Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


April 30, 2017

Over the last six years, from April 2011, I have maintained a blog about the Civil War in Burma and the atrocities perpetrated by the country's military dictatorship, including soldiers, police, and other paramilitary agents. I updated the blog almost every day, using reports from what grew to be dozens of different sources.


Recently, I have also begun posting the reports to my Facebook page. To reduce my work, I am now suspending the blog. For people who would like to know what is really happening in Burma, updates will continue at:


The blog, Burma Death Watch, formerly known as the Burma Conflict Situation Report, will be preserved as a historical artifact. I encourage everyone to click on its link and do a quick scroll through its contents. It really is stunning. The blog is the Internet mirror of what is now a 900 page word processing document. Its reports describe thousands and thousands of battles, all of which directly or indirectly were instigated by the Burma Army in its war of colonial aggression against the nation's ethnic nationality groups. It further chronicles an outrageous number of distinct crimes against humanity, more every day, throughout the entire country, including murders, rapes, arsons, assaults, detentions, torture, and armed robberies, and which forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee from their homes.

And this is just in the last six years, which is a small portion of the dictatorship's entire reign of terror that began not in 1962, when Ne Win seized control, but all the way back during World War II, when as a general in the Burma Independence Army he had his personal troops attack Karen villages while Aung San was traveling in the North.

Just how bad is Burma? There are many evil dictatorships around the world, and civil conflict situations. Where does it really stack up?

In recent years, the worst humanitarian crisis has been in Syria, where dictator Assad - flailing after he assumed the role when his father died - responded to popular dissent so brutally that an Islamist insurgency was established and the country literally fell apart. Some seven million people have been displaced, and over three million have fled to other countries.

The world's other major crises are Iraq, which like its neighbor is also battling the rise of ISIS, and North Korea, where the entire population endures periodic starvation. Also severe are Yemen, which is experiencing both tribal conflict and Islamist terrorism, and Afghanistan, which duplicates the latter with the Taleban.

The other significant conflicts are in eastern Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa, with the greatest perpetrator being the Sudanese dictator Omar al Bashir, and whose actions similarly led to displacement and famine for millions of people and a failed state. Following an armed rebellion, and the impact of African Union peacekeepers, the south of Sudan has now split away and become a new country. Unfortunately, the trauma continues because of power struggles between different ethnic groups and rebel factions. This instability has further spread to neighboring Chad and Central African Republic, which have suffered their own long-running crises. Finally, while there was also widespread war and displacement just to the south in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the situation there for the moment appears less intense.

This is a summary of the world's very worst places, and Burma fits right in. It may not be as bad as Syria, Iraq, or North Korea, but a case can certainly be made that it equals or even exceeds the others.

Why then would the West, meaning the United States and Europe, act as if everything is fine, and ignore the devastation? How can these powers not view Burma's military dictatorship as the equivalent of ISIS, al Qaeda and the Taleban? The country's top active general, Min Aung Hlaing, just visited Germany and Austria, and he was in Belgium last year. The United States Navy recently made a port of call in Rangoon. Israel is providing military assistance. Europe and Australia have even been training Burma's racist, killer police, and the latter just gave the police a boat that they will be able to use in the Rohingya genocide. What the hell is going on?

Perhaps the question should be rephrased. Why did Coca-Cola rush to return to Burma, along with many other major corporations (but not to Syria)?

This is it. The world is run by corporations, which governments do everything possible to please. The corporate executives don't care about crimes against humanity at all, and neither do their political sponsors. It is only about sales and profits. Syria is different merely because of the Islamist terrorist element. ISIS is horrible, of course, but in overall scale its crimes are not materially greater than what is happening in some of the other locations. But under modern Realpolitik, while Islamist terrorism is anathema (and well it should be), the equivalent crimes of other types of regimes are overlooked.

It is depressing how venal human society remains. Forget cooperation, and the possibility of achieving a better world. The only thing that matters is selfishness: personal, family, tribe, business, and national.

For an additional observation, please see: Social Suicide