21 February 2014
The root causes for the violence by Burmese Buddhists against Muslims in Myanmar are complex. Contrary to the simplified narratives carried by the international media, a nuanced understanding of the situation is needed to attain a viable solution.
SINCE RELIGIOUS violence erupted in Western Myanmar in 2012 and subsequently spread to other parts, there has been a litany of analyses on the plight of the Rohingya and the underlying causes of the conflict. Regarding the causes, much emphasis is placed on the actions of nationalists and a controversial group of chauvinistic monks called the ‘969 Movement’.
Analysts also attribute the violence to the loosening of military control and of censorship, absence of the rule of law, and machinations of disgruntled factions within government. President Thein Sein’s administration has also been accused of inaction and even deliberate involvement. While these are recent factors which have precipitated violence against Muslims in Myanmar, other critical isssues have been overlooked – especially a long standing siege mentality of the Burmese populace drawing on Buddhist millenarianism and a sense of demographic besiegement.
… Kyaw San Wai, a Myanmar national, is a Senior Analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. His research focus is on Burmese politics, political Buddhism, Southeast Asian affairs and Biosecurity.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on