We strongly condemn the magazine article titled “When Buddhists Monks Wield Kalashnikovs” by David Brenner in Foreign Policy Magazine published on July 2, 2014. We believe that the article is enormously misleading and biased while the author jumped his own conclusions without making any careful examinations of our true cause.
As the author demonized and accused the Arakan Army (AA) as a mere armed gang against Muslims, AA is not a safe haven for the extremists to do as they pleased. Nor do we intend to harm any innocent people or groups against humanity. We are highly disciplined with morals and strongly committed to freedom, justice, human rights and dignity. The Arakan Army was only established to strive for our right to self-determination and equality which no honest man shall lose in his/her life. More importantly, AA is not a religion based armed group which is only formed with Buddhists but people with other religious faiths are also allowed to join AA in order to share our cause. This alone proves our belief in religious diversity and our desire to create an open society where basic human rights are guaranteed. Hence, the demonization of the Arakan Army with his dreadful assertions shows the author’s academic immaturity and his deliberate attempts to diminish our cause.
We are surprised by the author’s comments on the relationship between the Arakan Army and Burmese government when he hastily remarked that Burmese government saw “AA as the potentially useful ally to consolidate one Burma”. In reality, far from allowing the Arakan Army to return to Rakhine State, Thein Sein’s government even refused to sit at the same table and discuss with us. Yet we are striving to integrate ourselves into the peace talks with the Burmese Government along with the other ethnic groups such as Kachin, Karan and Shan whereas the
result is still uncertain. It is because we believe in peace and nonviolent means to solve the problems where we have opportunity to do so. Hence, with its careless assertions and comments, we strongly condemn the author’s malicious accusations against us as his article can engender unwanted problems among our allies and denounce our struggle for self-determination.
To sum up, we believe that the consequences of the article will have detrimental impact upon our efforts to build a peaceful society by creating moral panic among us from which no one will benefit.
News and Information Department