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Anti-Burmese sentiment, sometimes refers to Burmanophobia, is a sentiment against Myanmar (Burma), its people, overseas Burmese, or Burmese culture. It targets to the people from Myanmar and seeing the Burmese as enemy. Mostly, it targets on the Bamars majority, but there are also other minorities in Myanmar who support Naypyidaw.
There are many reasons that have led to anti-Burmese sentiment. The junta regime had enforced to massive ethnic killing against non-Bamars, which led to hostilities against Bamars. Historically, many Burmese Dynasties such as the Taungoo Dynasty and Konbaung Dynasty had invaded many Southeast Asian countries with the exception of Cambodia and Vietnam out of its influence; anti-Rohingya and Islamophobia movement in Myanmar, thus led to anti-Burmese campaigns across Southeast Asia and other parts in the world.
Notable anti-Burmese sentiment in some countries
Thailand is the most anti-Burmese country in Southeast Asia and the world, due to series of wars and invasions from both sides to each others. For the result, Thais see Myanmar and its people as a threat to safety of Thailand.
The fall of Ayutthaya
The fall of Ayutthaya is considered one of Thailand's greatest national calamities. A Siamese chronicler wrote: "The king of Hanthawaddy (Bayinnaung) waged war like a monarch but the king of Ava (Hsinbyushin) like a robber." In 1917, Siamese prince Damrong Rajanubhab published a highly nationalist history of the centuries long hostility between the two countries, Our Wars with the Burmese (Thai Rop Pharma), which had a major influence on the development of Thailand's view of its national history, as found in school text books and popular culture. In his view, not only were the Burmese a savage and aggressive people but Siam was defeated in war only when it was unprepared and divided against itself. Kings who rallied the people, such as Naresuan and Rama I, waged successful wars of national liberation against an imperialist enemy. Thus ancient battles between rival rulers suddenly became wars between nations.
More recent scholarship has cautioned against casting the history of the 16th and 18th centuries in a 20th-century conceptual framework. Historian Donald Seekins writes that "the 24 Thai–Burmese wars described by Damrong were wars between Monarchs rather than between nations", and that "many prominent Siamese of the era, including Naresuan's father, were willing to accept Burmese overlordship". Another historian Helen James writes that "these wars were primarily struggles for regional and dynastic supremacy and were neither national nor ethnic conflicts." After all, many Siamese levies participated in the attack on Ayutthaya. This view is echoed by modern Thai academics such as Nidhi Eoseewong and Sunait Chutintaranond. According to Sunait "The negative attitude toward the Burmese does not occur solely as a result of the past relationship. It is, rather, the outcome of political manoeuvers by the Thai nationalist governments, especially military regimes."
Nonetheless, the modern academic viewpoints have not replaced Damrong's viewpoints in Thai schoolbooks, or popular culture. This has fostered a feeling of enmity among the Thai people towards the Burmese, and has coloured the Thai-Burmese relations to the present day with real political ramifications. This enmity at least in the Thai political leadership manifested in the Thai "buffer zone" policy, which has provided shelter, at various times and has actively encouraged and "sponsored", the several ethnic resistance groups along the border.
World War II
Thailand, as an ally of Japan, invaded British Burma and occupied Shan state from Burma. This became a significant contribution, as Thais see the invasion as a "vengeance" for what Burmese had done. Although Thailand later gave up the region in exchange for being ally with the United States and United Kingdom later, the Thais also successfully fueled the Shan nationalism against Burma, which would have been a major factor for the later Internal conflict in Myanmar.
Thailand continued to support the Shan and Mon rebels against Myanmar, until they signed an economic deal at 1995. Nevertheless, Thailand remains as a shield protector for ethnic rebels fighting against the Tatmadaw and Myanmar overall.
Malaysia and Indonesia
The exodus of Rohingya people has contributed for anti-Burmese sentiment in two countries since they are majority Muslim countries. There are even ethnic killing against Burmese migrant workers in two countries. Both have called for an intervention against ethnic cleansing in Myanmar as well.
Laos and Vietnam
Some Laotians see Burmese people as thieves and drug-sellers due to the Golden Triangle. In Vietnam, despite Vietnam has shared no border contact with Myanmar, many Vietnamese dislike Burmese people for the drug activities and illegal crossing border through Laos and Vietnam.
Hostility against Myanmar has been recently growing in China due to a numerous factor in the relationship between two countries. In the history, Burma was seen as a tributary of China although Burma denied such that claims. Adding aside, after many series of invasions and war, especially the failed war against Burma at the Sino-Burmese War (1765–69), which Chinese lost over 70.000 troops, the hatreds against Burma has never slowed down.
Recently due to Tatmadaw's attack on Chinese people in Myanmar, notably the Kokang rebels and violation of air space, many Chinese have called for an invasion to revenge for the war which China lost before more than two centuries. China has kept a skeptical view on Myanmar, as many Chinese rebels in Northern Myanmar received aids, but China also supplies the Tatmadaw as well. The anti-Burmese supports also received many upvotes from Chinese netizens, as well as regular Chinese.
Many Chinese see Myanmar as a disgraceful country which once benefited from China but now trying to betray China, after the 2011 reforms.
India, traditionally, has better relations with Myanmar than most of other countries in Asia, however, after the British Raj conquered Burma, ending the Konbaung Dynasty, Indian troops were often accused for killing and ethnic cleansing against Burmese.
During the British Administration, Indians were used to suppress Burmese national independence as well as Burmese culture. This led to turbulent between India and Myanmar in later time. Following Ne Win's 1962 Burmese coup d'état and exodus of Indians from Burma, this led to some campaigns against Burma in India.
At 1988, following the 8888 Uprising and suppression by the regime, many Burmese ran to India and sought refuge in India. However, many Indians viewed Burmese refugees are immigrants and Burmese are requested to adopt Indian culture and even discrimination against Burmese among Indians.
Bangladesh and Pakistan
Similar to Malaysia and Indonesia, anti-Burmese sentiment in Bangladesh and Pakistan come from the exodus of Rohingya people, although there has been a lot of hostilities against Burmese migrant workers in there as well.
Generally, Australia does not have problem with Myanmar, however, due to brutal human rights records, Myanmar has been seen by Australians as a ruthless and inhuman country, led to anti-Burmese sentiment and killing in Australia.
- Anti-Thai sentiment
- Anti-Vietnamese sentiment
- Anti-Malay sentiment
- Anti-Filipino sentiment
- Anti-Khmer sentiment
- Hall, Chapter XI, p. 26
- Seekins, p. 441
- Min Zin, the Irrawaddy
- James, pp. 301–303
- Pamaree, pp. 5–8
- Myint-U, p. 299, p. 308
- Aung Lwin Oo, the Irrawaddy