On December 4th, the First Tuesday Film, in conjunction with the Dallas Peace and Justice Center will be presenting the Frontline showing of “Myanmar’s Killing Fields.” Be aware this film is not appropriate for the young or sensitive, as it contains graphic violence.
What struck me most about this film is that it takes place in Myanmar (previously known as Burma) a predominately Buddhist country. Buddhism is known for its stance on acceptance and reaching a higher plane of consciousness. Regardless, in today’s society, religion becomes so wrapped up with politics it is impossible to distinguish between the two. When seeking political power, the moral compass that should shore up a religion is broken, and all kinds of evil can be justified. This theme has been repeated throughout history.
The Rohingya is the largest group of Muslims within the country and occupy the province of Rakhine. They have their own language, traditions, and state they have lived in the area for many generations, descended from Arab traders. The government has stated the Rohingya do not exist and maintains they are targeting Bengali terrorists in the area. The de facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has gone from a human rights advocate and Nobel Prize nominee to a tool of the political system. Where she once cared about the disenfranchised, she now denies anything wrong is taking place.
Until August of 2017, few people were aware of what was taking place deep in the heart of Rakhine. Rohingya Arsa militants attacked police and military bringing about a mass culling of the Rohingya villages. The video shown is disturbing, as are the stories from the survivors. Women and young girls were taken out and brutally raped. Men were executed. The babies and toddlers were tossed, alive, into fires as the buildings burned.
While watching this film was disturbing, it was also necessary for me. I realized that social justice is not simply about attending rallies or writing letters to Congress. The true warriors for peace are the brave souls who take videos of their personal experiences and tell their stories with the full understanding that they could be killed for what they are trying to accomplish. World peace is born from the labor pains of the oppressed.
(For more information on the Rohingya visit: https://www.dpjc.org/save-the-rohingya)