person:aung san suu kyi

  • Call immigrant detention centers what they really are: concentration camps

    If you were paying close attention last week, you might have spotted a pattern in the news. Peeking out from behind the breathless coverage of the Trump family’s tuxedoed trip to London was a spate of deaths of immigrants in U.S. custody: Johana Medina Léon, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker; an unnamed 33-year-old Salvadoran man; and a 40-year-old woman from Honduras.

    Photos from a Border Patrol processing center in El Paso showed people herded so tightly into cells that they had to stand on toilets to breathe. Memos surfaced by journalist Ken Klippenstein revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s failure to provide medical care was responsible for suicides and other deaths of detainees. These followed another report that showed that thousands of detainees are being brutally held in isolation cells just for being transgender or mentally ill.

    Also last week, the Trump administration cut funding for classes, recreation and legal aid at detention centers holding minors — which were likened to “summer camps” by a senior ICE official last year. And there was the revelation that months after being torn from their parents’ arms, 37 children were locked in vans for up to 39 hours in the parking lot of a detention center outside Port Isabel, Texas. In the last year, at least seven migrant children have died in federal custody.

    Preventing mass outrage at a system like this takes work. Certainly it helps that the news media covers these horrors intermittently rather than as snowballing proof of a racist, lawless administration. But most of all, authorities prevail when the places where people are being tortured and left to die stay hidden, misleadingly named and far from prying eyes.

    There’s a name for that kind of system. They’re called concentration camps. You might balk at my use of the term. That’s good — it’s something to be balked at.

    The goal of concentration camps has always been to be ignored. The German-Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, who was imprisoned by the Gestapo and interned in a French camp, wrote a few years afterward about the different levels of concentration camps. Extermination camps were the most extreme; others were just about getting “undesirable elements … out of the way.” All had one thing in common: “The human masses sealed off in them are treated as if they no longer existed, as if what happened to them were no longer of interest to anybody, as if they were already dead.”

    Euphemisms play a big role in that forgetting. The term “concentration camp” is itself a euphemism. It was invented by a Spanish official to paper over his relocation of millions of rural families into squalid garrison towns where they would starve during Cuba’s 1895 independence war. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese Americans into prisons during World War II, he initially called them concentration camps. Americans ended up using more benign names, like “Manzanar Relocation Center.”

    Even the Nazis’ camps started out small, housing criminals, Communists and opponents of the regime. It took five years to begin the mass detention of Jews. It took eight, and the outbreak of a world war, for the first extermination camps to open. Even then, the Nazis had to keep lying to distract attention, claiming Jews were merely being resettled to remote work sites. That’s what the famous signs — Arbeit Macht Frei, or “Work Sets You Free” — were about.

    Subterfuge doesn’t always work. A year ago, Americans accidentally became aware that the Trump administration had adopted (and lied about) a policy of ripping families apart at the border. The flurry of attention was thanks to the viral conflation of two separate but related stories: the family-separation order and bureaucrats’ admission that they’d been unable to locate thousands of migrant children who’d been placed with sponsors after crossing the border alone.

    Trump shoved that easily down the memory hole. He dragged his heels a bit, then agreed to a new policy: throwing whole families into camps together. Political reporters posed irrelevant questions, like whether President Obama had been just as bad, and what it meant for the midterms. Then they moved on.

    It is important to note that Trump’s aides have built this system of racist terror on something that has existed for a long time. Several camps opened under Obama, and as president he deported millions of people.

    But Trump’s game is different. It certainly isn’t about negotiating immigration reform with Congress. Trump has made it clear that he wants to stifle all non-white immigration, period. His mass arrests, iceboxes and dog cages are part of an explicitly nationalist project to put the country under the control of the right kind of white people.

    As a Republican National Committee report noted in 2013: “The nation’s demographic changes add to the urgency of recognizing how precarious our position has become.” The Trump administration’s attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census was also just revealed to have been a plot to disadvantage political opponents and boost “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” all along.

    That’s why this isn’t just a crisis facing immigrants. When a leader puts people in camps to stay in power, history shows that he doesn’t usually stop with the first group he detains.

    There are now at least 48,000 people detained in ICE facilities, which a former official told BuzzFeed News “could swell indefinitely.” Customs and Border Protection officials apprehended more than 144,000 people on the Southwest border last month. (The New York Times dutifully reported this as evidence of a “dramatic surge in border crossings,” rather than what it was: The administration using its own surge of arrests to justify the rest of its policies.)

    If we call them what they are — a growing system of American concentration camps — we will be more likely to give them the attention they deserve. We need to know their names: Port Isabel, Dilley, Adelanto, Hutto and on and on. With constant, unrelenting attention, it is possible we might alleviate the plight of the people inside, and stop the crisis from getting worse. Maybe people won’t be able to disappear so easily into the iceboxes. Maybe it will be harder for authorities to lie about children’s deaths.

    Maybe Trump’s concentration camps will be the first thing we think of when we see him scowling on TV.

    The only other option is to leave it up to those in power to decide what’s next. That’s a calculated risk. As Andrea Pitzer, author of “One Long Night,” one of the most comprehensive books on the history of concentration camps, recently noted: “Every country has said their camps are humane and will be different. Trump is instinctively an authoritarian. He’ll take them as far as he’s allowed to.”
    #terminologie #vocabulaire #mots #camps #camps_de_concentration #centres_de_détention #détention_administrative #rétention #USA #Etats-Unis

    • ‘Some Suburb of Hell’: America’s New Concentration Camp System

      On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

      At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations.

      The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States.

      So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity.

      On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections.

      In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

      Conditions for detainees have not been improving. At the end of May, a Department of Homeland Security inspector general found nearly 900 migrants at a Texas shelter built for a capacity of 125 people. On June 11, a university professor spotted at least 100 men behind chain-link fences near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. Those detainees reported sitting outside for weeks in temperatures that soared above 100 degrees. Taylor Levy, an El Paso immigration lawyer, described going into one facility and finding “a suicidal four-year-old whose face was covered in bloody, self-inflicted scratches… Another young child had to be restrained by his mother because he kept running full-speed into metal lockers. He was covered in bruises.”

      If deciding what to do about the growing numbers of adults and children seeking refuge in the US relies on complex humanitarian policies and international laws, in which most Americans don’t take a deep interest, a simpler question also presents itself: What exactly are these camps that the Trump administration has opened, and where is this program of mass detention headed?

      Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity.

      Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features.

      Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before.

      Under Spanish rule in 1896, the governor-general of Cuba instituted camps in order to clear rebel-held regions during an uprising, despite his predecessor’s written refusal “as the representative of a civilized nation, to be the first to give the example of cruelty and intransigence” that such detention would represent. After women and children began dying in vast numbers behind barbed wire because there had been little planning for shelter and even less for food, US President William McKinley made his call to war before Congress. He spoke against the policy of reconcentración, calling it warfare by uncivilized means. “It was extermination,” McKinley said. “The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave.” Without full records, the Cuban death toll can only be estimated, but a consensus puts it in the neighborhood of 150,000, more than 10 percent of the island’s prewar population.

      Today, we remember the sinking of the USS Maine as the spark that ignited the Spanish-American War. But war correspondent George Kennan (cousin of the more famous diplomat) believed that “it was the suffering of the reconcentrados, more, perhaps, than any other one thing that brought about the intervention of the United States.” On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war. Two weeks later, US Marines landed at Fisherman’s Point on the windward side of the entrance to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. After a grim, week-long fight, the Marines took the hill. It became a naval base, and the United States has never left that patch of land.

      As part of the larger victory, the US inherited the Philippines. The world’s newest imperial power also inherited a rebellion. Following a massacre of American troops at Balangiga in September 1901, during the third year of the conflict, the US established its own concentration camp system. Detainees, mostly women and children, were forced into squalid conditions that one American soldier described in a letter to a US senator as “some suburb of hell.” In the space of only four months, more than 11,000 Filipinos are believed to have died in these noxious camps.

      Meanwhile, in southern Africa in 1900, the British had opened their own camps during their battle with descendants of Dutch settlers in the second Boer War. British soldiers filled tent cities with Boer women and children, and the military authorities called them refugee camps. Future Prime Minister David Lloyd George took offense at that name, noting in Parliament: “There is no greater delusion in the mind of any man than to apply the term ‘refugee’ to these camps. They are not refugee camps. They are camps of concentration.” Contemporary observers compared them to the Cuban camps, and criticized their deliberate cruelty. The Bishop of Hereford wrote to The Times of London in 1901, asking: “Are we reduced to such a depth of impotence that our Government can do nothing to stop such a holocaust of child-life?”

      Maggoty meat rations and polluted water supplies joined outbreaks of contagious diseases amid crowded and unhealthy conditions in the Boer camps. More than 27,000 detainees are thought to have died there, nearly 80 percent of them children. The British had opened camps for black Africans as well, in which at least 14,000 detainees died—the real number is probably much higher. Aside from protests made by some missionaries, the deaths of indigenous black Africans did not inspire much public outrage. Much of the history of the suffering in these camps has been lost.

      These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.”

      Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. The Daily Mail denounced aliens left at liberty once they had registered with their local police department, demanding, “Does signing his name take the malice out of a man?” The Scottish Field was more direct, asking, “Do Germans have souls?” That these civilian detainees were no threat to Britain did not keep them from being demonized, shouted at, and spat upon as they were paraded past hostile crowds in cities like London.

      Though a small number of people were shot in riots in these camps, and hunger became a serious issue as the conflict dragged on, World War I internment would present a new, non-lethal face for the camps, normalizing detention. Even after the war, new camps sprang up from Spain to Hungary and Cuba, providing an improvised “solution” for everything from vagrancy to anxieties over the presence of Jewish foreigners.

      Some of these camps were clearly not safe for those interned. Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations.

      In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat.

      However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory.

      It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001.

      In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell.

      This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways.

      I visited Guantánamo twice in 2015, sitting in the courtroom for pretrial hearings and touring the medical facility, the library, and all the old abandoned detention sites, as well as newly built ones, open to the media—from the kennel-style cages of Camp X-Ray rotting to ruin in the damp heat to the modern jailhouse facilities of Camp 6. Seeing all this in person made clear to me how vast the architecture of detention had become, how entrenched it was, and how hard it would be to close.

      Without a significant government effort to reverse direction, conditions in every camp system tend to deteriorate over time. Governments rarely make that kind of effort on behalf of people they are willing to lock up without trial in the first place. And history shows that legislatures do not close camps against the will of an executive.

      Just a few years ago there might have been more potential for change spurred by the judicial branch of our democracy, but this Supreme Court is inclined toward deference to executive power, even, it appears, if that power is abused. It seems unlikely this Court will intervene to end the new border camp system; indeed, the justices are far more likely to institutionalize it by half-measures, as happened with Guantánamo. The Korematsu case, in which the Supreme Court upheld Japanese-American internment (a ruling only rescinded last year), relied on the suppression of evidence by the solicitor general. Americans today can have little confidence that this administration would behave any more scrupulously when defending its detention policy.

      What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more.

      Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades.

      When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away.

      The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently.

      President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical.

      The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly.

      Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse.

      The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need?

    • #Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez engage le bras de fer avec la politique migratoire de Donald Trump

      L’élue de New York a qualifié les camps de rétention pour migrants érigés à la frontière sud des Etats-Unis de « camps de concentration ».

  • Myanmar: Surge in Arrests for Critical Speech | Human Rights Watch

    Myanmar’s authorities have in recent weeks engaged in a series of arrests of peaceful critics of the army and government, Human Rights Watch said today. The parliament, which begins its new session on April 29, 2019, should repeal or amend repressive laws used to silence critics and suppress freedom of expression.

    The recent upswing in arrests of satirical performers, political activists, and journalists reflects the rapid decline in freedom of expression in Myanmar under the National League for Democracy (NLD) government. In the latest blow to media freedom, on April 23, the Supreme Court upheld the seven-year prison sentences of two Reuters journalists accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who won Pulitzer prizes earlier in April for their reporting, had been prosecuted in apparent retaliation for their investigation of a massacre of Rohingya villagers in Inn Din, Rakhine State, that implicated the army.

    “Myanmar’s government should be leading the fight against the legal tools of oppression that have long been used to prosecute critics of the military and government,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “During military rule, Aung San Suu Kyi and many current lawmakers fought for free expression, yet now the NLD majority in parliament has taken almost no steps to repeal or amend abusive laws still being used to jail critics.”

    #Birmanie #liberté_d'expression #répression #prix_nobel_de_la_paix

  • Nowhere to go: #Myanmar farmers under siege from land law

    The Myanmar government has tightened a law on so-called ’vacant, fallow and virgin’ land, and farmers are at risk.

    Han Win Naung is besieged on his own land.

    Last September, local administrators in Myanmar’s southern Tanintharyi region put up a sign at the edge of his 5.7-hectare farm that read “Under Management Ownership - Do Not Trespass”.

    They felled the trees and started building a drug rehabilitation facility and an agriculture training school on opposite ends of his plot.

    He was eventually informed that the administrators were challenging his claim to the land and had filed charges against him under a controversial law that could see him jailed for three years.

    “I didn’t know what this law was,” the 37-year-old farmer told Al Jazeera. “I didn’t understand what was happening to us. They also asked us to move. We don’t have anywhere else to go.”

    Han Win Naung is accused of violating the Vacant, Fellow and Virgin (#VFV) Lands Management Law which requires anyone living on land categorised as “vacant, fallow, and virgin” to apply for a permit to continue using it for the next 30 years.

    According to estimates based on government data, this category totals more than 20 million hectares or 30 percent of Myanmar’s land area. Three-quarters of it is home to the country’s ethnic minorities.

    The law has sparked outrage among land-rights activists, who say it criminalises millions of farmers who do not have permits and lays the ground for unchecked land seizures by the government, the military and private companies.

    Struggle to survive

    “The more people learn about this law, the more they will use it against farmers who cannot afford lawyers,” said a lawyer who is representing Han Win Naung. She asked to be identified only as a member of Tanintharyi Friends, a group that represents several farmers who have been sued under this law.

    Now Han Win Naung’s farm is in disrepair. Because of the lawsuit, he has been unable to tend to the mango, banana and cashew trees that have sustained his family since his father set up the farm 28 years ago.

    “We haven’t been able to do anything on the farm since September … We are facing a lot of trouble getting food on the table,” he said.

    The VFV law is modelled on a British colonial policy in which land occupied by indigenous people was labelled “wasteland” in order to justify seizing it and extracting its revenue. After independence, Myanmar’s military rulers adopted the strategy as a way to ensure they could feed their ranks.

    In 2012, the nominally civilian government under former general Thein Sein enshrined the strategy into law, referring to the targeted land as “vacant, fallow, and virgin” instead of “wasteland”.

    Last year, despite coming to power on a platform of protecting the land rights of smallholder farmers and promising to reverse all military land grabs within a single year, the government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) made the VFV law stricter.

    With the NLD’s endorsement, arrests and evictions of farmers like Han Win Naung are accelerating.

    In September 2018, Myanmar’s parliament, which is controlled by the NLD, passed an amendment that imposed a two-year prison sentence on anyone found living on “vacant, fallow, and virgin land” without a permit after March 11.

    This gave millions of farmers, many of them illiterate or unable to speak Burmese, just six months to complete a Kafkaesque process of claiming land they already consider their own.

    According to a survey conducted by the Mekong Region Land Governance Project, in the month before the deadline, 95 percent of people living on so-called VFV land had no knowledge of the law.

    ’Torn up’

    As the deadline approached, local land-rights activists jumped into action, sending petitions to the government demanding that the law be repealed.

    In November, 300 civil society organisations signed an open letter denouncing the law as “an effort to grab the land of ethnic peoples across the country”, especially land belonging to hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people who have no ability to apply for permits.

    In December, the Karen National Union (KNU), a powerful ethnic armed organisation that had recently withdrawn from the national peace process, called for the VFV law to be “torn up”, raising the spectre of future conflict.

    But these petitions fell on deaf ears, and as the deadline expired, millions of people, many of whose families had been on the same land for generations, became trespassers.

    Saw Alex Htoo, deputy director of the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN), blames the NLD’s pursuit of foreign investment for the policy.

    “The NLD is pushing for investment to come into the country without really looking at what’s happening on the ground,” he said. “That’s the only way they could support this VFV law, which is inviting conflict and will displace millions of farmers across the country.”

    When asked why the party would pass an amendment that could harm so many people, NLD spokesperson Myo Nyunt said that while land disputes might arise, the purpose of the law was not mass dispossession.

    “The purpose of the law is to promote the rule of law,” he said.

    "When we implement the new law, those affected have the responsibility to understand and follow it. If they have grievances, they can report them to the relevant committee addressing land grabs. There will be some people who are affected negatively by this law, but that is not the intention of this law.

    “The government is working to improve the livelihood and quality of life in Myanmar and the rule of law.”

    Ye Lin Myint, national coordinator for the Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA), said enforcement of the VFV law actually calls the rule of law into question because it contradicts several earlier government commitments, including the 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) between the government and eight ethnic armed organizations.

    “The NCA clearly states that during the peace process, there should be no land seizures,” he said. “This law will start a domino effect of ethnic conflict.”

    Conflict over the VFV law has already begun. At least one activist has been arrested for protesting against it and observers say the NLD’s role in generating conflict risks a backlash in next year’s election.

    “The ruling National League for Democracy party are really shooting themselves in the foot with the VFV law,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “This will be a human rights disaster that goes to the doorstep of millions of farmers across the nation, and it’s a fair bet they will punish those they consider responsible in the next election.”

    Han Win Naung attests to this. Since he was sued, his 80-year-old father has stopped eating and cannot sleep. His children, nieces, and nephews are embarrassed to go to school.

    “People like us have been suffering since this government came to power,” he said. “We don’t think we will be voting for the NLD in 2020.”
    #Birmanie #terres #agriculture #géographie_du_vide #loi #expulsion #minorités #accaparemment_des_terres
    ping @odilon

  • Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of Freedom of Edinburgh award | World news | The Guardian

    Aung San Suu Kyi is set to be stripped of her Freedom of Edinburgh award for her refusal to condemn the violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar.

    This will be the seventh honour that the former Nobel peace prize winner has been stripped of over the past year, with Edinburgh following the example of Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle which also revoked Suu Kyi’s Freedom of the City awards.


  • This Poisonous Cult of Personality | by Pankaj Mishra | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

    Donald Trump’s election last year exposed an insidious politics of celebrity, one in which a redemptive personality is projected high above the slow toil of political parties and movements. As his latest tweets about Muslims confirm, this post-political figure seeks, above all, to commune with his entranced white nationalist supporters. Periodically offering them emotional catharsis, a powerful medium of self-expression at the White House these days, Trump makes sure that his fan base survives his multiple political and economic failures. This may be hard to admit but the path to such a presidency of spectacle and vicarious participation was paved by the previous occupant of the White House.

    Barack Obama was the first “celebrity president” of the twenty-first century—“that is,” as Perry Anderson recently pointed out, “a politician whose very appearance was a sensation, from the earliest days of his quest for the Democratic nomination onwards: to be other than purely white, as well as good-looking and mellifluous, sufficed for that,” and for whom “personal popularity” mattered more than the fate of own party and policies.

    Public life routinely features such sensations, figures in whom people invest great expectations based on nothing more than a captivation with their radiant personas. Youthful good looks, an unconventional marriage, and some intellectual showmanship helped turn Emmanuel Macron, virtually overnight, into the savior not just of France, but of Europe, too. Until the approval ratings of this dynamic millionaire collapsed, a glamour-struck media largely waived close scrutiny of his neoliberal faith in tax breaks for rich compatriots, and contempt for “slackers.”

    Another example is Aung San Suu Kyi who, as a freedom fighter and prisoner of conscience, precluded any real examination of her politics, which have turned out to be abysmally sectarian, in tune with her electoral base among Myanmar’s Buddhist ethnic majority. Her personal sacrifices remained for too long the basis for assessing her political outlook, though the record of Robert Mugabe, among many other postcolonial leaders, had already proved that suffering for the cause of freedom is no guarantee of wise governance, and that today’s victims are likely to be tomorrow’s persecutors.

  • Saudi Arabia’s Footprints in Southeast Asia | The Diplomat

    A 2016 New York Times report noted that Saudi teachings have “shifted the religious culture in a markedly conservative direction” in Southeast Asia. One has to look no further than the recent case of a launderette in Johor, Malaysia declaring that it would only serve Muslim customers for proof of increasing Islamization. Only at the behest of the Sultan of Johor did the launderette owner apologize and reverse the exclusive policy. The incident so concerned Malaysia’s nine sultans that they issued a rare statement a few days later, saying that such actions “can undermine the harmonious relations among the people of various races and religions” and that “[u]nity among Malaysia’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious people is key to ensuring the country’s ongoing stability.”

    Similarly, in Indonesia, the contentious election of Anies Baswedan as Jakarta governor in April 2017, in part due to the support of hardline Muslim groups, demonstrates their growing significance in the world’s largest Muslim country. Douglas Ramage of the public policy consultancy BowerGroupAsia told The Diplomat that the influence of more moderate Islamic institutions in Indonesia like Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama “has waned a bit.” Even Jokowi himself was criticized by the Ulema Council’s deputy secretary-general for saying that “politics and religion should be well separated so that people could differentiate between political and religious matters.” With the fresh injection of Saudi funds, the growing conservatism in the region looks likely to continue.

    Najib’s diatribe against Myanamr’s Aung San Suu Kyi was one window into how ASEAN leaders have had to respond to this cultural development. If religiously-driven voters are to serve as a key part of Najib’s base, he will likely continue to position himself as a defender of Muslims across the region, awakening a heretofore dormant force in Southeast Asian relations that will outlive his tenure. This will probably cause significant tensions with countries where sizable Muslim minorities are present, including Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. These countries are already on edge after a spate of recent attacks and foiled terrorist plans, and they will certainly advocate for the Muslim-majority countries to embrace a more moderate brand of Islam.

    Finally, Najib’s diatribe was bizarre given ASEAN’s steadfast adherence to the principle of non-interference in other member states’ affairs. ASEAN’s founders were explicit in their insistence that each state should be given the latitude to govern as they saw fit, stemming from a desire to send a message to the then-superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States, that sovereignty was sacrosanct. In this instance, Najib was able to evoke a response from Myanmar and ASEAN but it sets a dangerous precedent.

    Saudi Arabia’s engagement with Southeast Asia signals the uncertainty and instability characteristic of today’s global order. With the United States absolving itself of international leadership and calling into question the very tenets of the postwar world, a host of state actors have devised various means to protect their nations’ interests, including other Middle Eastern states. Saudi Arabia is no different in that respect but its renewed engagement – and the increasing religious influence it wields as a result – poses difficult questions for an already-weakened ASEAN.

    #Asie_du_sud-est #Arabie_saoudite #wahabbisme

  • Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi and the fraud of human rights imperialism - World Socialist Web Site

    The plight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing the Burmese military’s rampage in the western state of Rakhine is a devastating exposure of the fraud of human rights imperialism practiced by the US and its allies and their chief political asset in Burma (Myanmar)—Aung San Suu Kyi.

    The brutality and scale of the military operations has been the occasion of a great deal of hypocritical handwringing in the UN and by those who have aggressively promoted Suu Kyi as a “democracy icon.” Despite the media and humanitarian agencies being barred from the operational area, there is substantial and mounting evidence that the Burmese army has been systematically torching villages and numerous eyewitness accounts of soldiers gunning down civilians.

    #birmanie #rohingyas

  • Birmanie Répression, discrimination
    et nettoyage ethnique en Arakan-FIDH 2000

    I. L’Arakan
    A. Présentation de l’Arakan
    B. Historique de la présence musulmane en Arakan
    C. Organisation administrative, forces répressives et résistance armée

    II. Le retour forcé et la réinstallation des Rohingyas :
    hypocrisie et contraintes
    A. Les conditions du retour du Bangadesh après l’exode de 1991-92
    B. Réinstallation et réintégration

    III. Répression, discrimination et exclusion en Arakan
    A. La spécificité de la répr
    ession à l’égard des Rohingyas
    B. Les Arakanais : une exploitation sans issue

    IV. Nouvel Exode
    A. Les années 1996 et 1997
    B. L
    ’exode actuel

  • As violence intensifies, Israel continues to arm Myanmar’s military junta
    Responding to a petition filed by human rights activists, Defense Ministry says matter is ’clearly diplomatic’
    By John Brown Sep. 3, 2017 | 5:58 PM

    The violence directed at Myanmar’s Rohingya minority by the country’s regime has intensified. United Nations data show that about 60,000 members of the minority group have recently fled Myanmar’s Rahine state, driven out by the increasing violence and the burning of their villages, information that has been confirmed by satellite images. But none of this has led to a change in the policy of the Israeli Defense Ministry, which is refusing to halt weapons sales to the regime in Myanmar, the southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.

    On Thursday, the bodies of 26 refugees, including 12 children, were removed from the Naf River, which runs along the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Of the refugees who managed to reach Bangladesh, many had been shot. There were also reports of rapes, shootings and fatal beatings directed at the Rohingya minority, which is denied human rights in Myanmar. The country’s army has been in the middle of a military campaign since October that intensified following the recent killing of 12 Myanmar soldiers by Muslim rebels.

    Since Burma received its independence from Britain in 1948, civil war has been waged continuously in various parts of the country. In November 2015, democratic elections were held in the country that were won by Nobel Prize-winning human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi. But her government doesn’t exert real control over the country’s security forces, since private militias are beholden to the junta that controlled Myanmar prior to the election.

    Militia members continue to commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of human rights around the country, particularly against minority groups that are not even accorded citizenship. Since Myanmar’s military launched operations in Rahine last October, a number of sources have described scenes of slaughter of civilians, unexplained disappearances, and the rape of women and girls, as well as entire villages going up in flames. The military has continued to commit war crimes and violations of international law up to the present.

    Advanced Israeli weapons

    Despite what is known at this point from the report of the United Nations envoy to the country and a report by Harvard University researchers that said the commission of crimes of this kind is continuing, the Israeli government persists in supplying weapons to the regime there.

    One of the heads of the junta, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, visited Israel in September 2015 on a “shopping trip” of Israeli military manufacturers. His delegation met with President Reuven Rivlin as well as military officials including the army’s chief of staff. It visited military bases and defense contractors Elbit Systems and Elta Systems.

    The head of the Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate — better known by its Hebrew acronym, SIBAT — is Michel Ben-Baruch, who went to Myanmar in the summer of 2015. In the course of the visit, which attracted little media coverage, the heads of the junta disclosed that they purchased Super Dvora patrol boats from Israel, and there was talk of additional purchases.

    In August 2016, images were posted on the website of TAR Ideal Concepts, an Israeli company that specializes in providing military training and equipment, showing training with Israeli-made Corner Shot rifles, along with the statement that Myanmar had begun operational use of the weapons. The website said the company was headed by former Israel Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki. Currently the site makes no specific reference to Myanmar, referring only more generally to Asia.

    Who will supervise the supervisors?

    Israel’s High Court of Justice is scheduled to hear, in late September, a petition from human rights activists against the continued arms sales to Myanmar.

    In a preliminary response issued in March, the Defense Ministry argued that the court has no standing in the matter, which it called “clearly diplomatic.”

    On June 5, in answer to a parliamentary question by Knesset member Tamar Zandberg on weapons sales to Myanmar, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel “subordinates [itself] to the entire enlightened world, that is the Western states, and first of all the United States, the largest arms exporter. We subordinate ourselves to them and maintain the same policy.”

    He said the Knesset plenum may not be the appropriate forum for a detailed discussion of the matter and reiterated that Israel complies with “all the accepted guidelines in the enlightened world.”

    Lieberman statement was incorrect. The United States and the European Union have imposed an arms embargo on Myanmar. It’s unclear whether the cause was ignorance, and Lieberman is not fully informed about Israel’s arms exports (even though he must approve them), or an attempt at whitewashing.

    In terms of history, as well, Lieberman’s claim is incorrect. Israel supported war crimes in Argentina, for example, even when the country was under a U.S. embargo, and it armed the Serbian forces committing massacres in Bosnia despite a United Nations embargo.


  • Fears mount of Myanmar atrocities as fleeing Rohingya families drown | World news | The Guardian

    Two dozen corpses believed to be the bodies of Rohingya women and children have washed up on a Bangladesh riverbank as fears grow of atrocities committed by Myanmar forces against the Muslim minority across the border.

    In the deadliest violence in decades, nearly 400 people have been killed in a week of fighting in Myanmar’s north-west Rakhine state after Rohingya insurgents attacked security forces and the military responded with a huge counter-offensive.

    Close to 38,000 Rohingya have fled their villages and attempted to cross into Bangladesh, according to United Nations estimates. World powers have warned Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to avoid killing innocent civilians.

    #birmanie #rohingas

  • Jade and the Generals - Trailer | Global Witness - YouTube

    As Myanmar gears up for landmark national peace talks this new Global Witness film reveals how the country’s massive jade business is helping to drive deadly armed conflict. What’s more, the multi-billion dollar trade is a threat to the peace efforts Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has made her government’s top priority. With the next round of peace talks scheduled for 24th May jade and natural resources need to have a prominent place on the agenda if peace is to be achieved.
    See the full film from 17th May 2017 a

    #Birmanie #jade #extraction_minière #conflits_ramés #documentaire

  • Burmese government rejects international inquiry into anti-Rohingya pogrom - World Socialist Web Site

    Burmese government rejects international inquiry into anti-Rohingya pogrom
    By John Roberts
    15 May 2017

    A European tour by the Burmese (Myanmar) head of government Aung San Suu Kyi this month has been marked by shameless hypocrisy, outright lies and cover-up of the campaign by the military and nationalist thugs to terrorise the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

    On May 2 in Brussels, the European Union headquarters, Suu Kyi, flatly rejected a fact-finding investigation mission proposed on March 24 at the annual meeting of the 47-member UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

    #birmanie #rohingas

  • Myanmar’s War on the #Rohingya

    #Myanmar has long persecuted the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, denying it basic rights to citizenship, to marry, to worship and to an education. After violence unleashed in 2012 by Buddhist extremists drove tens of thousands of Rohingya out of their homes, many risked their lives to escape in smugglers’ boats; more than 100,000 others are living in squalid internment camps. Now, a counterinsurgency operation by Myanmar’s military is again forcing thousands of Rohingya to abandon their villages.

  • #Aung_San_Suu_Kyi Asks U.S. Not to Refer to ‘#Rohingya’

    Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar’s first democratically elected government since 1962, embraced that view last week when she advised the United States ambassador against using the term “Rohingya” to describe the persecuted Muslim population that has lived in #Myanmar for generations.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi : What the ’interviewed by Muslim’ BBC Today programme comment can tell us about her views | The Independent
    L’article sur Aung San Suu Kyi explique la méthode employée également per la chancelière #Merkel pour solidifier sa position.

    Suu Kyi has been struggling to attain power in Burma for the past 28 years. She is vastly popular with her fellow countrymen, more than 90 per cent of whom are Buddhists, like her. But her enemies in the military regime have never stopped trying to blacken her name. Their favourite method was to say that she wasn’t properly Burmese because she had been married to an Englishman, had lived in the West for many years and produced two foreign sons. And by depicting her as foreign, they tried to lump her together with the Muslim minority who are also regarded by many Burmese Buddhists as aliens with no right to remain in the country.

    My hunch is that Suu Kyi feared that if she spoke up for the Rohingya, it would make it easy for her enemies to repeat this argument – and if the Burmese masses fell for it, that could erode her standing and her chances of coming to power. So she has been sitting uncomfortably on the fence for the past five years.

    In such a posture she became a sitting duck for anyone – Muslim journalists to the fore – who wanted to attack her for betraying both her human rights record and her status as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She became hyper-sensitive on the issue.

    Bref : une fois arrivée en position de cheffe il ne faut plus bouger. Il faut agir en tirant les ficelles dans l’obscurité. C’est seulement après avoir éliminé tous ses concurrents qu’il devient possible de prendre ouvertement position par rapport aux questions urgentes.

    #politique #femmes #Aung_San_Suu_Kyi #Angela_Merkel

  • Preethi Nallu March 15, 2016

    “On November 13, his predilection for an unceasing dystopian state of affairs was broken by a historic turn of events in the country. While Orwell’s narrative could not have accommodated the coexistence of Big Brother and the Outer Party in one system, in the parallel real world, the Myanmar military conceded elections to the National League for Democracy (NLD) headed by the iconic Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The seventy-year-old leader spearheaded a landslide victory, with her party claiming enough seats in the parliament to choose the next president.

    The recognition is a significant game-changer for a country where every publication, including advertisements, until recently required pre-approval by the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRB), part of the Ministry of Information. This draconian rule dictated flow of information from and within Myanmar for 50 years. But, the latest polls, which appear to have been relatively free and fair with substantive local and international media coverage, beckon a new political climate.

    However, such progress primarily applies to the Bamar majority in the country. In addition to this group, which constitutes about 68 percent of the population, Myanmar officially recognizes 135 ethnic minority groups. While the Shan constitute the largest such group in Myanmar, with official figures pitting them at nearly 10 percent of the population, hundreds of thousands live unclassified as refugees in Northern Thailand. In parts of Shan State, which constitutes one-fourth of the country’s landmass, fighting resumed between government forces and the Shan State Army (SSA) following November’s polls.

    Meanwhile, Suu Kyi’s strategy with most ethnic minorities—“vote for NLD and we will represent your democratic rights”—has proven effective, as she won by large margins in the restive borderlands of the country, according to a latest Economist report. At the same time, voting was canceled in large swaths of the ethnic minority regions that have been chronically war-torn since the creation of a Burmese state in 1948. Resolving these discrepancies after the new Parliament convenes in early 2016 will be an uphill battle.

    Yet the biggest stumbling block for the leader has been her conspicuous silence on the issue of the Rohingya. The absence of at least 1.2 million Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority, from the vote is but one glaring gap in basic democracy in Myanmar.

    While the latest polls provided a significant impetus for change for a majority of the population living inside the country, the Rohingya have suffered an even greater setback, with their voting rights suspended by the military backed government ahead of polls. Not a single Muslim candidate is expected to sit in the coming Parliament.

    No recognition from the government of Myanmar, no prospects of assimilation in neighboring countries and no means in between—these prevailing conditions that have dominated the experience of the Rohingya community have also earned them the label of one of ‘the most persecuted people’ in the world from UN agencies.”

  • Israël : une députée palestinienne condamnée à 15 mois de prison - Moyen-Orient - RFI - Publié le 07-12-2015

    La députée palestinienne Khalida Jarrar, accusée d’incitation à la violence et au terrorisme, a été condamnée ce lundi à 15 mois de prison par un tribunal militaire israélien. Les Palestiniens, qui se sont beaucoup mobilisés pour cette personnalité connue, dénoncent un jugement purement politique.

    Avec notre correspondante à Jérusalem, Murielle Paradon

    Khalida Jarrar avait été arrêtée chez elle, en Cisjordanie occupée le 2 avril dernier, dans un raid de l’armée israélienne. Cette députée palestinienne était accusée d’incitation à la violence et d’appartenance au Front populaire de libération de la Palestine, un mouvement d’extrême gauche considéré comme une organisation terroriste par Israël.

    Le sort de Khalida Jarrar a beaucoup mobilisé. Féministe, militante des droits de l’homme et en particulier des droits des prisonniers, c’est une personnalité connue. Les Palestiniens ont aussitôt vu dans son arrestation par Israël un geste politique.

    Le jugement rendu ce lundi, 15 mois de prison fermes et 2 500 euros d’amende, est dénoncé comme totalement arbitraire, venant d’un tribunal militaire israélien. Khalida Jarrar a déjà passé huit mois en détention, elle devrait donc sortir de prison l’été prochain. Selon une association de détenus, cinq députés palestiniens sont actuellement emprisonnés dans les geôles israéliennes.


    • Even a Political Trial Can’t Budge Israel’s Silence of the Ewes

      Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar was jailed because of her political beliefs, but few Israelis seem to care.
      Gideon Levy Dec 10, 2015 2:32 AM

      Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar in Ofer military court, May 2015.Alex Levac

      What is left of concepts like solidarity, sympathy or protest here? And who is left to express them? What could remain of those words when a military court sentences a Palestinian parliamentarian to a prison term for her political activity – and Jewish-Israeli society looks on with complete disinterest?

      It’s unlikely that the Israeli public even heard of it. No man cried out, no woman either. There is not a righteous man in Sodom, nor a righteous woman.

      The banishment, arrest and trial of Khalida Jarrar, not to mention the verdict against her, are among the abominations of the occupation. There have been greater abominations, but this one should have raised some kind of storm in Israel – as it did in the rest of the world – because it concerns an elected official, a fighter for human rights and social justice, a feminist and, of course, an opponent to the occupation.

      She was sentenced to prison solely due to her political activity. That, surely, should have awakened someone here? But we’re only shocked by the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, where there’s a military dictatorship.

      Here’s a brief history of the abomination. A banishment order from the city she lives in; imprisonment without trial; a fabricated indictment, produced in response to the international criticism of her arrest and incarceration, consisting of grotesque charges that even the military prosecution never dared to concoct; the prosecutor’s threat before the court that she would be locked up without trial if it dared release her; and a verdict of 15 months in prison.

      The occupation’s clerks, disguised as prosecutors and military judges – imposters to all intents and purposes - did their job well. This is exactly what is required of obedient bureaucrats in uniform, some of them in skullcaps too.

      The mission was accomplished and Jarrar was neutralized. She will remain in prison for at least seven more months. Her husband, Ghassan, manufactures fur toys. Israel has arrested him 14 times and the furthest he has been allowed to travel in his 55 years is the Ketziot prison in the Negev. He and their daughters, Yaffa and Suha, doctoral students in Canada, will continue to weep, as they did in several court sessions.

      The only person who tried to stop this abomination was IDF Judge Major Haim Balilti, who ordered Jarrar’s release from prison. But Chief Military Advocate Lt. Col. Morris Hirsch threatened that Jarrar would be imprisoned in any case, regardless of the court’s ruling. That had the desired effect on judge Lt. Col. Ronen Atzmon of the appeals court, who did his duty.

      That is how Israel teaches the subjects of its occupation the only lesson it wants them to learn – you must not resist the occupation in any way, on any account, neither with violence nor politics, nor guns nor words. Bow your heads obediently under the boot, raise your hands in subservience and surrender. If you don’t, you will be punished.

      The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, one of the most sophisticated and impressive political movements, is seen by Israeli despotism as a “prohibited organization.” It also has a military wing, with which Jarrar had no contact. Even Jarrar’s visit to a Palestinian book fair was registered as an offense for which there can only be one verdict.

      A lawmaker is banished, arrested, imprisoned without really doing anything wrong or committing a crime – and Israel is silent. Her parliamentary peers – male and female members of the Knesset who grandstand about the “only democracy,” are silent. Apart from MK Aida Touma-Sliman, who visited Jarrar in prison, there was no display of protest or solidarity.

      Where are the MKs, especially the female ones? Hello, Merav Michaeli? Stav Shafir? Meretz? The silence of the lambs, mainly of the ewes. The women’s organizations are silent, the feminists are silent and the legal experts are silent. And, of course, the media, which didn’t even bother to report the verdict, except for Haaretz. Why? What happened? A “terrorist” was sentenced to prison? What’s the story?

      But this is a big story and it should trouble many Israelis, even those who aren’t concerned with the fate of the Palestinians. It won’t stop with Jarrar; it never does.

  • The Military Will Still Control Myanmar After Aung San Suu Kyi’s Victory - US News

    The returns from Myanmar’s parliamentary election show there will be an overwhelming victory for longtime democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy, enabling them to form the next government. But the oddest feature of the election is that Suu Kyi herself, who led her party to a landslide victory, cannot become president. This reality is just one visible symptom of the even more difficult struggle that lies ahead. It is very much a critical and open question if the military will feel compelled to cede any ground in light of the new government.

    #Birmanie #junte_militaire

  • Valse-hésitation des dirigeants birmans, par André et Louis Boucaud

    Si les cérémonies militaires surprennent rarement, celle organisée par les forces armées birmanes, le 27 mars 2013, pour commémorer comme chaque année leur soulèvement contre l’armée japonaise en 1945, l’a fait. En effet, au premier rang de la tribune, assise au beau milieu des généraux — ses anciens geôliers — se tenait Mme Aung San Suu Kyi

  • SPECIAL REPORT - In #Myanmar, #apartheid tactics against minority Muslims

    A 16-year-old Muslim boy lay dying on a thin metal table. Bitten by a rabid dog a month ago, he convulsed and drooled as his parents wedged a stick between his teeth to stop him from biting off his tongue.

    Swift treatment might have saved Waadulae. But there are no doctors, painkillers or vaccines in this primitive hospital near Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State in western Myanmar. It is a lonely medical outpost that serves about 85,300 displaced people, almost all of them Muslims who lost their homes in fighting with Buddhist mobs last year.

    “All we can give him is sedatives,” said Maung Maung Hla, a former health ministry official who, despite lacking a medical degree, treats about 150 patients a day. The two doctors who once worked there haven’t been seen in a month. Medical supplies stopped when they left, said Maung Maung Hla, a Muslim.

    These trash-strewn camps represent the dark side of Myanmar’s celebrated transition to democracy: apartheid-like policies segregating minority Muslims from the Buddhist majority. As communal violence spreads, nowhere are these practices more brutally enforced than around Sittwe.

    In an echo of what happened in the Balkans after the fall of communist Yugoslavia, the loosening of authoritarian control in Myanmar is giving freer rein to ethnic hatred.


    #Aung_San_Suu_Kyi is only the latest to fail the #Rohingya. More of this and the result will be #genocide

    In recent days, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, having just been awarded a prestigious human rights prize by the EU, sat down with the BBC in London and in her beguilingly gentle fashion denied the ethnic cleansing of one of the world’s most vulnerable minorities.
    In a manner reminiscent of Burmese President Thein Sein, a master in the art of evasive platitudes, the usually eloquent democracy activist issued a series of slippery answers in response to repeated questions on the issue from journalist Mishal Husain.

    Her statements, at times bordering on abject denialism, have already been ably eviscerated by David Blair in the Telegraph.

    Suu Kyi’s is a betrayal that will hit the affected Rohingya ethnic minority hard; not least because the group are in desperate need of support from principled politicians, but also because her contentions - which will be taken seriously by many - were as false as they were cowardly.

  • Burma: The Despots and the Laughter by Jonathan Mirsky | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

    When Aung San Suu Kyi was recently here in London, feted on every hand, she was asked about the persecution of the Rohingya, the Burmese Muslims. She replied, “I’m not sure they’re Burmese.”

  • Lettre ouverte à #François_Hollande à la veille de la visite en France du Président birman #Thein_Sein

    Depuis de nombreuses années, nous suivons à la RdR la situation en #Birmanie, que ce soit en appelant à soutenir le peuple birman, que ce soit en présentant (en pleine terreur et sous un pseudonyme) la situation des écrivains face à la dictature, que ce soit en publiant de la littérature birmane contemporaine (Mère de Juu) ou en interpellant les autorités françaises sur le sort d’Aung San Suu Kyi (avec appel et pétition). Nous renouvelons ce type d’action en relayant l’appel d’un ensemble (...)

    #Interventions #Démocratie #Myanmar

  • Reportage sur les Rohingyas, les musulmans de Birmanie opprimés dans l’ indifférence... - YouTube

    Via Warda Mohamed que je remercie

    Le racisme à l’état pur (et hélas même chez les proches d’Aung San Suu Kyi). On en parlait pas, on en parle un peu plus aujourd’hui, mais la politique birmane envers les Rohingas reste bien sadique-dégueu malgré « l’ouverture ».

    Reportage sur les Rohingas, les musulmans de Birmanie

    #birmanie #rohingas