The daily queue for food in the rain. Thousands are internally displaced. (Photo: BBC.com)
A dedicated racist?
The deceptively fragile-looking lady, Aung Sang Suu Kyi enjoyed the sympathy of the world for many years while she was under house arrest in her compound in Rangoon, whatever they call it now, a political prisoner of the heavy-handed Burmese – Myanmarese isn’t an easy word – military junta.
Everyone was sad for her when her British academic husband, Michael Aris, died of cancer while she was being held captive and she was unable to be with him or even attend the funeral. Their long-distance marriage was presented as some sort of tragic fairytale. The BogPo vaguely recalls also that she became estranged some years ago from her two British-born children.
The Lady’s not for turning. (Asiacorrespondent.com)
Inevitably the force of history prevailed. The exiled beacon of hope became first the leader of the National League for Democracy, and then as international pressure prevailed against the junta, unable to modernize without external help, the leader of her country. Her non-Burmese marriage disqualified her from becoming president, but she now holds a unique position of power created especially for her – State Councillor – under a puppet president, with the permission of the watchful military.
And has turned out to be a first-class hypocrite.
In the west of the country near the border with Bangladesh dwell the Rohingya people. They have lived in and around the city of Rakhine since the 15th century, and form 80%-90% of the population in the region. Until recently there were over a million of them. Now 100,000 live in camps as internally displaced refugees, while many more have fled – or been killed.
Muslims, they are barely tolerated in Burma. The army has been harrying and persecuting them for years in a policy that has been described by some in the international community as ethnic cleansing. In 2016, government soldiers went on the rampage: burning homes, indiscriminately looting, raping women and arbitrarily executing men.
And the Oxford-educated Suu Kyi, an iconic figure whom the West and well-meaning middle-class campaigners supported for decades, a peace prizewinner, doesn’t give a fragrant-smelling shit.
She refuses point-blank to condemn the army, relying on them for her continuing position. In complete denial of the situation, she prefers to go along with the official line that the Rohingya are parasites who first arrived as refugees from what became Bangladesh during the war between West and East Pakistan in 1971.
“After receiving a peace prize, she told reporters she did not know if the Rohingya could be regarded as Burmese citizens. In an interview with the BBC’s Mishal Husein … Suu Kyi refused to condemn violence against the Rohingya and denied that Muslims in Myanmar have been subject to ethnic cleansing, insisting that the tensions were due to a “climate of fear” caused by “a worldwide perception that global Muslim power is very great.” … In the aftermath of the interview, she expressed anger at being interviewed by a Muslim.”
That last statement seems the most telling: the aristocratic Suu Kyi, daughter of Aung San, the leftist ‘founder of modern Myanmar’, is not merely an expedient politician treading a delicate line between the army council and extreme nationalist factions. She’s a dedicated racist.
But she is not the only Myanmarese expressing a bizarrely contradictory, ahistorical prejudice. In a BBC report from 2015, the editor of the English-language Burmese Daily Star demonstrated that he too was in complete denial of their plight when, while volunteering that the Rohingya had lived in the country for ‘800 or 900 years’, he referred to Myanmar as the ‘host’ nation, as if they had arrived only that morning:
“They are housed, they have rudimentary education, living facilities and they are here safe, they are not being persecuted. You have to give us the credit of treating them in a humane way with the hope that the repatriation process comes through. Frankly, we can only be their host for the time being so that they can go back, but giving them citizenship, why?
Clearly, the Burmese memory is a long one. Nine hundred years is some ‘time being’. And a short one: collective amnesia conveniently hides the truth of the many pogroms against the Rohingya by the army in recent years, that are still going on now.
And the tragedy is, ‘they’ are not being allowed to ‘go back’. It’s clear, the Rohingya are treated spitefully, and one reads of the usual anti-minority immigrant rhetoric: ‘they’ are taking our jobs, competing for housing, sponging on ‘our welfare system, our taxes’… No-one, it seems, is able to find a sensible and humane way forward, or is even it seems willing to try, because of entrenched racist and Islamophobic attitudes.
No way out, no way in. What future is there for the Rohingya? (photo: greenleft.org.au)
The animus against the Rohingya dates from fighting during World War Two between a Muslim militia recruited by British colonial forces in 1942 to resist the Japanese invasion, and the Buddhist Arakan people of Rakhine, who were pro-Japanese.
The Rohingya used the British weapons and the brief they’d been given to attack Arakanese villages, killing over 20,000; the Arakan fought back, killing many Rohingya. The British, as always, remained hands-off: the violence suited their needs.
It left a legacy of communal bitterness. Now, the ultra-nationalist Buddhists the fragrant lady relies on for electoral advantage have revived the old enmity. (Buddhists are not as lovely, dreamy and peaceful as most Westerners assume from their meditation classes, they can be stubbornly fanatical bastards.) Wikipedia again: “International media and human rights organizations have often described Rohingyas as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.“
To maintain her position in power, the ‘State Councillor’ hypocritically refuses to come down on either side. It is convenient to have an enemy, an outlet for majority frustrations that might otherwise be directed at her party. She blames any violence, inasmuch as she accepts there may have been a bit, on both sides, even though there is no evidence whatever of recent Rohingya violence against the Buddhist majority. Continuing a 1970s policy set by the dictator, General Ne Win to deny the Rohingya Burmese nationality, she has even tried to ban international diplomats from mentioning the name Rohingya in her presence.
Equally mystifying, is the refusal of neighbouring Bangladesh, a Muslim majority country, mainly fellow Sunni, to allow Rohingya refugees fleeing the persecution to settle in their country, or to intervene to save them. According to a report by Al Jazeera news (16 Jan, 2014), there are tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees in camps inside Bangladesh, where they are stuck; and perhaps as many as 200 thousand more undocumented and living rough in the jungle.
In 2012, after another pogrom by the Burmese army led to an influx of desperate refugees, Bangladesh banished the aid agencies that were helping them, complaining that they were only encouraging more to come.
Those who flee, often by boat, are sent back by border guards to certain brutality and even death. This rejection by fellow Muslims enjoined by the Prophet to show compassion and offer hospitality to strangers is totally haram – un-Islamic. But it seems the Bangladesh authorities in the interests of good neighbourliness are going along with a ban imposed by Myanmar on the Rohingyas leaving the country; while tolerating murderous violence within their own borders by Islamist ultras militating against any hint of apostasy.
The Rohingya people are stuck in limbo, trapped in a hopeless situation. They do not have the option of integration at any level in Burmese society. The West has more important things on its mind. The outlook appears bleak.
Postscriptum: The morning after this Post was put up, coincidentally a lead article on the current situation in Rakhine appeared in The Washington Post (31 Aug.). Violence has flared up again and many areas of the state are said to be on fire, although frankly many areas of the world are on fire thanks to persistent heatwave conditions; it’s only three weeks since two-thirds of Burmese states were reportedly subject to severe flooding.
Readers interested in the story can go to: http://www.s2.washingtonpost.com/camp-rw/?e=cGRpbmdyYW1zQGdtYWlsLmNvbQ%3D%3D&s=59a797affe1ff64249c706a9
“…it turns out only two of the attackers in 63 recorded incidents were bogus refugees.”
A fascinating piece of research commissioned by the BBC is reported today, 30 August.
Fascinating, as the German elections are coming up shortly, where the greatest threat to Angela Merkel’s fourth term as Chancellor comes from the right, and voters angered by her softline approach to Syrian refugees and other migrant populations, whom the country is frankly struggling to absorb.
And fascinating, as the low-functioning genius, President Trump insists on pursuing his politically expedient attacks on Muslims, including ‘enhanced security screening’, suspension of asylum claims and selective bans on travellers to the USA, claiming too that his daft border wall will protect America’s 320 million terrified people from the statistically almost non-existent threat of terrorism.
In an analysis of who, exactly, has been perpetrating Islamist terror attacks in Europe and the USA over the past three years, in which over 420 people have been killed and 1,800 injured, it turns out only two of the attackers in 63 recorded incidents were bogus refugees; only three others were refugees at all, or asylum-seekers. Seven were people awaiting deportation. One was an Egyptian tourist. Only two were women.
Sixty-four per cent were citizens of the countries they attacked, with others legally in the country; 74 per cent of those were previously known to police, and half of them had a criminal background.
Far from IS recruiting hordes of disaffected, radicalized juveniles, the average age of attackers is 27. It is the 26 per cent who have served time in prison who comprise the majority of Islamic converts fanatical enough to commit acts of violence.
The report claims: “Of the attacks that have hit the West since June 2014, fewer than one in 10 was carried out under direct orders from the leadership of IS.” Most of the attacks “Did not cause casualties, apart from the perpetrators.”
Report by ISPI, George Washington’s Program on Extremism and the International Centre for Counter-terrorism in The Hague. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-40000952
Granny W’s report, 30 Aug.
USA: Well folks, Houston is as Houston does. It’s all over the news: 51 inches of rain in four days. Deaths variously reported as 16 or 20 (45 – 01 Sept), but rescuers expect to find more. Authorities anticipate having to rehome 30 thousand people. Parts of the city are under 6-8 feet of water, making submerged cars a hazard for the boats. Levees are breaching, a chemical plant is threatening meltdown* and there’s still a threat from two dams that are full to the brim.
As the storm hangs out to sea, topping-up again, it’s expected to return tonight and head towards New Orleans and up into Louisiana, dumping another two feet of rain as it goes. ‘Hundreds of thousands’ without power. Bodies of four children, parents and grandparents recovered from drowned SUV. When will people stop trying to drive through floods? Idiots.
Death toll now 31 – more may be found. (Bing.images)
In the meantime, the towns of Beaumont and Port Arthur are still bearing the brunt, with 25 inches of rain falling overnight. Port Arthur is underwater and the Exxon oil refinery – the biggest in the USA – is shut down; as is the second biggest, nearby at Baytown, and several others. Fuel prices are rising nationwide as a result; reminding us that Houston is the energy capital of the USA. (Something about eggs and baskets? Ed.)
“Heavy rains will spread northeast into the mid-Mississippi Valley as Harvey works its way northeast over the next three days. The NWS Weather Prediction Center has placed much of northwest Louisiana along Harvey’s path in a high risk for excessive rainfall. Torrential rains are also possible on Wednesday eastward along the front that lies from southern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.” – wunderground.com, expecting 4 to 6 inches of rain per hour as Harvey trundles slowly inland.
Mr Trump promises the ‘best’ handling of a crisis, ever. What an idiot that man is.
(We had a flood here in 2012, only a foot of water mainly affecting one street on a floodplain, but it was six months before the people could move back in, you have to find enough tradesmen to replace all the plaster, the kitchens, the electrics, the furnishings – everywhere downstairs for health reasons, as floodwater is a contaminant. At least we have no alligators here.)
And I’m going to say it: images from Houston show so many morbidly obese people having to be evacuated. It’s not a great strategy for survival to let yourself get in that condition.
*Explosions were later reported at the Arkema peroxide plant. American news sources point to Texas’ lack of zoning regulations, allowing anyone to build a housing estate next to a potentially dangerous facility and vice versa. We also learn that in Texas, it’s ILLEGAL for local authorities to impose safety regulations on companies. Capitalism, anyone?
USA: Let’s not forget the eastern states: Tropical Storm PTC 10 is threatening “flooding issues, as 1 – 3” of rain is expected in coastal North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware through Wednesday.” While out in the Atlantic, powerful African Wave 93L (Tropical Storm Irma) is heading for the Caribbean, expected to pass the Antilles islands by the weekend. Meteorologists say it has enough spin and is picking up enough energy from above-averagely warm waters to become a hurricane.
USA: California sweltering again under extreme heat warnings. Temperature in many places over 110 deg. F, 43C. A report on wildfires in Oregon state alone says 300 thousand acres have been burned and the cost of fighting fires has reached $100 million. Maybe someone will tell the President and his team of climate fuckwits?
China: Hong Kong and Macau hit by Typhoon Pakhar, while they were still mopping-up after Typhoon Hato from last week; less damage reported but still one dead, several injured. Moving inland. Massive hailstorm hits Shenzhen, on the mainland. Flooding. Guizhou, massive landslide kills at least 15, 32 missing. 2,000 rescuers on the scene, little hope of survivors.
China: Guangxi province, severe flooding after Hongshui river bursts its banks. Unclear exactly where but footage shows city extensively flooded. Sichuan province experiences more flooding. Heavy rain triggers rural landslides in area devastated by 2008 earthquake, now flooding.
Japan: Tropical Storm Sanvu is lurking out to sea, a powerful 85 mph cyclone heading NNW, which might bring it over land*. I can’t get a prediction for where exactly; NASA thinks it may weaken again, but it looks pretty nasty and quite big, it’s got an eye already, a lot of rain potentially, and a huge swirl of cloud is forming around it, with another storm close by.
*No, Friday NASA finally noticed the eye and upgraded it to Typhoon, moving as I thought NE, not NNW – missing Japan – it’s gaining strength the further north it goes – it’s now somewhere up near the Kuril islands.
Mid-Atlantic: 13News reports (01 Sept), another monster, Tropical Storm Irma passed the Cape Verde islands Friday, strengthening within a record 12 hours to a Cat 3 hurricane moving slowly westwards. It’s expected to become a Cat 4 or 5 after the weekend when it reaches warmer waters, but the track isn’t clear – it’ll either enter the Gulf of Mexico over Cuba or drift northward and then spin ‘harmlessly’ out into the north Atlantic or hit the east coast of USA around the Carolinas next midweek. Taking bets. Another Sandy, possibly?
Hurricane Irma already packing quite a punch – and lots of rain!
And right behind Irma is another ‘African Wave’ depression, due over Cape Verde next week. Forecasters think the disturbance caused by Irma might prevent it developing into anything serious, but if it does, meet José. Incidentally, Weather Underground experts note that Irma is a month early, in terms of the Atlantic hurricane season, which doesn’t officially start until 05 October.
India: Cyclone brings massive rain and flooding to Mumbai (Bombay), Maharashtra. 13-in of rain (34 cm)/24 hrs on Thane City area. More than 40 dead as building collapses. Train services cancelled, Kem hospital flooded out. High tides preventing outflow from obsolete drains. Assam: waters slowly receding, more rain forecast. Death toll in Bihar floods rises to 518. BBC finally sends a reporter.
Greece: Zakynthos wildfires burning again. Severe thunderstorms over Spain, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia. Heavy hailstorm hits Asturias province, Spain. In Trujillo, roads turn to rivers of ice. Flash flooding in Toledo. Powerful storm strikes Deutschlandsberg, Austria.
Europe: I’ve just seen an extraordinary forecast map on the Weather Underground site: the whole of continental Europe, from west of the Pyrenees up to northern Germany on the Baltic and across to the Alps (but not NW France/Brittany), is coloured yellow – along with parts of Italy, Romania and the Czech Republic – meaning threat of ‘disruptive’ thunderstorms. Corsica, parts of Italy and the Balkans are on alert for extremely high temperatures.
UK: French heatwave pushes minor August record temperature (28.2C, 83F-ish) into southern England. Reporters dispatched to provide day-long coverage. Not in Boglington, cloudy most of the day and a feeble 18C! Bit of a disappointing summer here. (Must find out why?)
Uruguay: city of Canelones underwater after heavy rainfall. 880 evacuated.
Flash flooding makes life difficult after heavy storms in NW Mexico, following extreme heatwave – “Authorities warned the Baja California peninsula to prepare for high winds, heavy rain and a dangerous storm surge along a shore that includes the twin resort cities of Los Cabos.” Eight to 12 inches more rain forecast to come from Tropical Storm Lidia.
Sudan: homes destroyed after unusually heavy rains cause flooding across five provinces. Historic mosque at El Obeid badly damaged. Reports emerging of serious flooding last week destroying hundreds of homes and washing out refugee camps in Darfur.
Niger: “Heavy rain and flooding in Niamey, capital of Niger, have left at least 2 dead, 4 injured and over 200 homes destroyed. Heavy rain began to fall early on 26 August … Reports suggest around 100 mm of rain fell in the capital. Civil protection officials told residents to evacuate vulnerable areas.”
Somalia: Two-year drought deepens. Six million short of food and water, three million threatened immediately with famine. Children dying already as aid agencies struggle. Trump seeks to slash UN contributions.
“…Trump administration stated its intention to “reduce or end funding for international organisations whose missions do not substantially advance US foreign policy interests”. This includes slashing funding for the State Department and USAID, its foreign aid agency, and shifting money towards the military with a $54bn increase in defence spending.” – Al Jazeera, 17 March 2017.
Climate and Extreme Weather News #60/ wunderground.com/ 13Newsnow/ Floodlist/ NASA/ BBC News/ The Guardian.
“Someone in authority needs to investigate this!”
It’s weather, Jim, but not as we knew it.
The BogPo reported ten days ago on a curious phenomenon observed by many people along the coast of Uruguay and Brazil, around (but mainly north of) the Rio Plata at Montevideo. On 11 or 12 August, I couldn’t work out which, the sea was said to have retreated far beyond its usual tidal range, exposing hundreds of metres of sand. Fearing a tsunami, the people rushed to higher ground inland, however no tidal surge came and the sea quietly returned to normal a few hours later.
No-one seemed quite sure what had happened, but the official explanation appeared to be that a powerful cyclone had developed out in the Atlantic and created an abnormal tidal drag. It would have had to be an enormous storm with very low barometric pressure to have sucked so much of the sea from the coast, and it’s unlikely it would not have produced a corresponding storm surge at some stage. In any case no cyclone was reported on those days so far south.
Later on, a ‘rogue’ seismologist with controversial theories about the predictability of earthquakes, who blogs several times daily as ‘Dutchsinse’, reported that there had been quite a large and unexpected earthquake on the same day, a magnitude 4.9, in northern Brazil. Earthquakes are unusual in Brazil, and this one for some reason failed to appear on the official USGS (United States Geology Service) website. Meanwhile, over on the west coast there were numerous reported earthquakes and volcanic activity going on, and there it was reported that the sea did the opposite, producing unusually large waves.
MrMB3300, an amateur weather blogger, proposed a theory that it might have something to do with the South American Roll, a mythical phenomenon linked by some very odd people to the expectation that the Earth’s magnetic poles are about to ‘flip’, which they are known to have done every so many thousand years, causing South America to, essentially, break in half, with the northern end rolling over.
The ‘Roll’ is supposedly a product of the geological instability of the continental plate, and it was suggested that rather than the sea retreating, it might be the seabed that was rising. Unless it somehow fell again, indicating that the continent rocks as well as rolls, that wouldn’t explain why the sea came back – why the effect was not noticed, or why the phenomenon has also been reported in Mexico and elsewhere.
Naturally, the conspiracy theorists have gone into overdrive. Mentioned, was something called HAARP – High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program – an actual experimental project costing $250 million, between the military and several universities. It started in 1990, basically using ultra-low frequency radio waves to interfere with the ionosphere to see if it could be exploited for defense purposes, providing unhackable communications or offering opportunities for surveillance.
The aims of the project were couched in such vague terms (care to try? wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Frequency_Active_ Auroral_Research_Program) that it quickly got around that ‘They’ were trying to weaponize the weather. In 2013 the program was shut down, but an upgraded version of the British Aerospace-designed transmitter was restarted the following year, and the program is back up and running.
According to the HAARP team, it would be impossible to use the equipment in that way. But you do wonder from the description of the project, if they know what the hell they are doing, and what if any effect it might have on the weather.
Two huge waterspouts appeared off the Brazil coast. (Wikipedia)
On 24 August, it happened again.
The sea retreated, and this time two huge waterspouts were observed offshore. And, supposedly on the same day, tsunami-like waves appeared out of nowhere on the other side of the Atlantic, in South Africa, and came ashore in a beach resort, sending bathers fleeing. Although if you started a wave in Brazil, unless it was driven by a seismic shock it would not reach Africa for perhaps three days or more.
Now, the problem we have is that any convincing video evidence of these unexplained events has been edited together in conspiracy-freak-friendly packages complete with doom-laden music by several unofficial YouTube ‘clickbait’ channels promising sensational revelations, who seem all to be feeding from the same pool of images. It’s difficult to tell when each section was originated, or where. The South African footage certainly has been knocking around at least since March when freak waves were reported near Durban. In addition, many of these websites are giving different dates on which similar events have supposedly been reported in many other places.
So it’s impossible really to know if we’re being taken for a ride, that a hoax ‘meme’ was originally created, perhaps out of a single unusual but not improbable spring-tide event, that has caught on and is being echoed by more and more silly people; or if there is more than a kernel of truth in the story and some weird geological, oceanic or atmospheric phenomenon is really happening.
Someone in authority needs to investigate this!
Theories abound – the world is breaking apart, it’s swelling up, there’s a hole under the sea which is draining away, an invisible planet is on a collision-course, adding to the gravitational pull on the oceans, it’s The End…. plus of course, it was all caused by the Eclipse.
Certainly, a weather phenomenon like Hurricane Harvey dumping four feet of rain over Texas in four days (with more to come – and apocalyptic warnings of Houston’s abandoned chemical plants exploding) is not helping to maintain a sane and rational outlook on the problem; many people seem to believe Harvey is a weaponized weather assault on the US energy sector by an enemy power, most probably their own government.
Nor after 80 straight days is the ongoing earthquake swarm at the Yellowstone supervolcano helping, as it genuinely does seem to be recharging for an eruption; hopefully, a small one. Or there was that mysterious cloud of irritating gas that appeared off the Sussex, UK coast over the Bank Holiday. (A fog bank? No, shut up!)
Observations of the odd behaviour of both the northern and southern jetstreams, that have broken up, are criss-crossing the Equator and forming strange, curly shapes that appear to be producing a succession of fast-rotating, water-laden cyclones over both the Pacific and the Atlantic, gathering energy from the warming oceans before dumping vast amounts of rain on land, are not helping either.
It’s weather, Jim, but not as we knew it.
Fame at last
Congratulate us! the BogPo is now being Followed by Bare Nights, an agency in Brisbane, Australia specializing in rentable nudity of various kinds: strippers, strippagrams, stag and hen nights, topless waitresses and waiters…
After almost six years in business, I was wondering when we would finally go virile.