Smarty Pants Podcast

Burmese Daze

How political powers in Myanmar engineered the Rohingya crisis

By Stephanie Bastek | March 30, 2018
UN Women/Allison Joyce

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.



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