folly of today. There are no exact analogies in history, but "Wars, threats, more wars" -- but in the language of the neo-cons and imperial thinkers. A dead man or dead child is of no more consequence than the death of a goat. Well said, Boccaccio. Most publishers go with the "Disney" version -- tales of lust, irony and escape. Here's an excerpt from the introduction.

"It was the common practice of most of the neighbors, moved no less by fear of contamination by the putrefying bodies than by charity towards the deceased, to drag the corpses out of the houses with their own hands, aided, perhaps, by a porter, if a porter was to be had, and to lay them in front of the doors, where any one who made the round might have seen, especially in the morning, more of them than he could count; afterwards they would have biers brought up or in default, planks, whereon they laid them. Nor was it once twice only that one and the same bier carried two or three corpses at once; but quite a considerable number of such cases occurred, one bier sufficing for husband and wife, two or three brothers, father and son, and so forth. And times without number it happened, that as two priests, bearing the cross, were on their way to perform the last office for some one, three or four biers were brought up by the porters in rear of them, so that, whereas the priests supposed that they had but one corpse to bury, they discovered that there were six or eight, or sometimes more. Nor, for all their number, were their obsequies honored by either tears or lights or crowds of mourners rather, it was come to this, that a dead man was then of no more account than a dead goat would be to-day."

From Boccaccio,

TheDecameron,. M. Rigg, trans. (London: David Campbell, 1921), Vol. 1, pp. 5-11



'a simple case of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya by Buddhist groups led by Myan (Mian, in Hanyu Pinyin) nationalists. This conflict started about a decade ago'

PA. I'm sticking to my guns on this one. Ethnic cleansing yes, simple case no. Is it ever simple? This conflict started far longer than a decade ago. The ancestors of the people who now call themselves Rohingya have been living in the Arakan border marches for some centuries, moving as the borders moved. Their population increased exponentially when the Brits brought Bengali Muslims across to work in plantations. During WW2 the Brit military referred to them as Chittoganian Muslims and credited their loyalty with having saved India from Japanese invasion. They were also credited with having provided the majority of crews for the Brit Merchant Navy. There are other ethnic Muslim groups in Myanmar, having arrived during the Moghul period and as freed Portuguese slaves.

In the post war period Rohingya did indeed challenge the Govt, and were severely punished for it. Arguably, are still being punished for it.

I continue to suspect economic motive as a causative factor, religion being just a tool used by ambitious economic and political actors to mobilise the masses. Post war Myanmar was governed by dictatorships of the Left, more concerned with fighting both Christian and Buddhist Karen. The Tatmadaw conducted ethnic cleansing of Karen too. That was a period when US and the odd Australia SOF took themselves to the Thai Mynanmar borders to fight alongside Karen.

re Rohingya atrocity photos. Rohingya propaganda has been notoriously bad with many fake photos in circulation since 2012. After the mass exodus of refugees by boat, our PM infamously said 'Nope nope nope' when asked if Australia should take some of them. That undoubtedly encouraged the Tatmadaw to believe no action would be taken if even more severe measures were taken in the future. Turkey and Saudi [where there are some 400,000 Rohingya refugees, since the 1950s] stepped into the vacuum. The US offered to help those who'd reached Indonesia. The Rohingya leadership[s] capitalised on this and meetings were convened in Oslo with past Nobel winners. I thought the academic support that would result from tapping into that network would lead to more believable propaganda, as it has for previous Nobel winners. It didn't, and it harms their cause. There's probably a Nobel waiting for someone who mediates this conflict.


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