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September 22, 2017

Archives:

14 Year Old Child Bride Facing Death Penalty for Murdering Husband -

Saturday, November 29, 2014

BREAKING: New Coal Disaster In West Virginia -

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

U.S. Hostage Freed by Colombia’s FARC Rebels (Video) -

Monday, October 28, 2013

Here’s Why The Zimmerman Verdict Matters -

Sunday, July 14, 2013

BREAKING! UK Government Spied On Allies At TWO G20 Summits (Video) -

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Swiss Support Tougher Asylum Legislation as Refugee Numbers Spike -

Monday, June 10, 2013

American Woman Killed in Syria Fighting for Terrorists, Syrian TV Claims (Video) -

Friday, May 31, 2013

CO2 in the Air Reached its Highest Level in Human History -

Friday, May 10, 2013

Terms of the New Abortion Bill Agreed by Irish Cabinet -

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Boston In Lockdown As Manhunt Intensifies -

Friday, April 19, 2013

2 Dead, Dozens Injured After Boston Marathon Bombing -

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fast Food Workers in New York Stage Surprise Strike -

Saturday, April 6, 2013

N. Korean Rhetoric Provokes Missile Shield Deployment -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts from Meiktila Massacre -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sudan to Free All Political Prisoners -

Monday, April 1, 2013

A New Free Press In Burma Juxtaposed With Genocide: The World Will Be Watching -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pressure Builds to End Ethnic Violence in Myanmar -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Activists Demand Action As Further Genocide Looms -

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cyprus Reaches Last-Minute Bailout Deal With EU -

Monday, March 25, 2013

Myanmar Muslims Brace for Possible Genocide -

Sunday, March 24, 2013

“Bin Laden of Buddhism” Backpedals on Statements

In what many are describing as a public relations ploy, radical monk Wirathu, the self described “Bin Laden of Buddhism,” has denied claims that his radical, often violent rhetoric was a condemnation of Muslims. In a statement to AFP (Agence France-Presse), the 45 year old monk went on to say that the “969” campaign, for which he has been the primary spokesman, was not responsible for the recent violence and rioting that has erupted in past weeks.

“We just targeted Bengalis who are terrorizing ethnic Rakhine (Buddhists)” said Wirathu,” We are just preaching to prevent Bengalis entering the country and to stop them insulting our nationalities, language and religion.”

Continuing, Wirathu pledged to promote peace and religious tolerance going forward, however many remain highly skeptical. Juxtaposed against his generally radical anti-Muslim message, the sudden shift in rhetoric has left many wondering if the growing attention focused on the plight of the Rohnigya people hasn’t inspired this as an act of self preservation, as opposed to a sudden change in thinking.

His statements come as international attention and pressure mount to address the ethnic violence, which many are now referring to as outright genocide. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is planning to raise the issue of Burmese ethnic cleansing at the both UN  Security and Human Rights councils, in coming weeks. As the largest permanent international bodies within the UN, their involvement in the matter could open the door to possible criminal charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for any found to have been instrumental in the recent waves of violence and destruction.

Over the past month, independent journalists working in conjunction with the Anonymous as part of the OpRohingya campaign, have worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the Burmese ethnic cleansing in Western media outlets. Expressing rage at what they see as a media blackout, a series of “twitterstorms” managed to catch the attention of the Vice and The Daily Beast magazines, after causing the hashtags #RohingyaNOW and #RohingyaSOS to trend in the top three spots worldwide for over an hour. NPR, CNN and others soon followed in their reports.

Speculation has been raised that numerous financial interests, including a number Western banks and the Chinese oil giant PetroChina, are largely to blame for the muted reactions to the crisis. Myanmar’s government has only recently issued direct statements to address the widescale rioting. Burmese President Thein Sein, in a speech last Thursday, issued a stern warning to agitators such as Wirathu, though did not name him specifically.

I would like to warn all political opportunists and religious extremists who try to exploit the noble teachings of these religions and have tried to plant hatred among people of different faiths for their own self-interest: their efforts will not be tolerated. We will take all necessary and effective action to stop their operations in accordance with our Constitution and our existing laws. All perpetrators of violence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Despite no new reported efforts have been made by security forces or the government to seriously quell the violence since the curfew order last week, activists remain undeterred to demand action. More rounds of “twitterstorms” are in the works to further spread the word about the situation in Burma and the “Rohingya Journalism Fund” continues to work towards supporting journalists on the ground.

As for monk Wirathu, only time will tell if this attempt to backpedal signals any real shift in attitudes, or if it proves to be nothing more than cover for the ardent and radical Buddhist nationalist.

(photo from: http://moemaka.blogspot.com)

Nicholas Goroff (30 Posts)

Nicholas Goroff is a writer, activist and political consultant from Manchester, New Hampshire. He studied Criminal Justice and Political Science at Hesser and Saint Anselm Colleges and went on to pursue an impressive, if not unusual career in political and non-profit operations. He has organized with unions, managed field campaigns and phone banks, lobbied for non-profits and run opposition research and investigation operations. He was an active participant and writer within the Occupy movement and maintains contacts with active members. He has been a regular news commentator with the AEN Blogtalk Radio Network and has been the subject of both Backslash magazine and Connecticut Wits columns for his private political satires. He now writes for The Progressive Press, covering political and social stories from his home in New Hampshire.