TERRORISM IN BURMA
By Roland Watson
January 31, 2015
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The term "terrorism" is so common now that it has lost its precise meaning. It is applied to all manner of things, such as environmental activists - "ecoterrorists" - damaging property, or even just conducting protests to stop exploitative companies. It is also regularly used as as a rhetorical device: anyone to whom you are opposed is a "terrorist."
Strictly speaking, though, terrorism is a violent act, against identifiable people, and which is perpetrated for an unethical political reason. Real terrorists do such things as shoot up offices and blow up planes.
However, even this view is not completely accurate. It abandons the emotion, terror, from which both the words terrorism and terrorists derive. Terror is an extreme emotion - the greatest fear that we can experience. It is the fear that is felt when you know you are going to die. It is also often accompanied by panic, the desperate grab at any opportunity to stay alive.
Interestingly, many terrorist acts do not generate terror, simply because there isn't enough time. People who are blown up don't know what hit them. In these types of cases, terror is used to describe the general fear that the terrorists create among the broader population, although this is really only uncertainty and anxiety, not knowing if you might become the next victim.
There are many cases where real terror is generated, by terrorists, that are not actually described as terrorism. For example, on January 19, two young teachers, Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin, were raped and murdered in Shabuk Kawnghka village in Northern Shan State, Burma.
According to the "Chronology of Events" about the crime, prepared by Kachinland News, the young women went to a child's birthday party, on a day that the village had been occupied by a Burma Army unit. While using a restroom outside, they encountered some of the soldiers. These soldiers then followed the women home, after they left the party.
The attack was monstrous - a crime of of unspeakable brutality. That the victims would have to endure it is literally beyond words.
This was not an isolated incident. It is well documented that Burma's military dictatorship has used rape as a weapon of war, a political motivation and which is unethical as it is possible to be, and which practice clearly continues today.
Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin no doubt felt terror, and were the victims of terrorism. The soldiers who killed them were the specific terrorists, but everyone in the Burma Army chain of command, following the policy set at the highest level of the country's military dictatorship, is a terrorist as well. Maj. Aung Soe Myint, the head of their unit - Light Infantry Regiment 503; the officers of the regional command; Commander in Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing; President/Lieutenant General Thein Sein; and the dictator who still controls Burma from behind the scenes, Senior General Than Shwe, are all terrorists. The Burma Army is a terrorist army. Burma is a terrorist state.
The rapist/murderers fled the village at 4 am. Because Burma is a terrorist state, and as with the perpetrators of hundreds if not thousands of similar terrorist acts, they will never face justice.
Amazingly, even in the face of this savagery, the United States, European Union, and other members of the International Community support the terrorists of Burma. "Pro-democracy" leader Aung San Suu Kyi, through her professed affection for the Burma Army, may even be described as a terrorist cheerleader. By extending an olive branch to a regime that has never - as President Obama phrases it - unclenched its fist, you can even say that these nations - and Suu Kyi - are the sponsors of Burmese terrorism.
The U.S. and Europe are welcoming the military dictatorship into the international fold, even though the regime's terrorist acts continue on a daily basis, in the ethnic nationality homelands of Northern and Eastern Burma, and through the genocide it is perpetrating against the Rohingya people in Western Burma. It appears that the U.S and Europe are willing to ignore Burma Army terrorism, in exchange for business exploitation opportunities, and as a strategic regional counter to China.
This is breathtaking hypocrisy. The U.S. is even engaged in a War on Terror. How can it possibly pardon one of the world's worst perpetrators? Burma Army commanders and soldiers are the blood brothers of Al-qaeda and ISIS!
The U.S. has made a cynical calculation. By not using the word terrorism to describe the dictatorship's crimes, it can avoid placing the country in a group to which it must respond and in the strongest terms, if need be even with force. America, and its European partners on Burma, are morally corrupt. I can add, if a political leader is not principled personally, it is impossible that he or she can run a principled foreign policy.
By allowing the terrorism in Burma to proceed without any type of response, Barack Obama, Europe's leaders, and Suu Kyi are complicit in the atrocities. They have the blood of the young women, and all of the terrorists's other victims, on their hands.
This is reprehensible. The people of Burma, and foreign activists, should reject Suu Kyi's "leadership," and demand that the International Community change its allegiance. Fight the Burma Army terror; don't just sit idly by!
Terrorists are terrorists. They are criminals of the worst variety. They can only be stopped - captured and incarcerated, or killed. Thinking that you can talk to them, that they will ever willingly relinquish power and relent in their barbarity, is ridiculous: a fool's errand.