Dr. Aye Maung said,"Our stand is that we won’t give even an inch of our land to those illegal Bangali Terrorist Immigrants. We won’t give up our land, our breeze, our water which are handed to us by our ancestors."

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Extreme condemnation of Bangkok Post's editorial about Myanmar


Extreme condemnation of Bangkok Post's editorial about Myanmar

An editorial was found in the July 20th edition of the Bangkok Post, a Bangkok based newspaper published in English, that strongly criticized Myanmar and President U Thein Sein. The editorial is likely to be a bitter denunciation of Myanmar written on behalf of Thai citizens and government officials who are worried about the international community predicting that Myanmar will become the new Asian tiger following its democratic reforms, and of some Bangkok-based international organizations that are spending millions of dollars on projects in Myanmar.

Not only is the Bangkok Post's account of President U Thein Sein's cancellation of two Thai trips prior to his recent visit biased, but it also damages the relations between two long-standing oppositions working together on the country's move towards democracy. According to the account, the reason behind the President postponing the trip to Thailand was that popular opposition leader Daw Aung San Su Kyi received a warm invitation to address the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok. The Bangkok Post can note that this information will serve to create a misunderstanding between the President and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who have reached a certain level of understanding after their face-to-face discussion.

Historical records show that Thailand has exploited instabilities in certain countries to further the country's economic aims. The Vietnam and Korean Wars, the Cambodian Civil War, the half-century long civil war in Myanmar, and the weaknesses of Burmese dictatorship are the factors that have enabled Thailand to be the country it is today.

Thailand is especially worried that the country's interests, which stem from Myanmar's past problems, will be reduced by the democratization and development of present day Myanmar. For instance, Thailand is the center of the branches of Western non-governmental organizations, humanitarian organizations, foreign-based Myanmar organizations, foreign-based Myanmar media groups, and local and foreign non-governmental organzations, which were founded on the basis of Myanmar's human rights abuses, civil war, political issues, and environmental problems in the past 20 years. The expenditures of those branches and Thai-based non-governmental organizations enter Myanmar and the Thai market via the banks in Thailand.

At the same time, Thailand greatly benefits from the low income of Myanmar immigrant workers, both official and unofficial, in Thailand, the right to oppress them to any extent, and the low production costs of Thai factories and marine projects.

The Bangkok Post asserts that Thailand and its neighbours are well aware of the Rohingya conflict and that the Thai authorities will not accept immigrant Rohingyas for they view the ethnic group as a problem of Myanmar, showing that the newspaper has no precise knowledge of the history of Rohingya, Myanmar, Bengladesh, and Rakhine State. This also proves that the Bangkok Post is trying to point out the mistakes of the former Burmese government and that it is simply echoing the voices of the Western media, who have been spreading propaganda about the Rohingya conflict. Therefore, the Voice Weekly views the editorial as a personal insult on President U Thein Sein for implementing democratic reforms after having been a proponent of the old authoritarian government. The Bangkok Post, which claims itself to be a dignified publication, has never been in Myanmar, attended ASEAN summits, or officially interviewed the Myanmar President. Even the Washington Post of the United States, the Suddeutsche Zeitung of Germany, Channel NewsAsia of Singapore, have held a face-to-face interview with President U Thein Sein. Therefore, as the Bangkok Post has never conversed with the President, the newspaper's portrayal of religious violence on the basis of the Rohingya conflict can be seen as an inadequate criticism.

As the Bangkok Post uses subjective reasoning (without studying the history of Rakhine State and investigating the ongoing events in the region), to condemn the Myanmar President, it seems more like a media spreading propaganda than a professional media.

The Bangkok Post, which accuses President U Thein Sein's claim regarding the Rohingyas of being influenced by nationalism and ethnic hatred, should be questioned why it has always remained silent about the Thai authorities and media, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights neglecting such issues as Thai films on the historical background of Myanmar and Thailand, Thai newspaper coverage of the historical conquest of Thailand by Burmese Kings (which serves to promote Thai nationalism and animosity towards Burmese), the discrimination of Thai police, gangs, and citizens against immigrant Burmese workers (including blackmail, murder, and robbery), and the rape and trafficking of Burmese women to Malaysia and fishing industries. It is also questionable why the Bangkok Post emphasizes the affairs of Cambodia, Myanmar, and other countries who recently had border conflicts with Thailand, yet barely mentions such local topics as the long-standing tension and killings between Buddhists and Muslims who want to set up a separate Islamic state in Southern Thailand, the Thai military's violence during Thaksin's reign, and the Thai army's repression of 'red shirt' protestors.

Everyone needs to note that as the Bangkok Post has given a biased account of the easing Rakhine conflict, the newspaper will be held absolutely responsible should any dispute or misunderstanding revive between Myanmar's ethnic nationalities and between the Muslims and Buddhist Rakhines, who have been living in peace with each other for years.

Written by Editor (25.7.2012)

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