Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781783605279 Published August 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781783605286 Published August 2017 For sale in North and South America only

Myanmar's Enemy Within

Buddhist Violence and the Making of a Muslim 'Other'

Francis Wade

Myanmar's Enemy Within

Francis Wade

Distributed for Zed Books

256 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781783605279 Published August 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781783605286 Published August 2017 For sale in North and South America only

For decades Myanmar has been portrayed as a case of good citizen versus bad regime – men in jackboots maintaining a suffocating rule over a majority Buddhist population beholden to the ideals of non-violence and tolerance. But in recent years this narrative has been upended.

In June 2012, violence between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in western Myanmar, pointing to a growing divide between religious communities that before had received little attention from the outside world. Attacks on Muslims soon spread across the country, leaving hundreds dead, entire neighbourhoods turned to rubble, and tens of thousands of Muslims confined to internment camps. This violence, breaking out amid the passage to democracy, was spurred on by monks, pro-democracy activists, and even politicians.

In this gripping and deeply reported account, Francis Wade explores how the manipulation of identities by an anxious ruling elite has laid the foundations for mass violence, and how, in Myanmar’s case, some of the most respected and articulate voices for democracy have turned on the Muslim population at a time when the majority of citizens are beginning to experience freedoms unseen for half a century.

1 The first wave: the murder, the smoke and the ruins
2 Sons of whose soil? Britain and the birth of a fractured nation
3 The art of belonging: a peculiar transaction in Yangon
4 Us and them: making identities, manipulating divides
5 Ruling the unruly: social engineering and the village of prisoners
6 2012: season of violence
7 At first light the darkness fell: Myanmar’s democratic experiment falters: “We came down from the sky”: the Buddhist preachers of hate
9 Apartheid state: camps, ghettos and the new architecture of control
10 U Maung Soe: an outcast in disguise
11 In the old cinema hut: fear, hope and the heroes we forget
Review Quotes
Los Angeles Review of Books
“The roots of ethnic and religious conflict in Myanmar, especially in relation to anti-Muslim hatred, stretch back further than is often acknowledged. By training his analysis on relatable perspective via rich reporting, Wade seeks to trace the lineage of violence, for which some of Myanmar’s present-day leading lights and even venerated monks are culpable, in an investigation that’s at once illuminating and sobering.”
“Wade's book tells the personal stories of Muslim and Buddhist characters who have animated the tragic scenes of Myanmar's deadly morality play; the story of a transition from repressive authoritarian rule not to democracy, but to an awakening of deep-rooted, angry, racialized movements dedicated to ridding the country of those who do not belong.”
“Wade’s book is vital to understanding how things could go so disastrously wrong.”
Washington Monthly
“[An] insightful, well-researched new book. . . . Wade shows the role that nationalist Buddhist monks have played in the ongoing devastation of the Rohingya in Myanmar. He reveals the flaws that have always existed in Myanmar’s fragile democratization.”
Foreign Affairs
“This is a deeply insightful work on the dynamics of ethnic violence.”
Post Magazine
“For anyone wanting to understand the situation in Myanmar, and how international and domestic optimism for the new era got ground down so quickly, this will be an important addition to the bookshelf.”
International Affairs
“The strength of Myanmar’s enemy within lies in Wade’s attempt to understand and explain the complex ways in which discrimination has been perpetuated and entrenched, by looking at the human experience—on all sides—of this ongoing situation. . . . Excellent starting-points for those wanting to understand more about the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar.”
Tea Circle
“Dotted with anecdotal recollections, the book brilliantly captures how individual lives are shaped, reshaped, and irrevocably damaged due to a real or acquired membership within a certain group. . . . An important work informing debates in these troubled times.”
News Deeply
“Wade argues that a toxic combination of ethnic antagonisms rooted in colonial rule, the military’s xenophobic nation-building agenda and a powerful, radical Buddhist lobby have produced a deeply fissured society, one that allowed for the dehumanization of the Rohingya. Rather than a casualty of these conspiring forces, democracy has helped precipitate the crisis, Wade argues, exacerbating anxieties about who does and does not belong in Myanmar’s changing political order.”
Fergal Keane, journalist and author of Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima
“Wade has invested immense energy in pursuit of the truth about the tragedy of Myanmar and its Muslim population. There is no other writer on this topic with the same moral courage and intellectual insight. His work demands serious attention.”
John T. Sidel, London School of Economics, and author of Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia
“Elegantly written, empirically rich, and analytically nuanced, the book combines in-depth, on-the-ground reportage with a solid command of the scholarship. An excellent book.”
Paul Brass, author of The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India

“A fine, engrossing work, at the centre of which is that all too common enmity and conflict between people of different religious and ethnic adherences.”

Wendy Law-Yone, author of Golden Parasol: A Daughter's Memoir Of Burma
“This gripping investigation into the plight of Myanmar’s Muslim community reads like a forensic case history, uncovering the full extent of a nation’s festering wound. Lucid, compassionate, admirably researched and reasoned, here is scholarly reportage at its best.”
Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger: A History of the Present
“A book of impressive historical depth and intellectual acuity. Wade shatters many clichés about religious violence as he explores its tangled roots in Buddhist Myanmar.”
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