By Thidar (PhD. candidate in Department of International Relations)
The world has long been deceived by the fabricated news and bias analysis on the issue of conflicts in Rakhine. The International community is constantly told the stories which demonize the law enforcers and humanize terror-minded groups. Those fabricated and one-sided stories got more traction as they involved more drama than facts. On the other hand, fact-laden and truthful information has not got the due attention that they deserve.
However, truth can’t be hidden forever and truth must prevail.
Well-planned attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) Extremist Terrorist with the support of the terror-minded Bengali community in Northern Rakhine state give a clear message about their terror-intent and overt pursuit of violence against the endeavours of Myanmar Government and the international community to solve the conflicts in peaceful ways.
Terror-minded groups’ intent has become clearer as their planned attacks coincide the launch of report and recommendations by Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by Mr Kofi Annan and following the announcement of Myanmar Government’s commitment to implement the Commission’s recommendation on conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance, reconciliation, institution building and development.
International mainstream media’s misinformation and disinformation on the issue in Rakhine implicates international community in several ways. Fabricated media did not allow the international community to differentiate the villains from victims and terrorist’s propaganda blind international community from seeing the masterminds behind all the conflicts and terror acts. Accordingly, global policy and investments were misplaced on villains fertilizing terror-breeding grounds. Most importantly, the humanitarian and human rights values, which Myanmar shares with international community, are critically undermined as they are abused by terror-minded groups to smoke screen their activities.
Who are villains and who are victims?
International community needs to reassess the information they consume from formal and social media and question who is who in the conflicts, what is the bigger picture and which organizations are behind ARSA Extremist Terrorists.
Recent incidents and ensuing media reports are more revealing of their bias stands. Known Media outlets report exaggerated Bengali exodus to their home country while they fail to report on the trauma and miseries of ethnic Rakhine and Hindu families who were displaced by terrorists’ attacks and threats.
Underreported are the ARSA Extremist Terrorists’ cruel slaughters of innocent ethnic Rakhine and Hindu civilians in the area. ARSA Extremist Terrorists’ brutal attacks left lasting trauma to peace loving ethnic Rakhine and Hindu community. Trembling voices of ethnic Rakhine and Hindu individuals recounting ARSA Extremist Terrorists’ killings of their loved ones in front of their own eyes are nightmares to anyone hearing the stories.
ARSA Extremist Terrorists’ indiscriminate razing of tens of thousands of dwellings drives their own groups to the other side of the border. Some moderates Bengali are also threatened to make false testimony to media pointing fingers to law enforcers and security personnel for those destructions. For terror-minded groups telling ‘lies’ and fishing for international sympathy has never been a big deal.
ARSA Extremist Terrorists’ cruelty does not end there. They left land-mines in affected areas leaving hundreds of innocent civilians entrapped with drying foods staffs. Continuing attacks of ARSA Extremist Terrorists since August 25 has forced local Rakhine and Hindu community to flee their homeland in search of refuge in bigger towns of Rakhine.
One can guess the extent of ordeal suffers by innocent Rakhine and Hindu community, their genuine feelings of insecurity from terror threats by observing their timid response and decline to offers of assistance from international agencies.
This also shows peoples’ declining confidence in the global community and their growing doubt on the sincerity of humanitarian actors towards Myanmar people.
Terrorists’ manipulation of media did not give chance for the international community to understand the true stories of the incidents and thus seeing the villains as victims and blaming law enforcers for unfounded human right abuse. What is gradually revealed by the continuing incidents and war of words on social and formal media is a big plot of terrorists’ shift of theatre to Asia, for which Myanmar security forces have long been suspecting.
The International community should be asking whether it is prudent to putting pressure on Myanmar government and blaming security forces of the country based on the manipulated media reports.
Recent incidents in Rakhine also disclosed some disturbing facts about the world. Well-wishers’ humanitarian support materials and foodstuff seized in the terrorists’ camps could disappoint tax-payers in well-wishing friends of Myanmar. This indicates international community’s investments to alleviate human sufferings were unconsciously misplaced serving for opposing purpose of terrors. These revelations for international community are expensive as they are gained at heavy costs of lives and livelihoods of vulnerable ethnic Rakhine and Hindu people, those in public service, police and security personnel in Myanmar.
Global fight for terrorism needs strong and united Myanmar as a partner of the international community. Therefore, long misguided policy towards Myanmar needs to be re-evaluated and recalibrated for a collective fight against ARSA and global terror groups. More should be invested to support the country’s efforts to clear out the terrorists, to prevent the tendencies of cleavages of ethno-religious groups and to build long term development of all social classes.
International community needs to pay careful attention to their media consumption differentiating facts from fictions. So that, their policies towards Myanmar can be sound, your investments can give strength to peace-lovers and shared values of humanitarian and human rights can be saved from jeopardy and from the hands of terror groups.
About the Author Thidar is a PhD. candidate in department of International Relations, in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University.