US Should ‘Stop Genocide’ in Burma, Kachin Americans Say

Kachin Americans hold a peaceful protest rally calling for an end to the conflict in Kachin State outside the White House on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. (Photo: Lalit K Jha / The Irrawaddy)

Kachin Americans hold a peaceful protest rally calling for an end to the conflict in Kachin State outside the White House on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. (Photo: Lalit K Jha / The Irrawaddy)

WASHINGTON — Young Kbrang Aung drove about 20 hours with his Kachin friends to join demonstrations this weekend outside the White House and the State Department’s headquarters, more than 1,100 miles from his new home in Omaha, Nebraska.

But during a peaceful protest with scores of other Kachin Americans on Saturday, he was handcuffed and detained temporarily by police officers and US Secret Service officials who noticed a traditional sword hanging from his bag.

He and a friend, who was also detained for wearing similar attire, were released 10 minutes later when officials from the Kachin Alliance, which had organized the protest at the White House, explained that the sword was part of the ethnic group’s traditional dress and did not pose a security threat.

US President Barack Obama was inside the White House during the rally, as scores of protesters called on him to intervene to protect the alleged human rights abuses and killing of their people by the Burmese government in Kachin State.

“It’s time for President Obama to review his relationship with the Burmese government, which has been killing our people,” said Young Kbrang Aung, who came to the United States about nine months ago from a refugee camp in Malaysia.

The Burmese government army, which has been fighting a war against ethnic minority rebels in Kachin State, last month began launching air strikes near rebel headquarters, where tens of thousands of civilians are living in refugee camps.

Days ahead of the demonstration in Washington, the Kachin Alliance sent a letter to the US president seeking his intervention.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States was concerned about the war in Kachin State and urged all stakeholders, including the Burmese government, to engage in peace talks.

Myra Dahgaypaw, campaign coordinator for US Campaign for Burma, said Kachin refugees were in dire need of humanitarian aid, as the Burmese government has blocked international aid groups from accessing refugees in rebel-controlled territory.

“The US should urgently come forward to stop this genocide of the Kachin people,” said Gum San, a spokesman for the Kachin Alliance.

About 3,000 Kachin people live in the United States, according to unofficial estimates.

“We expect the Obama administration to value human rights,” Gum San said. “We expect them to be a voice for the prosecuted. We feel the US has the position and the moral authority to denounce these atrocities in northern Burma.

“The United States should not be blind to what is happening in Burma. We urge the US to re-enact sanctions.”

Sutnau Nau Ndayu, one of the founders of the Kachin Alliance, flew from Texas to Washington for the protests.

“The US has been silent about what’s happening in Kachin State,” he said. “We want the Obama administration to help us stop this killing and put pressure on the Burmese government.”


12 Responses to US Should ‘Stop Genocide’ in Burma, Kachin Americans Say

  1. [It’s time for President Obama to review his relationship with the Burmese government, which has been killing our people] strongly agree..Sein-Kyi reform is benefiting rich cronies and Daw ASSK but ethics are getting paradoxical outcome.

  2. A few hundreds of soldiers from both sides, givernement and KIA, might be killed in this conflict in addition to a few civilian casualties. Attacks and denfense- attacks and revenges who ever did it can not be acceptable when we are talking reconciliation and building the country in democratic way. All of us want peace not fighting among us. However, in this stage it is inappropriate using GENOCIDE.

    • Mr. Yawbaw kyaung,
      What is your own definition on the word “GENOCIDE”? How many more Kachins need to die to qualify your definition? Do you know how many Kachins had already lost their lives for their struggle? Apartheid regime has been assaulting the Kachins for decades, not a few years. It is already too much. You better pledge to Thein Sein to withdraw his troops from Kachinland.

      • The creature who is blind in the day light with the feather coloured like sh1t,
        Now you realised it too much of of suffering. Do you know when, and who is the fool started terrorists act against the government? Your eyes are already widen but can’t see a thing. Rubbish!

        • Kachin’s don’t regard Burmen as their ruler, but rather as intruders. Fighting the intruders is an honorable and laudable act. They should be proud of themselves.

    • Bama military thugs is genocide Kachin people and all other ethnics for bamanization. The fighting is started or initiated by bama military thugs for the reason of demanding border guard force, controlled by than shwe. Kachin is in the position of self-defense. If bama military thugs stop fighting , it means stop fighting. Do not twist the fact and do not mislead. People are not naive, like you.

      • Norman, you need to go back to school and learn history lesson.

        • Are you talking about whitewashed, segmented history you learn in burmese grade schools? Don’t those history texts make Ne Win out to be a superhero? Everyone knows what a sick bastard he was. Probably 10 years down the road burmese school children will learn that Thein Sein was the democratic savior of Burma and Min Aung Hlaing as the all-time peacemaker. And genocides in kachinland as campfire? And 2007 saffron revolution as monk pride parade?

  3. “It’s time for President Obama to review his relationship with the Burmese government, which has been killing our people] strongly agree..Sein-Kyi reform is benefiting rich cronies and Daw ASSK but ethics are getting paradoxical outcome.” Kml2013

    “It’s time for President Obama to review his relationship with the Burmese government, which has been killing our people] strongly agree..Sein-Kyi reform is benefiting rich cronies and Daw ASSK but ethics are getting paradoxical outcome.” Kml2013

    “It’s time for President Obama to review his relationship with the Burmese government, which has been killing our people] strongly agree..Sein-Kyi reform is benefiting rich cronies and Daw ASSK but ethics are getting paradoxical outcome.” Kml2013

    • Ohn, Your American friends are in same the boat even worst evil on earth. Now you demons of this country who created the problem from the start are asking help from the evil king to stop the conflict. They will never stop it as they want this region to be in disaster. Use your head and you should only ask your Kachin terrorists to stop using the innocents as human shield and lay down the weapons.

      • KIA wants kachinland to be free from Burman oppression, and they will sacrifice their lives to achieve that. They have the support of Kachin within and abroad.

  4. Obama administration do not want the influence of lock land such as Kachin state. Obama administration do not interested Kachin jade or timber. What Obama administration want is control Indian Ocean, Bay of Bangel and pacific ocean to lock China movement and economy growth. Remember the history of Korean war, US has the ability and power to push out North Korea and Chinese Commy into China, but why is that US stop in half way and let Korea split up 2 countries? The same way in Germany after WW2. Do you know how much South Korea depend on US for their country security? Do you know how much US can influence South Korea and West Germany before Germany was reunited? I have much simpathy for Kachin people, and I will speak openly about my opinion. You Kachin people are living in buffer zone. Whether you guys like it or not you people are victims of cold war now. It is more than Burma domestic politic and rights of your ethnic people. It is much more complex and difficult. Even if US want to help you people, it is right at the door step of Beijing. Who want global conflict while US is under so much debt. Before Soviet Union was broken up, western countries laugh at Sviet Union because financially Soviet was broke at that time. Now, Chinese are laughing at Americans for their reckless spending and wrong decision for making war with third world countries. I want to encourage Kachin people to study hard and play at global politic rather than asking for mercy from mercyless people such as Obama administration. Where are you guys stand? What is your interest? How will you achieve your political objective? Who should you have to ask to back your interests? I am damn sure that US is not your true friend as well as Chinese and Indian. How much influence you guys have over all Burmese people including other ethnic groups? People have consciences which can decide right from wrong. Pledge the people and make the case. Tell the suffering of your people case by case. Do not hate entire people such as Burman (Bamar) for who they are, but show them that their believe hurt your people way of life. Many ordinary Burman are on your side and they know that Military regime way of treating Ethnic people is wrong. Find Burman friend such as 88 generation students group who moral and ethic is higher than Aung San Suu Kyi now. Victims are not identified by their identity but they are one in suffering. Kachin, Karen, Shan, Chin Karenny, Wa, Pa-O, In-Tha, Bamar, there are no difference when they become victims. All of us are victims of tyranny. Trust me, US will never listen to you people, but if all of Burmese people demand to stop the unjust war in Kachin state, than so called reform Thein Sein government will have to listen or his government will have to detain political prisoners. Than we will see the reality of this government and quality of Burmese democracy. I will conclude my opinion with Dr.Martin Luther King Jr words of wisdom. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Injustice in Kachin land is a threat to any justice and peace in Burma if there is any justice. So lets see if Burmese people have enough common sense to stand up for each other to stop this war.

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