A notorious Buddhist hate group in Myanmar is being mocked after it used criticized former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on social media while using Morgan Freeman’s photo.
Annan is set to lead an advisory panel that seeks to find “lasting solutions” to the conflict in Rakhine state, where the Muslim ethnic minority group Rohingya allegedly has been suffering mass human rights abuses at the hands of extremist Buddhists.
Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar — a Buddhist-majority nation — are officially stateless. The government regards them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship. The situation grew uglier in 2012, when Ashin Wirathu launched an anti-Muslim genocidal campaign, which set off a wave of bloodshed, resulting in hundreds of deaths of Rohingya Muslims, leaving more than 140,000 homeless and forcing over 100,000 to flee.
In order to appease the Buddhist majority, Myanmar’s former President Thein Sein maintained criminal silence over the persecution of the Rohingya. This emboldened the anti-Muslim extremist monks to rebuff — and rebuke — several international proposals to resolve the conflict.
For instance, in January, Wirathu called Yanghee Lee, a special U.N. rapporteur to Myanmar, a “b****” when Lee came on a 10-day trip to the south Asian country to assess the country's human rights situation.
Similarly, when news of Annan’s impending visit broke, the Buddhist group called Ma Ba Tha, which is accused of inciting violence in Rakhine, condemned the former U.N. head’s involvement on their Facebook page.
In a scathing post, Ma Ba Tha called, Annan "a funny-looking and disrespectful person cannot talk about our own issues in the country." They also referred to the Ghana-born official a "kalar," which is a racial slur used in Myanmar against Muslims and Indians.
The other big problem with the post in question was that instead of using Annan’s photo, the group used Hollywood veteran actor Freeman’s image — crossed out with a red “X” with accompanying text that read: “We no need Coffee Annan he go away.”
This isn’t the first time Freeman was confused with another known personality. In December 2013, the veteran performer who played Nelson Mandela in "Invictus" was mistaken for the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary on a billboard in India.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters