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The Other Killing Fields: Christians in Burma   (February 2, 2007)

Readers occasionally suggest that I "monetize" the modest popularity of this site. Hey, why not? So in an effort to rake in some much-needed dough, I designed this ad for the official Tourist Agency of Myanmar, a.k.a. Burma.

I should have said, Myanmar, a.k.a. Burma, a.k.a. the Other Killing Fields. Everybody seems to know about the genocide of Christian minorities in Darfur, Sudan, but few seem to know that the Burmese military junta has pursued a well-cloaked, relentless and brutal policy of extermination against its Christian minority, the Karen.

In the usual double-speak of fascist regimes, the government calls itself the State Peace and Development Council.

The Burmese Military has a uniquely effective policy to inhibit unwanted publicity: they kill anyone they catch in the Karen areas. As a result, there is little information about this ruthless genocide of a peaceful Christian minority whose greatest sin, it seems, is a distaste for the heroin trade, i.e. growing and selling poppies. The drug trade is of course the major source of income for the warlords and their government allies, with the smuggling of gems and clearcut hardwoods providing additional revenue streams.

One of the very few groups which operates in the extremely dangerous areas of eastern Burma is the Free Burma Rangers. (They also accept donations.)

The major media has covered the story occasionally; here is a Washington Post video, Nightmare in Eastern Burma.

Burmese forces are waging the largest military offensive against their own people in more than a decade, targeting the country's eastern ethnic groups with violence and destruction. Tens of thousands of refugees, mostly Karen minorities, are abandoning villages in search of safety in Thailand.
Here is a rare photo of a Burmese Army Camp, where enslaved porters are held:

Maw Pu army camp is one of many Burma Army camps along the road from Kyauk Kyi to Hsaw Hta. It was expanded in 2006. The central compound is surrounded by at least 8 layers of bamboo fencing and a deep trench filled with sharpened bamboo stakes. The Prisoner porters are confined to a sub-compound within the camp. Maw Pu is located at Lat.Long. N18 25 00 E097 13 30 and on the British 1 inch map 94 f/3 at 803 322

The Burma Army has used over 1,700 porters in this offensive and over 265 have been reported to have died, many who were executed. Among the porters in Papun District alone, there are over 20 child porters (boys under 16 years old from Insein Prison). The Burma Army is now using the term, “transporter”-“Woon Htan”, instead of “prisoner porter” to describe the people they force to carry their loads.

Please see Dec. 19 report Forced Labor Continues in Burma.
Here is the Human Rights watch report on Burma.

Here is a slideshow from the US campaign for Burma, 3000 villages destroyed by Military Junta in Burma. (Note: large file size, avoid unless you have high-speed Internet connection.)

For more on this subject and a wide array of other topics, please visit my weblog.


copyright © 2007 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.

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