Feb 8, 2018

Mass graves and ethnic grievances in Myanmar's Rakhine state

A temple in Sittwe, capital of the Rakhine state. Annie Gowen/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Myanmar's Rakhine state is the site of recently discovered mass graves of Rohingya Muslims, killed by government troops "with help from Buddhist neighbors," per the AP, but the region's Buddhists feels they are the oppressed party, a BBC report shows.

Why it matters: The slaughter and expulsion of Muslims from the Rakhine state appears "increasingly like a genocide," writes the AP, and now there are efforts underway to repatriate the Rohingya that fled to Bangladesh. The BBC found "real fear among the Rakhine that the Rohingyas, after their brutal expulsion, will be more militant, bent on vengeance."

The history

Rakhine Buddhists consider themselves the indigenous people of the region. Their territory was conquered by the Burmese king in the late 18th century, and later colonized by the British. In the 1800s, waves of Muslims migrated to Rakhine from Bengal.

"We feel it's very hard for Rakhine people, stuck between Islamisation and Burmanisation," a local politician from a nationalist party told the BBC. "We have no power. We are poor. We are just trying to develop our people, our state. It's very hard for us to protect our identity. Maybe 50 or 100 years later, Rakhine, a nation in this country, will disappear."
The clashes

After a surge of violence beginning around 2013, in which "the Muslim population came off much worse," the state is now segregated by the government, with Muslims frequently confined to squalid camps.

  • "The historic resentment the Rakhine feel towards the Burmese state makes the conflict in their state a complex, three-way battle," the BBC reports.
Rohingya children near a camp in Bangladesh. Photo: Firat Yurdakul/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The big question

The Rohingya are stateless, with Myanmar refusing to grant them citizenship, and the hundreds of thousands of refugees now in Bangladesh say they won't return without citizenship.

"I did not meet a single Rakhine in Mrauk U who accepted this. They are convinced that the Muslim population has been swollen by illegal immigration from Bangladesh, and by Muslims deliberately having large families. Nothing could shake that conviction."
— The BBC's Jonathan Head
Go deeper

Go deeper

Coronavirus crisis tests Trump’s love for cheap oil

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Trump is working to help an oil industry imploding as the coronavirus crisis chokes demand, but listen closely and you’ll hear his enduring love for cheap prices.

Why it matters: He’s like most Americans, who worry about energy only when it’s expensive or gone. As president, Trump has been slow and uneven in responding to the sector’s turmoil because of his inclination to cheer rock-bottom prices.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 1,277,962 — Total deaths: 69,527 — Total recoveries: 264,048Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 337,646 — Total deaths: 9,648 — Total recoveries: 17,582Map.
  3. Federal government latest: White House adviser Peter Navarro battled Dr. Anthony Fauci in the Situation Room over the use of hydroxychloroquine.
  4. Trump latest: The pandemic may delay a Supreme Court case on the president's tax returns, sparing him from having to release them before the 2020 election.
  5. 2020 latest: Joe Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  6. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to the hospital as a "precautionary step."
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

World coronavirus updates: Fewer deaths in Italy and Spain, U.K. toll jumps

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Health officials in Italy and Spain are seeing a glimmer of hope, as both countries reported a decline in deaths from the novel coronavirus Sunday. But the death toll continues to surge in the United Kingdom, which now has the world's fourth highest number of fatalities from COVID-19.

The big picture: The virus has killed more than 69,000 people and infected 1.25 million others globally as of early Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 131,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 15,000). About half the planet's population is now on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health