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Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar: How Could This Happen?

  • Gerry van Klinken
Thursday 15 March 2018
Free to visit, drinks after
WHAT's NEW?! Spring Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Ethnic cleansing in Myanmar: How could this happen?

The cognitive dissonance shock of 2017 was the ethnic cleansing against Muslim Rohingya by Myanmar soldiers and militias. This is a nation that adheres overwhelmingly to the Buddhist religion of the “liberating insight,” that defies the military to elect as their First State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize-winner whom they respectfully call “The Lady.” That nation then engages in "textbook ethnic cleansing" (according to the United Nations). Despite a barrage of criticism from outside the country, within Myanmar the military is now more popular than ever.

The atrocity not only represents a moral puzzle, it raises serious questions about democracy and citizenship in Myanmar, indeed in the Global South. In this lecture we ask how this could happen, what it means for democracy in Myanmar today, and what, if any, difference we in Europe can make.

About Gerry van Klinken

Gerry van Klinken is senior researcher at the KITLV, and professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Amsterdam. Since teaching for 13 years in various Southeast Asian countries he has been writing mainly on 20th century Indonesian social and political history. In a previous life he was a physicist trained in geology and geophysics. 

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