Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World
Source: Al Jazeera YouTube
One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas
The Radical Intolerance of Fake News in Myanmar’s Internet Debut
The debate over fake news and disinformation took center stage in the post-election analysis in the U.S. Facebook in particular has come to stand as an avatar of disinformation tactics, with the rapid spread of factually incorrect stories on the social media platform having contributed, some analysts argue, to the outcome of the election. On the other side of the planet, Myanmar has seen its own struggles with digital information culture as it has begun rapidly digitizing in the wake of its transition to civic government in 2015. As conflict between Muslims and Buddhists in the majority-Buddhist nation has deepened in recent months, false and sensationalist stories masquerading as news have contributed to anti-Muslim sentiment in the country, further inflaming tensions.BuzzFeed News examines how Myanmar is integrating online information culture into both civic and everyday life as its complicated relationship to diversity, inclusion, and free expression is being challenged in countries with longer histories of online engagement.
“How Facebook Spreads Fake News And Anti-Muslim Views In Myanmar” (BuzzFeed News)
(Image Credit: Minzayar Oo/BuzzFeed News)
Hundreds of Rohingya flee Myanmar for Bangladesh as violence spreads
- Clashes between government forces and militants have left at least 130 dead and sent hundreds of Rohingya Muslims fleeing across the border into Bangladesh.
- Some reports indicated those attempting to cross the border were gunned down or had their boats pushed away.
- The district at the border has been locked down by Burmese soldiers, cutting off aid agencies and independent observers as reports of mass rape and looting have trickled out.
“Hundreds of Rohingya flee Myanmar army crackdown to Bangladesh: sources” (Reuters)
“Hundreds of Rohingya try to escape Myanmar crackdown” (BBC News)
“Violence in Burma Has Sent Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims Fleeing to Bangladesh” (TIME)
Women report mass rapes and looting by military as violence against Rohingya explodes in northwest Myanmar
- Locals from U Shey Kya village allege that soldiers stormed their homes, committed mass rape, stole valuables, and burned homes, accusations dismissed as “illogical” and “propaganda” by governmental spokespeople.
- The raids in northern Rakhine State follow coordinated attacks by an emergent group of Rohingya militants on multiple border patrol posts, leading to nine police officers’ and five soldiers’ deaths.
- Many homes in the village were left with only women after men evacuated from fear of being indiscriminately identified as insurgents, with many fearing disregard of recently imposed political constraints on the Burmese military.
“Exclusive: Rohingya women say Myanmar soldiers raped them amid crackdown on militants” (Reuters)
“Dozens of rapes reported in northern Rakhine State” (The Myanmar Times)
“Calls Grow for Access to Western Myanmar in Face of Military Lockdown” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Ye Aung Thu/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images, via The New York Times)
Anti-Muslim protests in Myanmar increase following new government installation
- Hundreds of Buddhist nationalists staged anti-Muslim protests ahead of a visit from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who took up the issue of the persecution of Myanmar’s Muslim minority with state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
- “No Muslims allowed” signs and anti-Muslim patrols have popped up in villages like Thaungtan, with those even suspected of being Muslim harassed and assaulted.
- State counselor Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly instructed U.S. diplomats not to use the term “Rohingya,” echoing Buddhist nationalists who consider the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants and Muslims and Hindus “associate citizens.”
“‘No Muslims allowed’: how nationalism is rising in Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar” (The Guardian)
“Myanmar Nationalists Stage Protest in Mandalay Against Use of Term ‘Rohingya’ by U.S.” (Radio Free Asia)
“‘No Rohingya’: Behind the US Embassy Protest in Myanmar” (The Diplomat)
(Image Credit: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters, via The Guardian)
More than 70 arrested in Myanmar after labor demonstration
- Police reportedly detained 71 protesters and charged 51 after they attempted to march from their wood-processing factory in Sagaing State to Naypyitaw, the capital.
- Protesters organized to call for organizing rights and the re-hiring of terminated factory workers.
- Myanmar’s government has come under fire from rights groups for a proposal to retain junta-era restrictions on assembly and free speech, including the exclusion of non-citizens (including the Rohingya minority) from demonstration rights.
“More than 50 people charged in Myanmar after protest: police” (Reuters)
“New Myanmar government proposes keeping some junta curbs on protests” (Reuters)
“Protest law changes fail international standards: Amnesty” (Frontier Myanmar)
New Myanmar government pardons almost 200 imprisoned activists
- Among the 113 released so far were 69 student activists, many of whom had been charged and convicted following major student protests in March 2015.
- Aung San Suu Kyi, who led the National League for Democracy (NLD) party to victory, had herself been under house arrest for 15 years of the military’s rule.
- Of the remaining 345 facing political charges, 298 are on bail and 47 on remand in jail.
“New Myanmar government frees scores of jailed activists” (Reuters)
“Myanmar Court Drops Charges Against Student Detainees” (Radio Free Asia)
“Myanmar drops charges against nearly 200 political activists” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)