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Where' re the righteous Burmese? Anywhere in the whole wide globe.
In Myanmar, the Rohingya tribe's home state, the violent wave of brutality has sent 800,000 refugees to Bangladesh. Some have described this as "slow-burning genocide". During the Berlin Conference on the Myanmar Crime at the end of February, I had the opportunity to ask Burmese dissidents and Rohingya refugees whether there were stories of "righteous Burmese", similar to the famous "righteous gentiles" who opposed during the Holocaust.
Burma's Burmese population said that opposition in Burma is very hard and has become less frequent due to the omnipresent brainstorming of the Burmese Buddhist community, which is largely persuaded to view accounts of horrors against the Rohingya as "fake news". "Hla Kyaw, a Rohingya physician, said he was certain that there are cases of Buddhists who help their Rohingya neighbor, although he hadn't yet known.
Like the Holocaust, it can take years for the histories of Myanmar's Buddhist mystery to come to the surface. Meanwhile, opposition is blossoming in the Burmese minority in America and Europe, where it is more secure to express disagreement. The Berlin conference was attended by older dissidents as well as the younger activist population.
The perhaps sharpest address at the Berlin meeting came from U Kyaw Win, one of the world's oldest Burmese dissension. Win, a long-time companion of Myanmar ringleader Aung San Suu Kyi, is an archetypal figure of the older generations of pro-democracy militants who eventually eased the hold of the Myanmar Army Junior.
He was an early expatriate who openly criticised the Burmese army junta in the 1960' and released the Burma Bulletin to raise awareness of violations of foreign policy in the area. At the US Congress, he advocated a decades-long moratorium on funding for the Burmese dictator. He vehemently denied the faith that the Burmese, or "Bamar", own Myanmar and denied the claim of supremacy over other ethnical groups that have resulted in such cruelty to the Rohingya and other groups as the Shan, Mon, Karen and Kachin.
They all came from elsewhere or came from humans who came from elsewhere," he said, referencing the tactics of Buddhist nationals to denounce Rohingya as an Bengali migrant. Winn was presented at the Harn Yawnghwe meeting. Yawnghwe, lovingly described by some of Burma's younger campaigners as an "uncle", called Win with an awe.
Yawnghwe's dad was imprisoned and died in jail without seeing his wife again a few month later when General Ne Win started a war against the regime to initiate the fifty-year reign of Ma Daw (military junta). When Aung San Suu Kyi became the poster boy for the 1988 popular rebellion, Yawnghwe moved to Canada and began using his energies for large-scale pro-democracy activity in Myanmar.
One of the faces of Burma's younger diasporan activist generations is Khin Mai Aung, a New York-based attorney focused on race equality and migration laws. Speaking at the Berlin Wall meeting, Aung has actively sought contacts with other diasporan militants and raised her voice through her citizenship reporter.
It has reacted by concentrating on establishing links within the Burmese minority between different Myanmar ethnical and denominational groups. Yavnghwe agreed that the diaspora offers possibilities for interethnic conciliation.