Since August 2017, in the country’s latest wave of Buddhist-on-Muslim violence, over 647,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar due to systemic violence and ethnic cleansing that has killed more than 10,000 people. Why is a religion seen as so peaceful in the West lashing out with such vehemence, and why are the Rohingya their target? And how did a seemingly local conflict erupt across the entire country? Journalist Francis Wade, who has reported in Myanmar for a decade, gives us the deep history, which stretches farther back than contemporary reports might suggest, and reveals a tangled web of interests: ultranationalist Buddhist monks, a military fearful of losing its grip on power, implicit racial hierarchies, and a democratic political party, led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi, whose very principles are called into question.
Go beyond the episode:
- Francis Wade’s Myanmar’s Enemy Within: The Making of a Muslim “Other”
- Read the UNHCR’s report on the Rohingya emergency
- During the reporting of “Massacre in Myanmar,” on the systemic destruction of Rohingya villages, two Reuters reporters were arrested by Myanmar security forces and are still in custody
- Hanna Beech asks in The New Yorker, “What Happened to Myanmar’s Human-Rights Icon?”
- For daily coverage of Myanmar politics, read The Irrawaddy
- Explore the Tea Circle, an Oxford forum for new perspective on Burma/Myanmar
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Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.