In Search of GroundTruth: Myanmar Times captures the horror of ethnic clashes


A Muslim woman collects pieces of metal from the rubble of Muslim quarter of Pa Rein village in Myauk Oo township, which was burned in recent violence between Buddhist Rakhines and Muslim Rohingyas on October 29, 2012 in Rakhine state, Myanmar.


Kaung Htet

Every week we will be on the lookout for the best examples of GroundTruth in the media. This week we turn to Burma.

In our new Special Report, Burma Road, we analyze China’s soft power in Burma as reforms that seem to be opening up a country long repressed by harsh military rule. And from far away, it’s easy to focus on the country’s successes. But photographs from the ground, like this October 29 slideshow in The Myanmar Times, make the recent sectarian clash in Burma’s Rakhine State impossible to ignore.

Violence broke out in Burma’s western state last week, and according to the Burmese government, more than 20,000 people have been displaced. Officials said that at least 67 people were killed in 95 wounded in the last week, according to an October 27 report in The Telegraph

Tensions between the Buddhist Rakhine majority and the Muslim Rohingya minority here are long-standing, and clashes first broke out in June after a group of Rohingya men were accused of raping and murdering a Rakhine woman. The violence had calmed for a few months but recently picked back up after a Buddhist trader was reportedly murdered after selling rice to Muslims, according to The Economist. An October 27 Human Rights Watch report called for the Burmese government to “take immediate steps to stop sectarian violence against the Rohingya Muslim population.” According to Al Jazeera, fleeing Rohingya have been denied entry to neighboring Bangladesh. 

More from GlobalPost: How China wields 'soft power' in the Golden Triangle

In PoliticsGroundTruth.

Tagged: Myanmar.