With Evan Davis. A detailed look at what happened in one massacre in Myanmar. Plus the commons vote on Brexit, the world of cognitive bias and the rhino population.
Browse content similar to 13/11/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
The village of Tula Toli,
in Rakhine Province in Mynamar.
On August 30 this year,
a massacre occurred there.
We've pieced together what happened.
It's just one example
of the violence that has led
to a huge exodus of Rohingya
Muslims, out of Myanmar.
The people of Tula Toli had seen
neighbouring villages burn,
but thought they were safe.
It's been called a textbook case
of ethnic cleansing.
When you see the testimony,
you might think it is
rather more than that.
Also tonight, the Brexit
Secretary, David Davis,
promises a Commons vote
on the final deal.
So what happens if the
Government loses that vote?
We're talking crisis for the
Government and an exit with
unless Tory rebels can challenge
Theresa May in one key area.
It would be nice to think that
in the modern age ethnic cleansing
and religious massacres
no longer occur.
After all, the world has shrunk.
We all know what's
going on these days.
Despots have fewer secrets
than they used to.
They are surely shamed or scared
by international law from kicking
people out of their homes
or standing by while
they are murdered.
It would also be nice to think that
as democracy spreads, so does
civility and the rule of law.
And that's why events this year
in Myanmar have been such a shock.
Although the country has returned
to a degree of democracy,
since August, 615,000 people
of the Rohingya Muslim minority have
fled the country to Bangladesh.
They come with shocking stories
of the treatment meted out back home
in Myanmar's Rakhine province.
It's no wonder they have left.
The plight of the Rohingya
was highlighted by the Prime
Minister, Theresa May,
in her Mansion House speech tonight.
This is a major humanitarian crisis,
which looks like ethnic cleansing,
and it is something
for which the Burmese authorities
and especially the military must
take full responsibility.
Well, in a moment, we'll see
a deeply disturbing film
from Gabriel Gatehouse on some
of the testimony of the refugees,
on the fate of one
village in Rakhine.
But before we do, let's just
just get some background
to the problems there.
First the numbers:
Myanmar is a country
of 55 million people.
Although ethnically divided,
the Buddhist religion provides some
form of unifying identity
to the bulk of the population -
88% or so.
Muslims are a small minority.
In 2015, there were about a million
Rohingya Muslims, a mere 2%
of the Mynamar population.
But in Rakhine province itself -
or Arakan as it is also known -
if the Rohingya were all allowed
back, they'd probably
be the majority.
The history of ethnic tension
between Rakhine Buddhists
and Rohingya Muslims
goes back centuries,
not improved, by the way,
by British Colonial rule.
Scenes as appalling as any refugee
crisis I've ever witnessed.
In the post-war era,
with Myanmar independent,
there have been sporadic
outbreaks of trouble.
Rohingyas have often aspired
to secede from Myanmar,
but separation is an idea
that was greeted with virulent
hostility by the country's
numerous military rulers.
They stripped the Rohingya
of citizenship in 1982
making them stateless.
The latest trouble dates
back to August 25.
A Rohingya group -
call them militants or insurgents -
attacked police and army posts.
The response has been harsh,
creating the huge exodus
that's occurred this year.
We'll see Gabriel's film
in a moment, but he's with me now.
People will see a film that's
extremely important. Just give us a
little background, tell us about
this one village.
This massacre is a
massacre of such horrifying
proportions, such horrific brutality
that it merits investigation in its
own right. I've reported on Islamic
State in Syria and Iraq, but none of
that really comes close. This is by
far the most disturbing story I've
ever covered. We're talking about
mass murder, mass rape. The killing
of infants and of children. But it's
not an isolated case. This is the
kind of thing that has been going on
throughout northern Rakhine State
since the end of August and indeed
continues in some places to go on to
this day. We're talking about whole
villages being burned, razed, ethnic
cleansing in effect. This is
violence that is perpetrated against
a people who, in any case, have few
of the rights, basic rights that
human beings, normal human beings
would expect, besides being denied
citizenship, they're denied the
right to vote. They're denied decent
health care, decent education.
They're even denied the right to
travel freely inside their own
country. This is violence that's
perpetrated by a government that is
led by somebody who's been awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize. Now it's
difficult to report from inside
Myanmar, the Burmese government
doesn't allow independent access to
the affected areas. Certainly it
would be impossible to get
meaningful access to the village
we're talking about. So we travelled
to Bangladesh and collected
testimony in the camps there, where
the survivors of this massacre have
sought refuge. Just to warn you
again, our report contains extremely
disturbing images, very disturbing
testimony and graphic descriptions
of sexual violence.
These people have just
crossed the border.
They are in no-man's land.
They have been driven
from their homes in Myanmar,
now they are waiting for permission
to enter Bangladesh.
The Rohingya are a people that
neither country wants.
What happened in your village?
They just burned our houses.
These are some of the survivors,
they are hungry, they are sick,
and they are scared.
Across the river, there
is a deliberate campaign
of terror going on.
A campaign from
which no-one is safe.
We don't know how many
people have been killed,
but we do have some idea of how many
have been burnt and chased out
of their homes, these are just
the tiny fraction of the hundreds
and hundreds of thousands
of people, who have fled.
In our investigation,
we are going to focus
on the events of one day,
of one massacre, in one village.
Its name is Tula Toli.
Since August, more than 600,000
people have sought refuge
in the camps in Bangladesh.
People who brought little with them,
but the nightmarish memories
of their experiences at the hands
of the Burmese military.
We have come here, to find survivors
of the Tula Toli massacre.
We have spoken to six of them,
we have cross references
their testimony with video evidence.
Absolutely horrific pictures.
With maps of the local area,
as well as with interviews collected
by human rights organisations.
What emerges is a picture
of systematic violence.
Violence that has been described
as a text book example
of ethnic cleansing.
Using a satellite photograph
of the area, a Rohingya elder
showed me how the massacre unfolded.
The village of Tula Toli consists
of a number of settlements
surrounded on three sides
by the meandering flow of a river.
In previous days soldiers set
fire to other villages
on the opposite bank.
That Wednesday morning, the 30th
August, they crossed into Tula Toli.
There was panic.
Everyone mentions the river.
With the soldiers advancing
from the north-west,
and a police post to the south,
many of the villagers ran east,
they ended up on the river bank.
They were trapped.
And yourself were on the other
side of the river?
This woman showed us
where she and others swam
across the river at a point
downstream where it was
narrow enough to cross.
They used banana trees and plastic
canisters as liferafts.
Did you see this with your own eyes?
From a hill on the opposite bank,
they watched the horror unfold.
The horrific scenes she witnessed,
still give her nightmares.
She watched the bodies
of her neighbour's children wash
up on the river bank,
the scene was filmed
by another villager.
The children's names
were Rashida, five years old,
Kushida, three and Zahidia,
who was 11 months.
Anora Begum, her husband
and her four children all managed
to escape with their lives.
Mohammed was not so fortunate.
He and his youngest daughter
survived but three of her
sisters were killed,
and so was their mother.
The violence began five days before
the massacre at Tula Toli,
on the 25th August, when members
of a Rohingya militant group
attacked a number of police posts
inside Myanmar, killing 12.
In response, the Burmese military
began what they called
Boats filled with refugees have
been coming ever since.
It's two month since the terrible
incidents that we have been looking
at and these people are saying
it is still going on.
Some have accused the Burmese
Government of using the attacks
by the militants as a pretext
for a vicious and indiscrimate
crackdown against civilians.
Bangladeshi authorities monitor
what goes on on the other
side of the border.
And I have been told that
from the beginning of August,
so about three weeks before
the violence started,
they noticed an increase in military
activity on the Myanmar side.
Now, if that is true, that would
suggest an element of preparation
for the violence that followed.
And this is the suggestion
that we have heard corroborated
by some of the witnesses we have
spoken to as well.
We were told an an incident that
happened nearly two weeks before
the massacre at Tula Toli.
Also, before the attacks
by the militant group known
as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation
Which sparked the response
by the Burmese military.
Were they trying to recruitment
people in the village,
was there some truth to that?
Witnesses said the policemen
were called in by the village
administrator, a local
Buddhist Government official.
A few days later that same
official called a meeting.
Elders from both communities
were asked to sign
a kind of peace treaty.
Was that unusual to be asked to do
something like that?
The Rohingya of Tula Toli saw that
document as an explicit
guarantee of their safety.
It's because of this they stayed
in their homes even when they saw
other villages being burned.
Now they believe the administrator
double crossed them.
Almost everyone we spoke
to mentioned this village
administrator, the local
His name is Singh.
He would accuse the villagers
of supporting the militants some
said, others that he tried to force
them to register as foreigners.
Another village elder,
told me before the massacre
he and Mr Singh had been
in regular contact.
Do you have his phone
number, can you call him?
Human rights investigators
and journalists have been trying
to talk to this man for months.
None have managed to
contact him, until now.
Mr Hussein lost a son and three
grandchildren in the attack.
Now, over a crackly phone line
he accuses the village administrator
of complicity in the massacre.
At the end of the conversation,
Mr Hussein seems unconvinced.
Do you believe him?
The majority of Myanmar's Rohingya
Muslims have by now already fled.
Dispossessed and stateless,
the mud soaked camps
of Bangladesh are what they must,
for now, call home.
The Burmese Government
says its military operation
are a response to attacks
by militants from the
Arakan Rohingya Salvation
Army on 25th August.
But what about those reports
of troop movements weeks earlier?
Well, we are on our way now to meet
an officer in the Bangladeshi border
guard who might know more about this
and might be willing to talk to us.
How's it going.
The major said he wasn't authorised
to speak to the BBC on camera
but we did have a conversation off
camera and he said I could quote him
with the following.
They saw from around 5th August
a huge concentration,
his words of Myanmar military
in the border area.
his words, of Myanmar
military in the border area.
He said apart from burning
people's homes they extorted
valuables, took their money.
I asked him what the purpose
of all of this was, he said
they are trying to make the state
By late morning on the 30th August,
on the river bank at Tula Toli,
dozens of people had
already been murdered.
But it wasn't over yet.
Some villagers had escaped
by swimming across the river,
but many remained behind,
especially younger women
who had been separated
from the rest by the soldiers.
Those who survived endured an ordeal
of almost unimaginable horror.
Severely burned and wounded,
Mumtaz managed to crawl to safety
and eventually escape under
cover of darkness.
She came to Bangladesh
with her seven-year-old daughter.
Her daughter was beaten
by the soldiers, but survived,
the others did not.
One of her children, she said,
was burned to death.
At least one other survivor
of the Tula Toli massacre has
reported her young child was thrown
into a fire.
Others had infants
torn from their arms.
Mumtaz is only 30 years old.
The men who raped her, who killed
her children, were soldiers.
But she, like others,
told us that non-Rohingya civilians
took part in the attack that day
as well, demanding
money and valuables.
I wondered about the Buddhist
no-one we spoke to said
he personally took part
in the attack, and it seems unlikely
a local civilian official could have
stopped the powerful Burmese
military, but still it felt
like he had questions to answer.
Hello sir, it is the BBC here, just
to say we are recording this call,
can I ask you why did you not warn
the villagers that the army
was going to come in?
The people here say that you wanted
the Rohingya out of the village,
The Burmese Government doesn't
regard the Rohingya Muslims
as citizens of Myanmar.
Stark in the camps in Bangladesh
without official status it will be
hard for them to return home,
even if they felt
it was safe to do so.
The United Nations has called
this ethnic cleansing.
Others prefer the term genocide.
By whatever name you call it,
the massacre at Tula Toli
was a monstrous crime.
A crime that the Burmese Government
is not investigating.
Every evening on the border,
more people try to cross
to safety in Bangladesh,
new arrivals say the villages
are still being burned.
That they are still being chased
and terrorised from their homes.
If it continues like this
there won't be many
Rohingya left in Myanmar.
Gabriel Gatehouse reporting.
And making that film with him,
were producer, James Clayton,
and camerman, Jack Garland.
We did contact the Myanmar embassy
last week to get more
on their side of the story,
but we have not had a response.
And one post script,
to date the UK - that is DFID
using the aid budget -
has committed £47 million to help
ease the situation there.
On Brexit we had an apparent
concession to MPs from
the Government today.
Yes, they'll get a vote
on any Brexit deal.
It'll be in legislation,
enshrined in a Withdrawal Agreement
and Implementation Bill.
The debate now is whether that is
the so-called meaningful vote that
numerous MPs had sought or whether
it is a fake meaningful vote.
Our political editor,
Nick Watt, is with me.
Is that meaningful vote? It guess it
depen on what happened if they vote
I think I will give you a yes,
but answer, it is meaningful because
we are talking about legislation,
ledge laying could be amended and it
will contrast with the earlier vote
the Government's proposed which is
is a vote on a motion that would
take place on the deal before the
European Parliament gets its vote.
But this piece of legislation would
be like a treaty, there will be a
treaty with the EU, you can't really
amend treaty, because it has been
done. And also David Davis said this
evening if you vote this bill down,
you are voting for a no deal, and
crucially, the pro European Tories
would have lost the one bit of
leverage they would have, if the
Government succeeds in getting on to
the face of the bill, its own amend,
which is to name the date of Brexit.
So that is...
That happens unless
you change it
They would not be able
to say can we extend.
So it is vote
for the Deal or No Deal. Doesn't it
mean that the only way the rebels
can change the Government's mind is
to vote the Government down, is to
treat it as a confidence motion?
Will they treat it as a confidence
motion sand say if this fails the
Where we are now
that is the on the way they could do
it. At the moment the Tory rebels
haven't got the numbers, there are
five or six Labour people, MPs who
will vote with the Government, the
Government has a majority of ten. So
the Tory rebels have to be in double
figure, will they be there? I'm not
sure, that is just to amend the
legislation. Bringing down the
Government? They would have to go in
the division lobbies with Jeremy
Corbyn, win a vote of no confidence
and what? Give him two weeks to try
and form a government. I don't think
any Tory MP would do that.
if it is not impossible that we will
be often a take it or leave it deal
by the EU at the end of it all and
the Government will say we want the
leave it, it is a bad deal. Is there
any way MPs can say hang on a
minute, you can't say no, we would
like to say yes to that deal. Can
they kind of, can the EU reach over
the head of Government to give our
MPs a deal that the Government don't
Remember that the Government
controls the legislative time
Northern Ireland Assembly the House
of Commons, and this is a minority
Conservative administration but they
do have the support of the DUP. Ten
votes in the bag because the DUP do
not want to see Jeremy Corbyn as
Prime Minister, buzz you have right,
the EU is thinking of doing that,
because they are sensing weakness.
Often on programmes like this,
we talk about the world
as if it is a rational place.
We query policy decisions as though
people have thought about them
Often they have, but in
the last few decades,
we have more than ever come
to realise that human thought is far
from rational and is subject
to all sorts of human error.
We have cognitive biases
that sway our thinking,
just as Spock used to
tell us in Star Trek.
Apart from him, it was two Israeli
psychologists who worked
together in the '70s and '80s,
who did more than anyone
to promote our understanding
of our irrational side.
And their collaboration
makes a fascinating
story in its own right.
It's been told in a book called
The Undoing Project by the acclaimed
US writer Michael Lewis,
the man behind the Big Short and
Moneyball among other blockbusters.
I met up with him this morning,
to talk about the world today,
cognitive biases, and those two
Israeli psychologists who most
people have probably not heard of.
So I forgive people
who haven't heard of them,
because I hadn't heard of them.
Danny would be best known for having
one won the noble prize
in economics in 2002.
Despite not being an economist.
There were two psychologists,
who met in the late 60s,
in Jerusalem and though
they were seen by the people
round them as complete
opposite, total odd couple.
One was neurotic an depressed
an artistic and imaginative
and the other was this very up beat
logician, but who was kind
of everybody could see his genius,
they came together to do work
that was unlike any work that had
been done in psychology,
they explored scientifically how
the mind worked, and specifically,
they went looking for the errors
the mind make, and found kind
of systematic errors that the mind
makes and this had implications
for all kinds of fields,
you name the field I can
give you an implication,
but medicine, in law,
and their work spawned the field
of behavioural economics.
The partnership between them
was fantastically productive,
and as you say, sort
of revolutionised the way
we think about thinking,
And then they didn't quite hold it
together at the end.
They busted up like a pair of loves
who were upset with each other.
The relationship, the relationship
had exactly the ark of a romantic
affair, they met each other,
they fell in love with each
other's minds, they had
ten spectacular year,
the sex was the ideas,
the children were the result.
Give us an example of your favourite
cognitive error we make
You have a simple one to describe,
the way totally irrelevant
information can distort a decision,
they call it anchoring,
so they brought people into a room,
they gave, put them with a wheel
of fortune that had numbers 0
to 99 on it.
They had them spin the wheel
of fortune, and it would come up
on a number, they would ask them
after this what percentage
of the countries in the United
Nations are in from Africa.
And the people who had spun a high
number would guess a higher number
and the people who spun allow number
would guess a low number.
America's in a peculiar place
at the moment, isn't it?
Have you found this cognitive
bias framework useful
in thinking about Trump,
the election, the way
the voters have behaved?
The joy of this is that you can
filter almost anything through it,
you can certainly filter
the election through it.
The first thing their work would say
is wasn't it incredible,
after the election, how an event
that nobody saw coming,
all of a sudden, starts to get
explained in all kinds of ways that
suggests it was predictable.
Their point would be
it wasn't predictable.
There's a lot of
randomness in elections.
You hold the election
one day versus another
you get a different result.
Who shows up that day,
so on and so forth.
Where do you think it's going to go?
I still hold out hope for a comic
ending, rather than a tragic one.
He has no idea what he's doing.
He's surrounding himself largely,
often with people who have no
idea, who are ill suited
to the role they're playing.
He's trying to mobilise
ugly forces in society.
I don't think there's
enough of it to sustain.
If I had to bet what happens, I'd
bet he's out of office in a year.
I mean it does seem like American
checks and balances have stopped him
doing very much, right?
He hasn't actually,
look at what he's done,
he's basically tweeted a lot.
He's appointed some judges.
They're going to be
there for a long time.
He's made a lot of people unhappy.
He's stopped some refugees
from coming into the country.
He's made people very unsettled
about their health care.
What he's done is change
Quite likely what's going to happen
is it's going to get worse.
His presence in the office
is weakening his party.
The way he's reacting
to the Muller investigation he's
behaving exactly as a man
would on whom Russia had something.
I mean, the only way to explain
the tone of his behaviour is he's
afraid of what Russia might
do to him.
Michael Lewis, thank you very much.
How can we protect rhinos?
There are only about
28,000 in the wild,
and a new film invites us to wonder
whether hunting them,
or allowing trade in their horns,
can actually be good
for the species.
I am paying for this hunt, people
are employed because we are hunting.
If there is no value
and we can't hunt these animals,
they will be extinct.
of wildlife, what a vision
of nature that would be.
They like to talk
they are just brainwashing.
They enjoy killing.
The change is coming.
We're going to put it into this.
Surely we want our world to survive.
We have to keep this fight going.
This is my trophy, and there's not
any bureaucrat that can
take it away from me.
Now - that's the taster
of the film Trophy -
which is in cinemas and downloadable
later this week.
It looks at the money that can be
raised and the habitat protected
by allowing some commercial hunting.
Or more intriguingly,
the idea of farming rhino in order
to sell their ivory.
Clearly, this has not been
the traditional approach
to animal protection.
Well, joining me are John Hume,
who claims to be the world's biggest
private rhino breeder.
He features in the film,
and wants to sell ivory
that is humanely taken
from the animals.
Also with me is Tania McCrea-Steele
from the International Fund
for Animal Welfare.
Very good evening to you both. John,
tell us what you do - you've got how
many rhino on your ranch?
1,538 as of today.
You breed them?
breed rhinos and I believe that I
have the recipe to save them from
better, protecting better.
And the crucial bit that you want,
which is you basically take off
their horns. You don't kill them to
take off their horns.
No, you only
take off their horns, like you take
off your nails. Cutting it off on
the dead part that's not alive. So
we trim their horns and the day
after we've trimmed them, it's worth
so much less to the poacher.
the rhino hasn't got much horn left.
It's worth so much left for him to
kill and steal the horn. It's
necessary to make it less attractive
to the poacher, when he's still got
the same amount of risk, the same
amount of work but much less we
Crucial -- reward. Crucially
you want the money from selling the
horn to pay for the whole operation.
Exactly. Having removed some of the
horn, by the horn trimming
procedure, it is dangerous to store
it and expensive to store it. So why
don't we use the money from the horn
to save the lives of the rest of the
Let me put that question to
Tanya. We get the business model.
What is wrong with that as a
I understand that
John is a businessman and trading in
rhino horn, let's face it, is
profitable. That's what is
motivating all these criminals to
change their criminal syndicates and
focus on illegal trade in rhino
horn. What we'll see with the sale
going ahead is actually the demand
for rhino horn being stoked. We'll
see an increase in appetite for the
trade in rhino horn. What we really
need to do is we need to suppress
that demand -
You're legitimising a
Yeah, then it
makes it nigh on impossible for both
consumers who might buy into the
green washing, but for enforcers to
tell the difference between illegal
rhino horn and legal horn. If you're
buying a piece of rhino horn, find
me one customer that's going to DNA
The crucial issue is
whether a market in rhino horns
legitimises the illegal market in
No banning has ever
worked in the world. America learned
that lesson by trying to ban
alcohol. We have given the market to
the poachers. We've given them carte
blanche. They've got no competition.
All the business has gone to them.
Because we've kept it away from the
legal suppliers of rhino horn. My
rhinos will all be dead in ten years
if I don't finance keeping them
That's simply not true. Back
in the 80s we saw an ivory ban come
into effect. We saw ivory poaching
massively decrease. Then we saw a
case being made for putting legal
ivory back into circulation and what
we saw after that, which we
prophesised, which was there would
be a spike in poaching. That's
exactly what's happened. This has
played out before with elephants. We
need to make sure it doesn't happen
again with rhinos. We're reaching a
tipping point where we're getting
the political momentum to tackle
this problem. This is going to
really be a backward step because
we're on the verge of bidding the
network to break a network.
are elephant experts in Africa who
will completely disagree with that
and tell you a one-off sale is not
the way to go, not in ivory or rhino
horn. Obviously, I'm here to argue
for the life of my rhinos.
interesting thing is that some say
if you can let people make money out
a big mammal, the big mammals will
survive. If you make money by
killing big mammals they will be
extinct in a few generations.
lovely idea in an ideal world. But
this is the real world. This isn't
just about the rhinos, this is about
the lives of the people standing
between the rhinos and poachers to
protect them because they want
rhinos to be around for their
children. They don't want to see
them go the way of the dinosaurs.
What we're doing at the
international fund for animal
welfare is working with local
communities to make sure that they
can benefit from wildlife thriving
on their doorstep and working on
The film is
called Trophy, thank you both very
That's all we have time for.
I'm back tomorrow.
Till then, goodnight.