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Green Library. S62 F66 Unknown. More options. Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Bibliography Includes bibliographical references p. Contents The Karen epic and the journey Development and Karen self-determination Ethnicity and ethnodevelopment The Karen revolution : The four cuts as maldevelopment Liberation ethnodevelopment and key KNU institutions Myth of the "internal affair" : geo and petropolitical complicity ceasefire concerns for the KNU. Bibliographic information. Publication date ISBN pbk. Browse related items Start at call number: HN S62 F66 Librarian view Catkey: Aid restrictions, restrictions on high level contact and travel by senior Burmese officials, and embargoes on trade and investment all had the direct, if unintended, consequence of reinforcing the status quo.

It is ultimately evident that Western intervention has furthered a need for Myanmar state officials to view such intervening as harmful, and thus adopt policies of isolationism that have only served to isolate the Rohingya from any external assistance. This policy of isolationism and its ramifications for its citizens and those that live within state borders can be addressed through the constrained policy choices the Burmese state was forced to take as a result of the actions of the international community.

Revolution as Development : The Karen Self-Determination Struggle Against Ethnocracy (1949 - 2004)

Within international relations, as a policy, sanctions mean tightening the policy choices of the government being sanctioned, to the point where there is no other option for the government except surrendering or impoverishing the people of the nation to that degree that there is no other choice but to overthrow the present government.

Furthermore, the targeted state must have very few resources. In the case of Burma, neither of these prerequisites apply. In fact, having previously vacillated between friendships with US and China, the tense relations with America provided an opportunity for Burma to form closer ties with China. China thus became the prime source of support and protection in the international community. However, since the new government took power in and the censorship board was then abolished, the media landscape has been substantially transformed.

Leaders and news outlets still disseminate retrograde-sounding opinions and sometimes outright denial of any claims of such atrocities.

Revolution as Development: The Karen Self-Determination Struggle Against Ethnocracy (1949 - 2004)

This isolationism affecting the Rohingya Muslim population can be exemplified by the restrictions of international aid the community has faced. Thus, preventing international aid from entering Burma becomes legitimized. This has several subsequent ramifications. There is a lack of summative data about the Rohingya population in any stream of academic literature. Assessments of health, nutrition, and human security provide insight into the needs of vulnerable populations.

It is extremely difficult to collect data about the Rohingya because the Myanmar Government does not recognize the Rohingya as a distinct and legitimate group, let alone as citizens. With the lack of recognition and acknowledgment of this issue, it serves to completely neglect the plight of Rohingya Muslims. Moreover, government-induced restrictions on aid and a lack of data makes it difficult for aid organizations to reach their target audience. These acts tie together to further deteriorate the conditions of the Rohingya, while providing an image of an unfavourable future for this ostracized population.

Throughout history, democracy has been viewed as the ultimate form of government that allows a nation to reflect its values in its power to choose leaders whose visions align with such values. Although in theory the system when applied to a population and its members equally sounds robust in attaining fair representation, Theoretically, democracy should give equal and fair representation to every citizen in a democratic nation.

However, when imposed upon another nation, this is not always the case. This is seen with Myanmar.


This portion of the essay will analyze Western responses to various affairs in Myanmar and how this has ultimately affected the Rohingya Muslim population. This perception can be viewed as paternalistic and dismissive of human rights abuses in Myanmar. Margaret Thatcher has a notorious history for being on what many would argue as the wrong side of history when speaking to issues of race — especially considering her involvement in pro-South African stances during its era of apartheid [69].

Yet, McConnell sees her as a stronger leader, which might be rooted in Eurocentric understandings of leadership and further emphasizes the simplistic notion with which American officials analysed Burmese politics at the time. Kirsten Haack addresses this notion by addressing the agenda of the United Nations. By analyzing a body of governance developed as a response to war, one can determine that the United Nations is deemed a solution that was created primarily by the West. Haack outlines that the key vision for the United Nations was democracy through civilization, elections, governance, and developmental democracy.

In the Burmese context we see that this is the basis for the idyllic representation of Aung San Suu Kyi as she is an active proponent for democracy. This essay will argue however, that this effort to instate democracy does more harm than good, thus showcasing the marginalization of the Rohingya is in part due to Western interventionism.

While Western intervention in Burma exists, the aid may be insufficient, endangering the lives of countless Rohingya Muslims fleeing from Myanmar.

During the Obama administration, with Secretary Clinton leading the agenda for Foreign Affairs, the country was promised reduced sanctions conditional upon the follow-through of democratisation of the state. There still exists tensions between the military and the ability to govern, but many of the sanctions imposed on Burma have been reduced.

However, the only follow-up came through one specific sanction restricting arms trades with Burmese military forces. With these perspectives in mind, however, addressing the rights of the Rohingya Muslims does not simply categorize itself within the confines of Western altruism. Burma has been subject to economic sanctions since the s and 80s, especially after as previously mentioned.

Dale argues in his work Free Burma that the political consumer is capable of shedding light on issues of unethical consumerism through articulating claims clearly and with a specific point and call to action [81]. Furthermore, these messages gain traction when there is a collective trans local identity acting against a transnational corporation. In Burma today [,] our real malady is not economic but political… Until we have a system that guarantees rule of law and basic democratic institutions, no amount of aid or investment will benefit our people.

Profits from our business enterprises will merely go towards enriching a small, already very privileged elite. Companies [that trade in Burma] only serve to prolong the agony of my country by encouraging the present military regime to persevere in its intransigence. The role of sanctions was to ensure that democracy could be laid as a foundation prior to capitalist ventures undermining the ability for human rights to establish themselves in the state. When examining these sanctions, however, there is an opportunity cost for American corporations to profit from cheap and forced labour.

Under the Obama administration, sanctions were reduced against Burma, so long as promises of democratisation were achieved. This poses a key question — why did this corporate loophole emerge whereby human rights are at risk but companies are allowed to profit from them? For example, Japan was a former imperial power over Burma, but imposed various sanctions in conjunction with the United States in a display of partnership.

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  • Now, however, with the ostensible rise in democratisation in the state, Japan has dramatically increased its Official Development Assistance ODA to the country [86]. There is more at play in the politics of addressing the ethnic conflict in Burma than what meets the eye. Sanctions may be removed for democratisation, but unless this is fully fledged and consistent with protecting the rights of the marginalised Rohingya Muslims in the state, there is no guarantee for an improvement in the situation.

    The roots of a clash of civilisations can also be traced to a culture of Islamophobia that may be present in Western nations today. This is indicative of the nature of Islamophobia taking root in international relations. The stigmatizing notion that Islam is monolithic in representing a population of extremist radicals challenges the ability to create empathy for any Muslim population—including the Rohingya. This is crucial to determining that aid cannot be provided when there is not enough public outcry to validate or catalyse aid provision. This was continued during the Obama Administration.

    Bush allowed for a large misperception of Islam which contributed to the marginalization of Muslim people in America. Ultimately, these policies have shaped the lens through which Muslims are viewed and thus undermine the role they can play in norm dissemination for the human rights of Rohingya peoples. This trivializes the creation of solidarity, which in turns questions the impetus for action to follow to ensure aid provision for the Rohingya.

    This again is a reframing of Islam as the ultimate enemy, clashing against democratic Western ideals.

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    This consequently hurts the Rohingya by lessening the opportunity to garner compassion and Western altruism, if they are deemed part of a primitive group not worth assisting. They are both minorities in Burma, and also the global stage, where Islam — through these continuously imperialistic means of framing minorities — is still very much misunderstood and so, Muslims continue to be misunderstood too.

    In the context of aid, where funding often relies on the compassion of Western masses to donate, the Rohingya are at odds with the ability to foster empathy for their plight, because of their identity. It is also further important to note the modern lens through which the Rohingya Muslims are viewed.

    Jack Fong - Google Scholar Citations

    The Citizenship Act that prevented Rohingya Muslims from attaining citizenship on the basis of identifying them as of Bengali ethnicities had far reaching effects on their integration and participation into society and into government structures and institutions; they effectively became a stateless population, with limited and differentiated access to healthcare, education and other social services [95]. Without citizenship came obstacles to attaining work, food rations, access to the legal system and government services.

    Further restrictions were implemented to discourage the growth of the Rohingya population by adding taxation measures for foundational social practices, including taxes for marriages and taxes for each child born into a family [96]. An investigation by Al Jazeera also uncovered secret memoranda passed within government that explicitly stated intent to diminish and bar the growth of the Rohingya peoples [97]. These institutional acts have taken place alongside years of physical violence and destruction. This includes the case of the uprisings where the Na Sa Ka or military forces were allegedly responsible for the burning and destruction of Rohingya homes, and the rape and murder of Rohingya Muslims peoples.

    The riots displaced thousands and allowed the government the means to restrict the mobility rights of many Rohingya by placing them in makeshift refugee camps. Furthermore, one can compare the acts taking place in Burma with already existing international law surrounding genocide. Considering the circumstances outlined above, the killing of the members of this ethno-religious group, the trauma caused by sexual violence and forcible displacement, the governmental action that made it extraneous to grow the population, and further action are all indicative of genocide.

    This is evident after the Rwandan genocide and after the massacres at Srebrenica. More importantly, these lives were already marginalized and not paid heed to on the international stage to begin with. The ongoing case of the persecution of the Rohingya population in Burma is a very real and current example of the failure of international legislation to protect vulnerable populations. Ultimately, some populations have been deemed worthier than others in the Western public sphere of assistance.

    It is seen again and again that people of colour and Muslims, as evidenced in the case of Rwanda, Bosnia and now Burma, are dismissed and not worthy of timely aid. The dismissal of the Rohingya Muslims within the sphere of Western aid and politics can be proven when compared to the case study of the Free Tibet Movement. In the case of Tibet, there is a global network of some organizations providing financial and diplomatic resources to further the cause of independence [].

    More importantly however, the stateless Tibetan people had the support of the American Whitehouse at the time:.

    With the common enemy of the Chinese, the US had strategic and ideological agendas aligned with the desire to assist the Tibetan people. The Rohingya Muslims do not have a common enemy to share with America. Furthermore, the Rohingya are a Muslim population. They do not hold any power on the world stage as a result of their identity. Noakes argues that these early successes of US support, alongside other large parties including the British and Russians, are what allowed the Free Tibet Movement such momentum []. The Rohingya lack this expediency or transnational advocacy due to their existence as stateless Muslim peoples — ultimately holding back the ability to assist.