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Transcript of Burma Genocide
Eight Stages of Genocide
The Rohingya (Muslim minority group) are considered “foreigners” by the Burmese government, who believes they are illegal Bengali migrants.
Government isolates Muslims.
The 1982 Citizenship Act denies their citizenship; Bengali migrants can easily be deported.
The President denies the existence of the Rohingya, they were denied recognition in 2014 census.
The Rohingya are limited in their rights to marry, have children, work, obtain healthcare and education
Distinctions Between "Us" and "Them"
People always distinguish themselves from others, and often place themselves in groups. These groups want to be superior than other groups, because it is in human nature to want to better than others. Sometimes a personal grudge could fuel hatred. A single event caused by one person of a certain group could create hate towards the entire group. People make distinctions between themselves and others because they feel hatred or they feel that they are superior. Often, people see others as outsiders, and also attribute this to their distinction. Religion plays a big role in distinguishing people, and people also separate themselves because of it. These distinctions can lead to hatred from groups towards other groups who aren’t like themselves.
Circumstances That Allow Violence
Racism towards certain ethnic groups.
People want to fit in, so if everyone is committing hate acts then they will see it as okay and they will too.
Burma's government has previously been unjust. In 1988, student protests occurred because of their weakening economy. Over 1,000 protesters were shot and killed by the Burmese government
When there is too much power in the hands of a corrupt government, basic human rights are violated
Burmese (officially recognized as Myanmar) Genocide
How the Issues Arose
How Power is Decided
Frequently attacks ethnic minorities
Ethnic minority groups
Muslim minority in the Rakhine State
The Myanmar government oppresses many different ethnic minority groups within Myanmar such as:
Muslim ethnic minority in the Rakhine State
Viewed as illegal Bengali immigrants
Denied citizenship and many rights
Myanmar has an authoritarian government, under the structure of a social democracy
The government is under the authority of a military junta
(Junta: a military group controlling a government after taking control of it by force)
Head of state/government is the highest-ranking member of the junta
He is advised by council of military leaders
Immigration- Myanmar is a culturally and ethnically diverse nation due to centuries of immigration
The Burmese government was dominated by the military from 1962-1988
Economic crisis led to protests and demonstrations widely led by students
This in turn led to a lapse in the country
The military eventually took over government and initiated campaigns against ethnic minorities
Suspended the 1974 constitution
Sent to concentration camp; not given rights
Frequently evicted from homes and deported.
Forced labor, rape (as a means of forced pregnancy to make a better race, known as "Burmanization").
Burmanization: to “purify”, proper Burmese, make everyone the same.
Attempts to get rid of minorities, and denial of their existence.
What Factors Reduce Feelings of Personal Responsibility
The oppression is mainly driven by the military government
There have been laws passed against minorities and deportation
The government denies the Rohingya existence, and does not consider them citizens
The 1982 Citizenship Act denies them citizenship
Studies show that when people are in large groups they lose their self-awareness and self-restraint. Their mindset is that their actions are the fault of the group, and they are not responsible for them. They take on the identity of the group, therefore losing their own identity and feel anonymous. The responsibility is no longer on the individual which is known as deindividualization.
Different religious groups are persecuted.
The majority of minorities are Muslim.
Kachin and Chin Christians, along with the Shan and Karen minority, are all oppressed by the government.
These stages have not yet occurred, as genocide has not actually happened. By properly addressing the issues and taking preventive measures, genocide can be avoided.
"Burma Backgrounder." United to End Genocide . N.p.,
2015. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
"Junta." Merriam-Webster. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
"Myanmar." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. Ed.
Timothy L. Gall and Derek. M. Gleason. 13th ed. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Student Resources in Context. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
"Myanmar." Gale Encyclopedia of World History:
Governments. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Student Resources in Context. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
(While we realize that the Myanmar government wages attacks on many different minority groups, we have chosen in some cases to focus especially on the Rohingya Muslims, especially as they are considered one of the most oppressed peoples, from a global perspective)
The only real symbolization of the genocide is through bad propaganda against Muslims (and other ethnic minorities)
Not much hatred comes from the population, the majority of oppression is waged by the military government
The Rohingya are isolated from the other ethnic and religious groups
Intermarriage is forbidden as a means of keeping the race pure; except in the case of forced pregnancy, where some attempt to purify them by making them give birth to a better race
They're not considered to be Burmese
Many people comply with genocide because it is their job. Government employees are paid to do as they are told. So if they do not exterminate minorities, they will not get paid. In order to support their families, they have to kill people. If it is their job, they feel as if their responsibility has been reduced. The blame is on the people in charge, and not them.
When given authoritative roles, people become more assertive and aggressive. Since they are given the social role to kill people, they conform to what is expected of them. They believe that the actions that they take in that role are not their responsibility but the responsibility of the people who told them to do so.
How Organizations/Countries Are Reacting
United Nations- High-level UN officials and independent human rights groups continue to report evidence of human rights abuses, blocking of humanitarian aid, and other warnings of genocide
International Commission of Inquiry- is required to look into recent violence in the Rakhine state and central Myanmar, and to address other abuses in other parts of the country
Myanmar has close relations with both countries; it has received hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid from both of the countries
India and China
The Obama administration appointed Derek Mitchell as the US ambassador in Burma in 2012
Lifted travel bans on some of Burma’s senior leaders
Eased sanctions on American investments
The US does not have much direct involvement in violence
Widespread civilian deaths; there have been significant changes in demographic statistics, since the military government took control
The power continues to reside in the hands of the military government, but there has been some effort for political reform
Upcoming 2015 election presents some possibilities:
Either the minorities will have an opportunity to voice their opinions, and there can be serious reforms done
Or the already volatile situation coupled with elections could result in worsening social tensions and fuel further violence
Guess we'll have to wait and see...
Or we can act now!
"Burma Backgrounder." United to End Genocide. N.p., 2015. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
"Junta." Merriam-Webster. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
Myanmar." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. Ed. Timothy L. Gall and Derek
M. Gleason. 13th ed. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Student Resources in Context.
Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
Myanmar." Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments. Detroit: Gale, 2009.
Student Resources in Context. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
Examples of this can be seen in Myanmar, especially in the fact that Myanmar is a widely Buddhist country, and the minorities targeted by the government are often belonging to other religions, such as the Rohingya, a Muslim minority, and the Chin and Karen, who are Christian minorities