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World View: Meiktila, Burma Violence has Echoes of Kristallnacht

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 ablackened patch of ground where 20 Muslim boys last month were takenfrom a madrassa and hacked to death, their bodies soaked in petroland set alight. This was part of a much larger wild, frenzied attackby Buddhists on Muslims that killed dozens and reduced an entireestablished community of 12,000 Muslims, including homes, shops, andmosques, to ashes and rubble. According to a former army captain whowitnessed the events: 

I saw eight boys killed in front of me. I tried tostop 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 becausethey lack experience, perhaps because they did not know whatorders to give.

On the bank thousands of people were cheering. When someone waskilled, they cheered. And they were shouting “they killed our monkyesterday, we must kill them.” There were women, monks, youngpeople. I feel disgusted–and ashamed.

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

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

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

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

Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have takencomplete control of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionablydressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, whilerespectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the “fun.”

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

We Buddhist Burmese are too soft. We lack patrioticpride.

They–the Muslims–are good at business, they controltransport, construction. Now they are taking over our politicalparties. If this goes on, we will end up like Afghanistan orIndonesia…

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

Change just a few of the names, and this quote by Ashin Wirathu couldhave 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 abankruptcy. The result is that borrowers have no leverage and aresubject to all kinds of abuse by collection agencies, includingextremely high interest rates. Delinquency rates for student debthave been increasing. Outstanding student debt was $250 billion in2003, now about $1 trillion, and continuing to grow exponentially,creating a student loan credit bubble that could collapse and damagethe economy in the same way that the collapse of the real estatebubble 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 associatedlaunch components to the east coast in the last few days, puttingJapan, South Korea and Guam within possible target range. The missilecould be fired immediately, if desired. In addition, U.S. officialssay that intercepted communications seem to show that the NorthKoreans are planning a mobile ballistic missile launch in the comingdays 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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