Myanmar Travel Reassurances to Westerners
BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 29 October 2012
by Maung Zarni – TRANSCEND Media Service
To those of you Myanmar-bound travelers with passports issued by EU, US, Canada, and Japan, Myanmar is the ultimate “virgin” spot, we understand, where tourists, researchers, NGOs, investors and world leaders love to “have been” there.
Recent news about violent “sectarian” clashes in Western Burma may make you rethink about your travel plan to that wonderful country of Buddhists, open-minded reformist generals and ex-generals and iconic human rights defenders.
Many of our most distinguished leaders in academia, business and politics who have been there will highly recommend Myanmar as a new hot spot, whatever your mission. Plus the Nobel-prize winning Leader of our Western Civilization – Barak Obama – will be travelling to that Golden Land of Genocidal “Buddhists”.
Rest assured that the violence you have heard about on BBC and Al Jazeera is confined to a narrow strip of the Arakanese coast line, and away from tourist and media cameras, thereby eliminating any potential inconveniences to your stay in Myanmar.
Myanmar’s reformist government headed by President Thein Sein – himself a Nobel Peace Prize-short-listed reformer — has assured us, the authorities in The West, that his government is doing everything it can to ensure your safety and to facilitate your wonderful stay. He has further promised us that virtually all law enforcement agencies have been ordered to help your stay in Myanmar as wonderful and memorable as humanly possible.
Again President Thein Sein himself – incidentally, a very sincere, soft-spoken and harmless personality – has assured our Ministries that you will not hear gunshot fires, nor will you see boat loads of fleeing “Kulars or niggers” – much less their social media-circulated doctored images of mutilated corpses, charred belongings, and burnt houses. (Off the record: These damn human rights activists tend to sensationalize stories and exaggerate atrocities – it’s just another case of ethnic cleansing. We have other really important business in Myanmar: BUSINESS).
These unpleasant things do happen off-the-beaten paths, and are part of the march towards civilizational progress. And we advise you not to meddle in Myanmar’s genocidal events. Another place where you may soon seen genocide is Kachin State of Northern Burma; but again it would be wise for you to mind your own business while in Myanmar.
As Western countries, we often get accused of meddling in other people’s affairs. After 25 years of barking at Myanmar authorities how to run their shop, they are heeding our advice, as a matter of fact. We know they mean business – no pun intended – when they tell us they are reforming their economy. Aung San Suu Kyi, that Gandhian spiritual activist for whom we have boundless admiration, and her partner in reform President Thein Sein, are working towards re-instating the “rule of law” after its disappearance of half century. After all, the genocide of “kulars” in Western Myanmar could have been prevented if there was such a thing as “rule of law”.
We are acutely aware of the Human Rights Watch’s satellite imagery about large scale violence in the future Chinese port city of Kyauk Phyru, and you may have heard of un-substantiated allegations about the genocide or ethnic cleansing of a small Muslim minority controversially called “Rohingya”. We are slightly embarrassed by the fact that this side issue of genocide is taking place right under the nose of the two Myanmarese Nobles – Madam Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein. Oh, well….
But we do expect you to show utmost respect for other people’s cultures and ways of life.
In the predominantly “Buddhist” countries of South and South East Asia – for instance, Sri Lanka and now Myanmar – genocide is a “Buddhist” way of life.
As Western citizens, you are expected to show cultural sensitivities. Do not make your hosts loose their face. Donot mention the word “Rohingya” during your stay in Myanmar. The people are very historically minded and they will immediately reject such academic non-sense as “Rohingya”, which is not an ethnic label, as emphatically stated by the esteemed French expert on Myanmar Jaque P. Leider .
Plus who are we as Westerners to impose modern amenities like “human rights” and “genocide prevention”? We have had our share of genocidal cultural practice – plenty of it, in fact – since Columbus.
For those of you who are going to be travelling on ‘democracy promotion’ and ‘civil society-state capacity building’ – same thing — bear in mind we have a very important mission ahead of us. We need your contribution as ‘fore-players’ before our strategic and business penetration.
So, do not – we repeat, do not – allow yourself to be distracted by any annoying news about “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing”.
Whatever your travel purpose in Myanmar, and whatever your next destination after Myanmar, enjoy the chimes of temple bells. Kipling had long whetted our ancestral appetite when the gifted apologist of Empire memorialized this civilizationally genocidal place in his wonderfully Orientalistic, “On the Road to Mandalay”.
Myanmar people there smile a lot. There will be “Burmese girls” waiting for you by the old Moulmein pagoda. Remember to not go westward towards Sittwe or Akrab though.
Buddhist monks do routinely recite “Metta Sutra” or “Loving Kindness” prayers for all sentient beings. Well, not quite. They have their “Kulars or Niggers”.
And they are dealing with them in their own culturally appropriate way: Genocide.
Yes, it is genocide. But let’s get on with your/own own wonderful Myanmar business – pleasure or business.
Have a most wonderful stay!
Western Civilizational Authorities
Dr. Maung Zarni is member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, founder and director of the Free Burma Coalition (1995-2004), and a visiting fellow (2011-13) at the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, Department of International Development, London School of Economics. His forthcoming book on Burma will be published by Yale University Press.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.