Obama and Thein Sein’s blood-soaked handshake

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Rajab 12, 1434 2013-05-22

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

US President Barack Obama shook the blood-soaked hands of Thein Sein of Myanmar at the White House.

Washington DC,

May 22, 2013, 10:45 EDT

Less than a week after he received the self-styled pasha of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, US President Barack Obama shook the blood-soaked hands of Thein Sein of Myanmar at the White House. Obama did not feel the slightest embarrassment at welcoming and embracing the ruler of a country where Muslims are slaughtered like insects because the American president is guilty of equally egregious crimes against innocent Muslims worldwide. Welcoming the Myanmar dictator has become a necessity because the country’s untapped resources that had remained outside the clutches of western multinationals need to be grabbed. The blood of a few thousand Muslim men, women and children, some of then burnt alive is a small price to pay for grabbing the riches.

True, Obama did mention that the killing of Muslims should stop but he could hardly have ignored Myanmar’s slaughter of innocent Muslims that is so widely reported on the Internet with gruesome videos of people being set on fire to die a horrible death. But did Obama really mean what he said about the Muslims’ plight? If so, it hardly makes sense to invite the man who is presiding over this slaughter to the White House. At the end of April, the BBC aired a video of Buddhist monks egging on people to attack and kill Muslims. Several Muslims are beaten to death while others are set on fire while the police look on nonchalantly. No need for intervention there since Muslim life and blood are cheap. By embracing Thein Sein, Obama has just re-affirmed this.

Nor is Myanmar the democracy that is touted as one of the reasons for rushing to embrace the mass murderer. The Myanmar constitution of 2008 guarantees 25% parliamentary seats for the military. People do not elect them. Further, the military makes no bones about its direct involved in politics. On March 27 that is celebrated as Armed Forces Day, the military chief Min Aung Hlaing openly declared in a speech that the military would absolutely retain a role in politics. Equally revealing was the fact that Aung San Suu Kyi, darling of the west and touted as a pro-democracy icon, was sitting there and applauded Min Aung Hliang’s statement. Suu Kyi has maintained a deafening silence about the slaughter of Muslims, saying they are not Myanmar citizens! Does that justify their killing? And how many centuries must a people live in a particular land to be considered citizens?

In November 2012, Obama made the first visit by a sitting US president to Myanmar. Western rulers have made a beeline to Yangoon to shake the blood soaked hands of its rulers, including Thein Sein, himself a former general, and get in on the action for the last untapped riches of Southeast Asia.

Violence against Muslims has continued unabated. The most recent bout exploded in the central town of Meikhtila in late March that left more than 40 people dead and hundreds of Muslim homes and shops were razed. While Thein Sein said those behind the violence were “religious extremists and political radicals”, he refused to identify those involved or offer a solution to prevent the anti-Muslim pogroms.

Buddhist monks have launched what is referred to as the “969” campaign against Muslims. If the authorities wanted, they could have stopped the rampaging monks and their followers but took no action. International observers have repeatedly pointed out that police stood by and did not prevent the killing of Muslim villagers (several videos are available on the Internet) prompting the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights for Myanmar to claim “state involvement” in the violence.

Even with such strong evidence, Obama felt no shame in inviting to the White House a mass killer of innocents and openly embracing him.


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