Surprising everyone, Amnesty International recently accused the Rohingya — the Muslims in Myanmar who have been unceasingly depicted, over the past year, as innocent victims of brutal Burmese Buddhists — of murdering at least 99 Hindus in two separate massacres of men, women, and children. These massacres date from August, 2017, which is also when the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army launched coordinated attacks on 24 police posts and the 552nd Light Infantry Battalion army base in Rakhine State, leaving 71 Buddhist police and soldiers dead. These attacks by the Rohingya were part of a long series of attacks; the Rohingya had been fighting the Buddhist government from 1947 to 1961, with intermittent attacks thereafter — all in order to be able to secede, in the hope of joining East Pakistani (from 1971 on, Bangladesh). These August 2017 attacks set off a huge conflict between the Buddhists and the Muslim Rohingya in the northern Rakhine State, which led to as many as 700,000 Rohingya fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh.
The Myanmar Buddhists claim that this latest announcement by Amnesty International will not be the last about massacres by, rather than of, the Rohingya. More reports of attacks on Buddhists and Hindus, they say, will be coming out. This latest information at least should give the international media pause. Just possibly Aung San Sui Kyi, who had been lionized for years, even won a Nobel Peace Prize for opposing the military despots who ran Myanmar, may have had a point when she refused to condemn outright her own people for their fear of the Rohingya. Possibly she knew more about the situation than the global scolds who condemned her and demanded that she be stripped of her Nobel Prize for not giving her full support to the Rohingya.
Without in any way denying the brutality of the treatment Buddhists have recently inflicted on the Rohingya, we should at least be able to agree that the situation was — is — more complicated than many have thought. The Muslim massacres of both the Buddhist police and soldiers, and of Hindu villagers (about which we have just learned) took place before, and apparently provoked, the large-scale attacks on the Rohingya since August 2017