What the F is Going on in Myanmar?

Myanmar Riot

On Wednesday, an argument broke out in Myanmar between Muslim owners of a gold shop and a Buddhist couple. Ok, nothing major to worry about. Or is there….?

The gold shop argument has now escalated into three days of deadly riots in the Burmese town of Meiktila. President Thein Sein has declared a state of emergency and the violence has left mosques and other religious buildings burning and charred bodies laying in the streets.

WTF happened? After the gold shop argument turned ugly, mobs began setting mainly Muslim buildings on fire and street fights from rival communities began to break out. Details are sketchy, but reports indicate that about twenty people, including a Buddhist monk, have been killed since Wednesday and many more injured.

Mobs of rioters began attacking Muslims’ houses, causing hundreds of Muslims to flee their homes in fear. Many are seeking shelter at a local sports stadium.

“When I jumped off from the car, a group of people started attacking me. They struck me with swords and knives,” said a Muslim evacuee who was attacked while being driven to the stadium. Yikes.

Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, is a predominantly Buddhist country, but about 5 percent of population are Muslims. The Buddhists and Muslims have been at it on and off since the end of military rule in March 2011. While Myanmar has made some progress since then, the government seems unable to stop the bloodshed between Buddhists and Muslims.

This recent clash is a flash back to last year’s violence in western Myanmar, where 110 people were killed and 120,000 were left homeless (mainly stateless Rohingya Muslims). The recent violence seems to reiterate the fact that inter-ethnic tensions are not going away any time soon. Whatever happened to the stereotypical image of the peaceful Buddha?

Via: New York Times

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply