World View: Meiktila, Burma Violence has Echoes of Kristallnacht

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Meiktila, Burma violence has echoes of Kristallnacht
  • Student loan deliquencies may be reaching a tipping point
  • Intercepted communications suggest North Korea near missile launch

Meiktila, Burma violence has echoes of Kristallnacht

Buddhist Monk Ashin Wirathu (front) supports anti-Muslim violence
Buddhist Monk Ashin Wirathu (front) supports anti-Muslim violence

Just outside the town center of Meiktila, Burma (Myanmar), there's a blackened patch of ground where 20 Muslim boys last month were taken from a madrassa and hacked to death, their bodies soaked in petrol and set alight. This was part of a much larger wild, frenzied attack by Buddhists on Muslims that killed dozens and reduced an entire established community of 12,000 Muslims, including homes, shops, and mosques, to ashes and rubble. According to a former army captain who witnessed the events: 

I saw eight boys killed in front of me. I tried to stop the crowd, I told them to go home. But they threatened me, and the police pulled me away. 

The police did not do anything--I don't know why. Perhaps because they lack experience, perhaps because they did not know what orders to give.

On the bank thousands of people were cheering. When someone was killed, they cheered. And they were shouting "they killed our monk yesterday, we must kill them." There were women, monks, young people. I feel disgusted--and ashamed.

This description reminded me of descriptions of Kristallnacht that I've quoted in the past. According to Martin Gilbert, in his 2006 book Kristallnacht, Prelude to Destruction:

Jewish communities in Germany dated back a thousand years. For the fifty years before Hitler came to power, German Jews had integrated fully into German life and culture. They were proud Germans, bewildered to be singled out as an evil influence, and trusting that the excesses of Nazism must, in the normal evolution of things, moderate and decline.

Gilbert quotes the Daily Telegraph Berlin correspondent of the time as follows: 

NY Times, Nov 11, 1938
NY Times, Nov 11, 1938

Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete control of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the "fun."

Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu is a major anti-Muslim activist leader in Burma. He says the following:

We Buddhist Burmese are too soft. We lack patriotic pride.

They--the Muslims--are good at business, they control transport, construction. Now they are taking over our political parties. If this goes on, we will end up like Afghanistan or Indonesia...

When you leave a seed, from a tree, to grow in a pagoda, it seems so small at first. But you know you must cut it out, before it grows and destroys the building.

Change just a few of the names, and this quote by Ashin Wirathu could have come directly out of Adolf Hitler's mouth. BBC

Student loan deliquencies may be reaching a tipping point

Student loans are unique in that they can't be discharged in a bankruptcy. The result is that borrowers have no leverage and are subject to all kinds of abuse by collection agencies, including extremely high interest rates. Delinquency rates for student debt have been increasing. Outstanding student debt was $250 billion in 2003, now about $1 trillion, and continuing to grow exponentially, creating a student loan credit bubble that could collapse and damage the economy in the same way that the collapse of the real estate bubble damaged the economy a few years ago. Main Street and CBS News and Bloomberg

Intercepted communications suggest North Korea near missile launch

North Korea has moved a mobile medium range missile and associated launch components to the east coast in the last few days, putting Japan, South Korea and Guam within possible target range. The missile could be fired immediately, if desired. In addition, U.S. officials say that intercepted communications seem to show that the North Koreans are planning a mobile ballistic missile launch in the coming days or weeks. CNN

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Burma, Myanmar, Meiktila, Kristallnacht, Martin Gilbert, Ashin Wirathu, Adolf Hitler, student loans, North Korea, Guam, Japan, South Korea 

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