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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chp 227. The demonization of Mizoram

“Oh brother, why have you tarnished my name?”

North East India is a complexity that outsiders will struggle to understand, simply because most of us from this region itself don’t understand our own complexities.

It is on such occasions that we look on to experts and academia for their pedantic researches. Stereotypes are easy to manufacture when ignorance persists, especially if defamation spits out venom in the form of unprofessional biased Reports.

The recently published HRW (Human Rights Watch) report had done just that – demonized the peace-loving state of Mizoram and horrified people all over the world into believing Mizoram is as bad as Afghanistan or Uganda.

I edited the above map from the HRW site for easier understanding. The area marked in yellow is Burma, including the blue area which are the Chin states. The area in red is Mizoram, a part of India which shares 404 KM long border with Burma (40% of Mizoram’s entire border).

Mizos, Chins and many others in this region share the same ancestry but are divided by an International border and a few dialect differences.

These people in the Chin states of Burma face extreme torture under the evil Thatmadaw (Burmese Army) regime and frequently flee to Mizoram to escape persecution. Everybody knows what is happening in Burma but nobody is willing to do anything about it. The Chin cause is like the Tibetan cause – Lost. It becomes a dinner-table conversation topic, and remains just that.

Just like Biafra, or Rwanda, or North Korea, people exclaim… “oh shittt…” when they hear the news. And then they carry on with their lives. Sure, people like you and me may not have the power to change the world, but Super Powers can… oh wait, I forgot. There ain’t no oil in those places. Stupid me.

Recently the HRW filed a report on the Chin people, aptly termed “We are like forgotten people”.

We are like forgotten people – Part 5 - Life for Chin in Mizoram.

The content under section 5, called “Life for Chin in Mizoram” was terrifyingly disturbing. Keep reading this post to know what I’m talking about.

Meanwhile, I respectfully urge the HRW to take notice of this too. This is not one of those pompous “Open letter to somebody who’s not going to give a damn” articles. But I do need to address the people responsible for this report in a very direct and personal way.

Dear Amy Alexander, Sara Colm, Elaine Pearson and the rest of you who had dedicated their life to such a noteworthy cause as the HRW, I just wish to convey my utmost support and commendation for the admirable work that you’ve been doing in the name of humanity.

Having said that, I would also like to convey my disappointment on the quality of work rendered at the section “Life for Chin in Mizoram” in your article “We are like forgotten people”.

I wouldn’t exactly call it shoddy, but it definitely reeked of favoritism and lacked any mature signs of professionalism.

Believe me, my heart and sympathy go out to the Chin people. But you didn’t have to take Mizoram down just to exhibit and magnify their plight.

Your report: “Life for Chin in Mizoram” couldn’t have been more one-sided!

You’ve branded Mizoram and the Mizos as a devil-incarnate in your report, like the kind of villains Rambo would shoot down with no mercy if his latest movie was extended for another 10 minutes. Everything was negative about Mizoram, right from the very beginning to the afterthought. Believe me, that negativity will linger in anyone’s mind after reading it. In that page alone, Mizoram was mentioned 233 times.

233 times of mostly criticisms, vile dirty criticisms about Mizoram.

Everything was so biased, with no actual research done to hear the other side of the story. Well, let me be that voice for you, if you think I’m not worthy of an interview since I’m not one of those persecuted by the Junta.

Starting with the very first point on that page:
“Here [in India] I am like a prisoner. Even though India is the biggest democratic country, staying in India is like staying in prison: no freedom, no happiness, no money to take care of my family.”

-Chin refugee living in New Delhi, India [236]

First of all, we’re talking about a Chin refugee living in DELHI and the problem he faced with India as a country. So why was this issue placed right under “Life for Chin in MIZORAM” section as if to single out Mizoram or somehow imply that Mizos were responsible for the treatment he received in Delhi?

Secondly, let us put aside (for a moment) the discrimination he faced in Delhi. FYI, not only Mizos from Mizoram but the entire Northeastern community face such discriminations in mainland India especially in Delhi. If the refugee felt he was treated badly, he should know that even WE face that same treatment and many of us still feel like a stranger in our own country.


Regarding all those lines and paragraphs about how Chin people in Mizoram are discriminated when it comes to jobs and salaries, I wonder why Ms. Amy Alexander never MENTIONED in the report that the Mizos in Mizoram THEMSELVES are not able to find any work or jobs that pay enough, therefore many of us are forced to migrate to other parts of India looking for jobs.

That was a cheap shot, Ms. Amy, really cheap and sly.

It wouldn’t have hurt to mention in your report that the economy of Mizoram is too small and underdeveloped to maintain this large influx of Chin refugees in Mizoram, which by the way is more than 100,000. That’s roughly 10% the population of Mizoram.

10% of an entire population is not a miniscule amount, mind you.

Suppose we look at America, based on the data of “total number of refugees that enter the country every year” from NCELA and US Dept of Health and Human Serivces - Office of Refugee Resettlement, the total number of refugees who entered America between 1988 and 2008 (the same period of time when Chins came to Mizoram) is roughly 1,300,000 which is just around 0.5% of the Country’s population.

And Mizoram is not even comparable to America in terms of development. There must be at least more than 100,000 Americans whose personal asset value individually is more than the collective wealth of all the Mizos put together. Many people now feel that if this is the response Mizos are getting from the World community, then Chins are always free to move to neighboring states like Manipur, Nagaland, Assam, Tripura etc.

Do the maths, dear Ms. Amy. Mizoram – high unemployment among youth – lack of opportunity – lack of modern technology – lack of MNCs and other private sectors – saturated government services – no means of self development - restless youth everywhere with qualifications but no job openings… When we can’t even feed our own mouth, why do you crucify us for not being able to feed the Chin people?

Seriously, it is fine by me if you mention about this issue, as long as you also mention in the same sentence about our current situation. Our Chin brothers need all the help they can get from anyone who are ABLE to provide them. But by avoiding that fact, it looks like you’re just trying to win the sympathy of “overloaded philanthropists” who have no idea what or where Mizoram is.

This is completely hogwash, ma’am.


This is another quotation many of us fail to digest, and has caused a huge furor not just in the Zo online community but back home too.
The way [the Mizos] think is that killing a Chin person is like killing a dog. It is not that serious.

- One Chin woman.

All I can say is, Whaaaaat????

Everybody’s totally shocked at such a statement because this goes way beyond anyone’s most vivid imagination. How could any normal sane human-being say that?

Due to this, we had to moderate and delete many comments that poured in at our discussion forums. Comments like, “If that’s how they feel and how the World is going to look at us now, might as well…”

I don’t even want to continue typing such disgusting comments…

See the seed you’ve planted?

This report definitely alienated the Mizos further away from the Chins and we tried our best to control the damage by removing provocative comments that poured in regularly.

And with such reports highlighted in Reuters, BBC, FoxNews, AP (Associated Press) and many more, the world is now going to look at us in a completely different way.

Like what many Mizos and Mizo expatriates commented, sometimes people exaggerate a lot so that they can get a refugee status as quick as possible from developed countries and migrate there. No offence intended to all my Chin brothers who had migrated to other Countries – I know the treatments you’ve faced in Burma are genuine. But is it really this bad in Mizoram? Is this how you really feel we consider you all as? I need to know this, straight from your heart.

I would really LOVE to meet this Chin woman who made that statement. Sit down with her for a cup of tea. Listen to her story. If she is lying, ask her why politely. If she is telling the truth, ask her to take me to this Mizo who treated her like that and take appropriate actions against him.


And dear Ms. Amy, in your entire article you failed to mention one very IMPORTANT factor, probably the most important factor if I may say so. And that is the CRIME rate of the Chin refugees in Mizoram (mind you, I am not generalizing the entire Chin community elsewhere here).

You yourself mentioned that Mizos accepted the Chins during the first wave of migration in spite of India not being a part of either the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol.

We never complained about that influx or the many others that followed, after all, they are our brothers.

And then you started writing about how Mizos are now pushing these Chins back into Burma, like as if they are diseased or something. I admit there exists many tensions between the local population and the Chins. To deny that would be to blatantly lie in order to save one’s face. But I won’t resort to such blinded chauvinism. There is a lot of truth in your report, but the way you have reported it is completely wrong.

Yes, many Mizos aren’t exactly the best of friends with the Chins.

But in your long course of research and interviews etc, I am surprised you never took any effort to find out how this rift took place. Did you think the Mizos suddenly woke up one fine day and decided, “Hey I hate the Chins!” ???

Many crimes in Mizoram, especially burglary and drugs trafficking are committed by people from Burma. This is a fact. I am angry at my own Mizoram Government for not taking any effort to publicize this fact to the Human Rights Watch commission. People always have an unfortunate incident to narrate regarding the time they were robbed by their maid or servant from Burma. Watch the evening news about the police nabbing a thief who stole a bike or a pusher caught with drugs, and chances are, they are usually from Burma.

My family itself had been a victim on many occasions. Whenever a maidservant leaves for her home [Burma] for “vacation”, a lot of stuff from our house disappears, and she never returns. Once our maid even ran away from our house in the middle of the night taking along with her all our expensive household possessions that she could grab.

And at our farm in Neihbawih, Sihphir, two different sets of Chin caretakers ran away from our farm taking along with them our entire livestock (cows, pigs, hens etc). When the first set ran away, we rebuilt it from scratch suffering a HUGE loss. And then the same thing happened again in spite of my relatives telling my father not to hire people from Burma again.

Now our farm is completely ruined, but fortunately it is now utilized by my cousin who runs a de-addiction center [Bethesda Care Center] there, free of charge. Yes, at least those untoward incidents led to this noble venture, but the way it happened is not exactly right, don’t you also agree?

This is also the main topic of discussion regarding this issue at any Mizo discussion forum. One user called chenguaio from commented:
TO AMY ALEXANDER, incompetent self ambitious so called social worker :
my brothers and sisters come from burma, i take them in, WITH EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES.
BUT THEY SELL DRUGS TO MY KIDS, STEAL and RAPE my daughter. Madame AMY, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Believe me, Amy ma’am, this is the sentiments shared by many.

My mom is now skeptical about employing anybody from Burma, but my dad is still the same. He tries not to stereotype and has been called a fool many times whenever he pays for his principles. But I admire him for that and follow his footsteps. I abhor generalization of any kind, but I do not speak on behalf of the entire Mizoram population.

Hence with every reported crime that came in, Mizos grew further and further apart from our Chin brothers, such that all it required in the end was a single matchstick to ignite the fuse. And that was lit with the rape of a nine-year-old girl on July 17, 2003. The Mizos cried out, “Enough is enough!”.

That’s the “Quit Mizoram” movement you were talking about in your report.

Sure, many of us condemn the fact that a lot of innocent Chins had to pay for the crimes of a few, especially through mob-rule methods. But we need to look into the crux of this matter deeper.

Much as I did not support that movement, I don’t blame the Mizos. I don’t even blame the Chins who committed such crimes in Mizoram. Just like how Mizos have a reason for resorting to that, the Chins too committed such crimes because they were driven to desperation. Desperation that arises from the utterly pathetic socio-political and economic conditions back home in Burma.

Hence we need to point our fingers back at the military regime in Burma. The real bastards who are killing my brothers.

Maybe for once we can stop spreading the blame everywhere. What’s happening in Mizoram is just the ricochet caused by what’s happening in Burma. If we all concentrate our focus back to Burma alone, none of this will happen again. My brothers will be free in their own homeland, instead of being forgotten by the World.

Yours truly,
Brother of a Chin.


Carey Suante said...

@Well done! Its a total bullseye, Bro!

I hope the human rights group will now be more humane in their treatment of Mizoram, after all its the only state where they(Chin refugees) will be safe! Ironic as this may sound, its the truth.

Manipur (the only other option) would never entertain such large number of Zo (Chin) people because they are now "feeling" the pressure of the Zo reunification movement and feared the worst. The recent shooting between the ZRA and the Manipuri undergrounds in Chin State is a case in point.

And I can't think of any other place where Chin refugees will be safe other than with their brothers in Mizoram.

Anonymous said...

Well done Kima. I am also writing an email to them, and I will link your post to my email. I had been down with flu so I could complete it yet.

I was very outraged and saddened to read the report as this type of biased report will only lead to further tension.


Lalengzuala said...

Such a nice and unbiased article. I really admire this article and hope that it will tell something to someone.

The Chhamanator said...

I've been secretly hoping you would write something about this and you didn't disappoint.

It is sad to see our Chin brothers and sisters suffering at the hands of the military junta.

Our family have been victims of Chin crimes over the years and while i do believe that most of these actions are taken by naive individuals frustrated with life, I can't help noticing the complete lack of guilt on their faces. I'm sure this is a sentiment that will be shared by many Mizo families.

What I came to realize is that these Chin guests have committed so many crimes to their hosts that we the Mizos actually don't think it is all that strange anymore and I think the Government and NGOs should seriously do a study on the extent of harm the Mizos suffered at the hands of these refugees.

As far as employment goes, the main reason our Chin brethren do not get employment is because they are not really qualified to do anything. A simple example: ask any residential school and they would jump at the chance of hiring an educated Burmese; because they work hard and usually agree to stay as wardens, a job many Mizo teachers are reluctant to accept.

Like many minorites, there is a certain section among the Chin community who love playing the part of victim and the report is yet another proof of their growing influence

Philo said...

I doubt there will ever be an un-biased report. Your post feeds the much needed "other side" of the the report. My 9 year old niece was raped in 2003 and it bothers me that the human rights reportage treated it so glibly without problematizing it- only using it to question our own culpability in the demonization of folk from Burma. I met my niece just last month. She's seems recovered but I dare not pry into her scars.

Ironically, I will be attending the Chin Day celebrations today. I want to participate without strings attached and yet I think of the mud slammed on to us and it just doesn't seem too easy!

Apropos to your point, the sob-stories that get publicized in such reputed reports need to be verified rather than taken on face value. This is not to question their veracity or accuracy. Rather, they provide discourse on human configurations. Given the fact that the ultimate goal of an asylum-status in the West cannot be the answer to the Chin/Burma question, such reports need to be more comprehensive in their vision. Knee-jerk reactions to facilitate "refugees" can only be provisional. As long-term intervention, world attention and pressure must address Burma directly.

My railings aren't meant to justify or condemn. Rather, human problems are layered and one sided reports miss out on the layers to serve limited though immediate goals (read asylum in the west). Thanks again to your reading of the report and hope our side of the story does get heard too.

burgerstud2005 said...

They come,they sell drugs,rape us,they steal,create social problems..

of course,they do have human rights,but they should not forget about the duties and responsibilities towards state and society.The report of HRW is totally baseless and very unbecoming.

burgerstud2005 said...

I link hi HRW ah ka thawn...i phalna lo in.pawi i ti em lo ang chu.E mail ka thawn a.

PnB said...

Z says:
the most simplistic understanding is that the Chin are as foreigners, and should be deported if they have not entered the country through the proper channels of immigration or asylum set up by the is an international border, lucky without walls and machine guns.

..of course the Chin are angry, they are a displaced people- ostracized by their own government and seemingly getting a very cold shoulder from their Mizo "brethren" (Kim Kim, watch the masculine language in ur article, ur too manly for your own good). if their anger is misdirected and expressed with violence- is that so surprising. And i am in no way wishing to disrespect anyone who has had 1st hand experience of this violence. Lashing out pain and anger against an outsider happens on an individual and collective basis all the time, but doing this through the channels of human rights is sick! it is a complete bastardization of these discourses that are still considered to be "universal" and above communities and nations. If the discourses of human rights in the NE and Burma are subsumed by the interests of ruthless and very vocal groups with narrow agendas, the politics of the region could turn ugly. Perhaps not ugly as walls and machine guns, but a series of internecine antagonism, each group claiming this and that, stories of rape and beatings- where near resolution is imaginable in my opinion.

if the YMA in it's passions to protect mizo culture as it sees it on it own terms and is overzealous in this pursuit- that is a different matter , it is absolutely no cause to pit Mizos as actively anti-Chin.
i'm not a big fan of the YMA, and all the various organizations over crowding Mizo life in Mizoram, but the HRW demonization of Mizoram and the pitting of the YMA as the device of the prepetration of evil, is a complete misrepresentation of people who can become allies to the Chin, and i agree, a very CHEAP strategy.

The article on: argues nothing coherent to connect the heavy emotional rhetoric with any judicial-legal foundations for claims other than the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees- and that too in such loose language- "although many would likely qualify as refugees under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, India is not a party to either and the UNHCR has no operations in Mizoram." yes, the federal Indian govt is very hardcore and has proved to be so in the past, let's not forget it will bomb a lil state capital and take forever to apologize- if are to seek some resolution we have to go beyond invoking fading and nostalgic notions of tribal kinship that are somehow aprior to borders.

That's sentimental reflections.

People who are from the region, like us Mizo bloggers, really have to be sensitive. First of all we have to be really clear where we stand and not just follow the loudest voices, and get caught up in a polemic of bad examples, verbal violence and ethical ambivalence.

Pixie said...

Well written and thought out post...
And our knowledge and information about the problems faced in NW India will usually be minimal.
So, if such articles get published with misguided information, it will make things worse and the already existing prejudice and racism will increase.
Well done with the post... and yes, for people like me, who have very little or minimal knowledge about such things, your post is quite informative.

vana said...

Its such a pleasure to know that there are defenders of our Nation in every works of life. Job well done Kim. Btw i hate such biased comments.

mesjay said...

Great post. This kind of biased, mean-minded report is really disturbing. Have you got this post out in other websites, print media, whatever? Please do so, Sandman, pleeze.

We used to get the same kind of malicious stuff about the Brus. Some people are playing such dirty games in the name of reporting.

Did you get my ph. no. i mailed you? Pl mail me your new no. too. We got to meet some time.

illusionaire said...

@ Philo: Bro, you mean to say that 9 year old girl who was raped and that started this whole “Quit Mizoram” movement was your niece? My utmost condolences to her and your family. I really hope she has lived past her nightmares.

I know what you’re talking about. After this entire HRW report it may be difficult to talk to our Chin brothers the same way, but let us try not to generalize and many of our brothers do not feel this same way. The ones HRW happened to interview gave such statements and we need to find the reason why. And we need to question the HRW on why they never attempted to investigate the other side of the story too.

People who know the Mizos may not react much, but for those who have never heard of Mizos and Mizoram before, can you imagine what their opinion about us is going to be after reading the report??? That is what disturbs me the most. I really didn’t want to write this article as it trivializes the real plight of the Chin people, but circumstances have forced me into writing this as the World too need to know the other side of the story.

@P&B : Dear Z, hey for once you and I agree on something! :D I too am not a big fan of the YMA when it comes to forced evictions, and I was one of the most vociferous activists against the SRS which is now disbanded. Many Mizos too do not sponsor mob-rule ideology. But HRW stooped really low by using such instances to demonize our state further. The CYMA needs to stand strongly against such statement and not keep quiet. I’ve seen some of the statements made by CYMA leaders but they are in Mizo. What’s the point in that? We need to publicize such reports to the World community in English, so that all those who read the HRW report can also understand our situation.

@ burgerstud2005 and Shahnaz Kimi: Dear Pu Burger and Pi Kimi, thank you for writing to HRW and forwarding this link. As for me, I tried writing to HRW too but I couldn’t find the appropriate email addresses on their website for Amy Alexander, Sara Colm and Elaine Pearson. Even HRW (Asia) had no contact and I didn’t want to write to HRW (Geneva), HRW (New York) etc regarding this article. Anyway, I do hope they come up with a suitably reply to so many of our unanswered questions.

illusionaire said...

@ Carey Suante: Thanx bro. Regarding your statement “it’s the only state where Chins will be safe” this is so true. But I wonder why Amy never wrote about why Chins won’t go to the other Northeastern states like how they do in Mizoram. As relatives, we do have our moral responsibilities and obligations to help our brothers, but Amy is taking that for granted without mentioning any of the ethnic divide and divisions in North East India.

@ The Chhamanator: Exactly. I think the HRW needs to do a research on how many Mizo families have suffered at the hands of Chin housekeepers etc, after all, aren’t our rights violated too when somebody steals from us over and over again? I spoke to a police friend of mine in Aizawl yesterday regarding this issue and he said the fault lies with us Mizos because WE NEVER REPORT such crimes. We Mizos have this (bad?) habit of not reporting such crimes committed by our Chin domestic help and all we do is shrug it off after telling our friends about it. I think this is an intrinsic culture thingie. We hardly file even an FIR against anybody (err… although that FIR against was a leeetle bit different). We need to change this aspect about us if we don’t want such report to repeat again.

@ Mesjay: Called you twice today Pi Mesjay, I guess you must be busy. Yes I just got back my phone from the repair shop and my old number is now active again.

I’ll try to get this out somewhere else too, but I can’t think of anywhere. Most people here in India don’t even know about the Chin condition and none of them have publicized the HRW report (however biased it may be) in any of our National papers. So I really don’t think people will be interested in reading something they don’t know about that’s a result of a report they don’t know about.

illusionaire said...

@ Code Aries: Thanks for visiting. I too really hope some of the HRW people read this. After all, how will people notice us if we don’t make noise. So make some noise people! Write to HRW.

@ Pixie: :-) pssst psst… its NE India, not NW India. Lolz. I know, I know, it was just a small mistake from your part, I’m just teasing you. :-) Thanx for commenting, dear. I know, we definitely do not want such misguided info passing on to others who have never heard of us. Our Mizo community is a very small one and while we are struggling to make the World take notice of us (through means of Blogs and participation in various online activities), this is not the way we want others to know us as because it is not the truth.

@ Vana: Thanx for the comment bro. I just spoke to Em and she told me you’re a very close friend of hers there in PUC. Small world! :-) She’s in Delhi right now for her orientation. Be nice to her, she’s like my sis, and don’t ask her anything about me coz she knows me inside out from Bangalore days. Lolz.

faka said...

I really appreciate the way how you brought out the issue.

I have always been thinking of how to deal with all those accusations made against us by people who took refuge in our land for years. It's really not fair to sacrifice a nation's reputation just for the advantage of a few. And moreover, I strongly believe that if I stay in another country I must always try my best to be a good and gracious guest.

I hope the HRW would take heed of this post and the sentiments of the Mizo people arouse by the report. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled onto this post.

Thanks for writing so unemotionally - setting down the different perspectives so calmly.

I confess that I have very little knowledge of the issue.

All I do have are memories of some very pleasant time spent in Mizoram (largely in the company of the YMA people).

It is such a beautiful land - paradise as you say, no doubt there are people fighting over it. All I can do is wish that there is good sense and peace on the land which is so lovely.

Thank you for this post- glad I came upon it.

mang said...

kima, i ziak tha hle mai. Is there any way we could let this Ms. Amy read this blog or e-mail this content, otherwise the very whole point of this issue will be lost.

Anonymous said...

Kima, i ziak thra kher mai. Bru/Reang lampang han ziak leh teh. MZP view lo deuhvin...

I thil ziah hi a then ka copy don, Bru issue nen ka mix anga. ka boss chhiar ve atan. home secretary, GOI, nen dinner an ei duna. anin mizoram refugee problem a lo feed a. cuan ka boss vaipa hian a view a lo pholang ve khanglang a.


chhangte_ll said...

I ziak tha hle mai a. Mingo ho pawh hi a, eng ual anih bik loh hi. An vânglai khân duhtawkin khawvela hnamtin an suasam bâkah an ram an awp/chhuhsak a. Tuna Chin State pawh khi Mizoram nen khân lo thendarh lo se chuan hetiang thilte hi chhuak lo tawp tur hi ania. Africa khawmual ah lah an duhdan danin ramri an siama - tun thlengin an buai phah a.

Blind Dayze said...

Serious topic/discussion going out here and and great post.....was reading this last comment by Chhangte_II...and i just remembered this thing i'd read...relating to Africa...

"When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land."
--Bishop Desmond Tutu

Pixie said...

*Blush*... EEEKS!!! what a bad bad mistake to make!

Of course its NE India!!
typo dude, pls excuse!! :)

and yea, we need the right awareness so that at least when we tell people off for racism, we should have our facts right to defend our stance...

illusionaire said...

@ faka: I’m going to try submitting this post to most of the Indian discussion forums I regularly haunt, but I fear not many will be interested as nobody knows what’s going on at this part of the country and nobody really cares. Even the HRW report itself was never prominently published in any of our Indian print Media. What we need to do is target the World community because those are the people who the HRW report targeted. We need to use the same medium and I just need to figure out how. :-(

@ Shankari: Thank you for visiting. I’m sure glad you stumbled here by chance and I am genuinely grateful you had such a memorable time during your stay in Mizoram. I agree the place is too beautiful to be marred by such ugly incidents. It doesn’t go along with the picturesque landscape.

@ mang: Thanx for the comment mang. Like I said before in my earlier comments, I had no idea who to write to regarding this issue as none of the people involved had their email addresses on the website. Even the contact for HRW Asia chapter is not mentioned in the site :-(

So today I wrote a mail to Mr. Tom Porteous, the Director of London chapter directly with a link to my post and asked him to please please forward it to:

Amy Alexander, consultant for Human Rights Watch
Sara Colm, senior researcher in the Asia division of HRW
Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director
Dinah PoKempner, general counsel
Grace Choi, publications specialist
Jim Murphy, online editor
Veronica Matushaj & Anna Lopriore, multimedia specialists
Fitzroy Hepkins, production manager

The following people mentioned above are involved with this report.

I’ll pray to God that Mr. Porteous reads my post or at least forward my mail to the people mentioned above.

illusionaire said...

@ zualbonez: Please feel free to show this to your boss. I agree the Bru influx and Chin influx are two completely different incidents but nevertheless a part of the same problem. I really don’t mind if the Human Rights step in, but they MUST BE UNBIASED in all their investigations.

@ chhangte_II: Thanks for your comment Pu Chhangte_II. Tiang hi a lawm “white man’s burden” an tih chu. i sawi ang chiah khan tunlai khawvel a buaina tam ber chu Mingo hovin ram an lo then dan a dikloh avangin a ni deuh tlangpui. Rwanda a genocide lian ber Hutu leh Tutsi in tih buai te pawh kha Mingo hovin an segregate vang lek a lawm. A pawi tak tak a ni.

@ Blind Dayze: Lolz, That is so true! Great quotation there :-)

@ Pixie: lolz Pixie! Like I said before, I know it was a silly mistake so there’s no need to apologize. But yeah, taking this whole “unknown NE section of India” into the picture and you being a person not from NE, it does sound a little bit bad. Hahaha but, hey like I said before, it’s a silly mistake and I actually find it cute, especially your EEEKS! Lolz

mang said...

Kima,i hope this mail id is true of Amy

got it from this site

in case it helps

mang said...

and here's more, a pic of Ms. Amy Alexander, the link is

illusionaire said...

Thank you so much, mang!!!!

I'll write to her directly later in the evening today. Thank you once again for digging this detail out.

Zaia said...


Jerusha said...

***muah muah*** My hero! :PP

Right now, I'm just perplexed! How could something as big as the HRW hire someone as incompetent as this Amy whoever! Every thing in that report shows how unfit she and/or whoever is involved in putting that so-called report together. I can see you're being nice and you refuse to call it shoddy. But I'll do it for you - it IS below shoddy. It is a tawdry piece of work and that woman should be banned from writing any sort of report again ever.

illusionaire said... : failure notice.

Mail sent to failed

It says, "This user doesn't have a account"


illusionaire said...

@ Jeru: Hey, you're back! :) Hope you had a great trip. It must be shocking for you to come back and read all this. I just wrote to Ms. Amy Alexander and I received a failure notice. And still no response from Mr. Tom porteous, not that I am expecting one. I just wish it was more easy to contact such people... all I wanna do is reason with them... :-(

Jerusha said...

It was! I logged in to check my idle world of Mizoram news and communities, and seeing this just made my blood boil. I also saw the comments on misual, and I find it annoying to see more than 80% of the comments not relating to the issue at hand - as usual. Anyway, I fumed and I think a lot of us just fume and get steamed up and then cool down. That was why I called you hero - to see somebody actually doing something and making a noise about it :)

mang said...

Kima,oops, should have tested it myself first. sorry.
just plain stupid of me to think that the particular mail id will work. She has written so much against the military junta in Myanmar, so finding here correct mail-id will be a tough one ( will have to use the services of our very own Chemtarawta..).
Did find one on, amy alexander from Ontario,Canada, just a message contact, doubt whether reads it.

illusionaire said...

@ Jerusha: :-) Well believe me, writing out such a post left a bad taste in my mouth but I had to do it. I poured out a lot of my feelings while doing it too. Whether they acknowledge to my post or not, I just want to let whoever comes across this post know the other side of the story too. Frustrated, I am.

@ Mang: Still no sign of Ms. Amy Alexander :-( Anyway, I do hope she comes across our frustration and get to know how serious her articles have affected us. On a far second thought, isn't the way she defamed and slandered to the world about us, a violation of our human rights too? Just wondering...

Anonymous said...

Practically rethinking the relation between the Mizo and the Chin is necessary now. I blame to those Chins who have committed crimes in Mizoram instead of co-existing peacefully. I agree that those who have committed crimes, such as raping 9-year old girl, should be sentenced in accord with the law. On the other hand, there is one thing i would like to point out for the Mizo. Why "Quick Mizoram" movement in stead of punishing and sentencing only the molester? In every nation, there is a crime.Pointing fingers to the whole Chin because of that tragedy is not unacceptable. Doesn't that highlight the discrimination toward the Chin?

The Chin needs your sympathy and your understanding. Rethinking genuinely and rebuilding the relationship between the Chin and Mizo is now necessary.

hruaia said...

I post tirhah khan ka chhiar a, Tlai khawhnuah ka rawn comment ta chauh a, ala tlai emlovang chu maw? Hmanniah zoin yahoo group-ah ka post ve a, titi pawh a titam fu a, kan la sawiho ta reng mai...!

hetiang a inrel reng lo hian hruaitu levelah te in be thin ila, a zia deuh tur a ni. A pawi thin a ni. Rilru inhliam zawngin kan kal zel hi sim a hun khawp mai. Dinhmun chhezawka awm ten tha zawkte culture mila nun te zir kan tum bawk si lo...!! kan inkar hi chu engemaw chenah ala complicate zel rihin ka ring.

gud post..!

luliana said...

Nice read bro...

I hope the message reaches the right people..

Lalrinchhana said...

Well researched, very well written ! Just what an inexperienced, prejudiced, overhyped-so called human rights watcher needs ! 5 star to you.

Sam said...

I read HRW report in horror! Let us not blame Amy Alexander for this report. It is our own brothers who did all these interviews for them, if you see the maps and charts appeared in the report, you will have some idea who could be behind such one-sided report. Those guys must be brought to light. Amy simply wrote down what was feed to her by the coteries around her.

Let us get the basics right. In a democratic set up like Mizoram (India), such one-sided reports are TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE... Now, those Chin guys, our brothers who are hobnobbing around Amy will surely feel the heat.... how insensitive they are to justify their cause. If it is not for Mizoram, many of them would have died at the hands of the junta govt in Yangon/Nay Pyi Daw....

Lucy said...

Hey..I read this post twice already and I'm glad you wrote it.

I remember as I child, that the Chins were never treated badly. Most of them had to do manual labor because majority of the Chins I knew lacked proper education and weren't fluent in Mizo, which is also the reason they preferred their own worship services. A couple of Chins worked for my family and we paid them salaries and they lived and ate with us free of cost and we took care of them when they were sick. Like you, some of them stole from us too. When they die, YMA took care of the funerals like they would do any Mizo. There were a bunch of Chin trader who used to stay in my house for months until they sold all their merchandises and my mother would wake up at 3am to prepare their tiffins.
We weren't exactly the monster they made us out to be. It's unfair.

illusionaire said...

@ Anonymous: I asked a friend of mine why these Chins who commit crimes are not jailed, instead of accumulating all their crimes and then blaming the entire community. He said something about Burmese Nationals not eligible to be jailed as they are foreign nationals, which I think is a load of BS because I believe there are a lot of foreign nationals in our Indian Jails.

Like I mentioned before in the comment section, one fault that we Mizos have is the habit of not reporting such crimes to the authorities. Instead we grumble and complain about it to our friends and neighbors, which eventually accumulate and Chins suffer the back-lash in the end. We definitely need a good legal system to control the crime rates of the Chins so as to avoid such incidents again in the future.

As I mentioned in my article, that incident was indeed unfortunate. But can you honestly say the tone of the report did justice to that incident?

@ Hruaia: Tlai love hotupa. Rawn comment bawrh bawrh rawh. Tuna ka tuiloh em emna pakhat chu kan Politicians leh YMA leaders te hian hemi chung chang hi engvakmah tih an tumlo chu a ang ber mai. Report ho te, “Ti hian lo tih ching tawh lo se” tih an pe chhuak a, an duh tawk der in a lang der. Heihi a na ka tia, YMA a ka rinna pawh a tla hniam sawt. Kan Govt te hian official takin report han pe ve se, keini bloggers ho engmah nilo ho hian kan lo sawi ve tur pawh a nilo, kan Ram hming a ti chhe hle avangin. Official taka beih let tur a ni he report hi.

@ Luliana: Thanx bro. I hope they read it too. Have been hoping since the first day I wrote this out, but seems it has no effect till now… :-(

illusionaire said...

@ Lalrinchhana: Thanx a lot. I hope this post served some purpose at least, or even if it didn’t I hope HRW won’t make such a mistake again in the future.

@ Sam: Why I blame Amy is that it is her responsibility to report the truth. I am not telling her to verify each and every single lies that were fed to her. All I want her to do is to speak to the Mizo people too, and ask whether this is true. In a world where a man calls another man “brother brother brother” and yet backstab him while he is not looking, it is only fair that Amy take some effort to see how and why this happened. In that entire report, not even once did she mention that the Mizos deny it too. Hence by doing that, its like she’s double-stabbing us. First by reporting such lies, and second by not giving us a chance to say anything about it, hence making it look like it is true to the rest of the world. How unprofessional is that! Well, Amy ma’am, believe me, WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE SILENT ON THIS.

@ Lucy: It’s the same story everywhere, Lucy. We all face similar issues and are all equally shocked with Amy’s biased report. I wonder why she never gave us a chance too so that our voices can also be heard… so unfair… so bloody unfair.

Evangeline said...

I just wanted to say i was shocked on reading this post and even more shocked when i read the original report. I know a lot have already been said on the unfairness of it all so i won't say more, just wanted to ask what is the latest update on this, have any of the mails reached the HRW if not Amy??

illusionaire said...

No Evangeline, none of us have heard from the HRW so far.

Anyway here are some good news on the net today:

"We are grateful to the kindness and hospitality being shown to us by our Mizo cousins in India’s Mizoram. We strongly condemn such baseless information provided to the global human rights group that tarnished the image of the Mizos. We will find out who had disseminated such wrong information," Cheery Zahau, co-ordinator of Women League of Chinland said here today.

Rozathang, president of Zo Human Rights Global Network, also said, "We are extremely sorry for what has been mentioned in the HRW’s website. We will hold the responsibility while at the same time we apologise to the Mizo people."

- Click on the above link to read more.

John said...

He thil ah ka ngaih ve dan hi chuan tumah hi han in dem ngawt hi a harsa deuh a ni. Amaherawh chu Burma unaute chungah kan thil tih dan hian kan unau te rirun a tina ngai ang. Ni e, Kan ti sualna teh chiam hran lo amaherawh kan cheh dan hi a tha hlawl lo a ni. Kan hriat theuh ang in harsatna a vang in Burma lam a tang a lo kal ten thil sual te an rawn chawluh fo va kan mit chu a mit mim ngai mai. Mi pakhat sualna a vang a midang chunga kan tuan hi chu a ti chi lo khawp hian ka hre thin. A mah erawh chu burma ramah kan unau te hian thiam han channa bik vak tur hi chu an nei chuang lo unau te pawh ni mahse a chhan chu thil sual tih leh man an awm a pian hian burma lam a tanga lo kal an ni fo. A reng reng thua burma mi lo pawh misual te chu veng chung, khaw, leh Mizoram atang hnawh chuah pawh an awm hian tawh kha mizoram mi ngei ngei pawh.
A mah erawh chu international boundary in a min then a vang a lo in hmuhsit and midang deih anga lo ngaih ve hmiah hi zawng thil zahthlak leh thil tih chi lo tak a ni.
sulumits retsambew

Geneza Pharmaceuticals said...

These researches always suffer from lack of life