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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2585

“The most Persecuted People of the World,” is their choosing or trust upon them?

By Kanbawza

It is now universally accepted that the Rohingyas are the most persecuted people of the world and that former General Secretary and Peace Nobel laureate Kofi Annan has been requested by fellow Burmese Nobel laureate cum Chancellor of the Union of Burma to head the commission composed of well-respected six Burmese and three foreigners.

This is an authentic proof that the current NLD administration is endeavoring to find a sustainable solution on the complicated issues in Arakan state of Burma and this Rohingya problem has become an international issue with a lot of sympathy for the Rohingya people among the world community both from Muslims and non-Muslims world. It is also a golden chance for the involvement of the militant Islamic jihadists. But how did an average Burmese feel?

With due respect to our good American friends may I take the liberty of giving this example.
“Now that the final debate is over and say supposing in the Nov. elections Donald Trump (Ne Win of America) became the President and because of his limit intellectual and rashness there was a war US vs. China, and Russia in which U S is beaten and then Alaska’s Sarah Palin suddenly declared that from now Alaska will not be part of the US but would join with Russia.” What would an average American feel? And that is exactly what an average Burmese feel about Rohingyas. When the Burma was about to gain independence from Britain and thePanglong Conference convened where all the non–Myanmar ethnic nationalities unanimously composing of three independent nations of Shan, Chin and Kachin joined the Myanmar and formed the Union of Burma, the Mujahids (at that time the word Rohingya was not yet coined ) led by its political party Jami-a-tul Ulema-e Islam went over to Muhammad Ali Jinnah; leader of Muslim League and founder of Pakistan, to incorporate the northern part of Arakan State composing of the existing Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Ratheedaung townships into what was then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. The names of these townships indicates that they are Arakanese townships and not Mujahidin names and by this action proved beyond doubt that they did not want to belong to the Union of Burma. Instead want to chop up the motherland to be incorporated into another country.

Once the Union of Burma came into being these Mujahidin haunted by the specter of their future living under the infidel rule of the baneful Arakanese rebelled, led by Cassim whose gross human rights records on the local Arakanese population were well known. Only after the Burmese army led by General Smith Dun (General Ne Win has not taken power) taught them a lesson did they grudgingly relented and the duly elected civilian government led by U Nu who granted them citizenship provided they remain peaceful. But the hard core leaders accompanied by the diehards seek asylum in East Pakistan and continue to instigate the people inside these townships with the encouragement of East Pakistan. Come 1970s, East Pakistan inhabited by the Bengalis throw their yoke from West Pakistan’s Phatans and Panjabis and become Bangladesh after a bloody war of liberation. In that struggle these so called Mujahids (later christening themselves Rohingya) allied with West Pakistan acting as spies, scouts what in Burmese meaning biting the hands that feed them. So when Bangladesh came into being all the Jami-a-tul leaders were shot and from that day Bangladesh did not welcome these Rohingyas.

Okay let us forget about history. General Ne Win came to power in 1962 taking the country to the least developed status with his Burmese Way to Socialism and started its ethnic cleansing policy on every non-Myanmar ethnic races including the Rohingyas. Military operation Na Nga Min drove out a considerable number of Rohingyas to Cox Bazaar in Bangladesh. When the 8888 pro-democracy revolution began, General Than Shwe took over and intensified the ethnic cleansing policy of the non-Myanmar changing the country’s name to Myanmar with the slogan of one country,(Burma) one race (Myanmar)and one religion (Buddhism) so much so that the there is no single ethnic group that did not rebel. From 1995-1998, Muslim communities, especially those close to markets, were targets and some 10,000 Muslims from Burma took refuge in Thailand, was confirmed when a member of a British human rights organisation who visited several camps reported that “10,000 Muslims from all over Burma now live in the border refugee camps and a disproportionately high number of Muslims joined ethnic Karen refugees fleeing Burma as the soldiers destroyed mosques and schools and had ordered them to convert to Buddhism or leave the country”. So after the outbreak of anti-Muslim riots in Martaban, Moulmein and other towns in lower Burma, the Muslim Liberation Organisation of Burma (MLOB) was formed and became a member of Democratic Alliance of Burma calling themselves K'Nyaw Thoo, they fought shoulder to shoulder with the ethnic and the pro-democracy groups against the marauding Tatmadaw. But there was no single Rohingya in it. How come they cannot identify themselves as an ethnic race? Simple logic they did not consider themselves to be an ethnic race.

Since time immemorial there are several ethnic groups in Arakan state such as Rakhine, Chin, Mro, Chakma, Khaman, Dainet, Mramagyi and Khaman adhering to the Muslim faith have peacefully co-existed with the Arakanese, only when the new foreign word of “Rohingya” was coined it became problematic. Thus their demand for the recognition of their rights sounds a direct challenge to the right of autonomy and the myth of survival for the Arakanese majority in their homeland e.g. in their manifesto the term Arakan or Rakhine, a universally accepted name was referred as Rohang indicating that Arakan does not exist. Thus their demand for the recognition of their rights sounds a direct challenge to the core. So the majority of the people of Arakan construe them as the beginning of the Islamization of the Union of Burma and is out and out to oppose the Rohingya.

Dissecting the Rohingyas, one may find that 99% of them are farmers, retailers, petty traders and the working people most of whom can speak only their language, a dialect of Bengali and have little or no education. Living a contented peaceful and having no qualms when people called them as Bengali Muslims or Kalar, (a term in Burmese for anybody who is dark skin) they go out their business as usual. A great many of them have never heard the word Rohingya and did not have the slightest idea what is all about driven out of their traditional homes, or why they cannot live their peaceful life anymore as their predecessors. The only thing they know is that they have become unbearable because of the Burmese security forces and the unjust laws which were bestowed on them by the Myanmar Tatmadaw.

The other less than 1% of the people are the elites and the radicals living either in Bangladesh, India, Middle East and the West as most of the activists are. They want to have a finger in a big pie, called the Union of Burma, what in Burmese - taking advantage when there is a chance. They are desirous to make their presence felt when Tatmadawstarted its vigorous ethnic cleansing policy on the non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities of Burma. Financed by their foreign Muslim counterparts which has little or no idea of the Rohingya Gordian Knot (power struggle among different groups and no centralized committee) make the problem worse than a solution.

However, one cannot underestimate them for these tiny Diaspora Rohingya are experts in lobbying and in the disseminations of the atrocities news of the Rohingya in the media. They soon recruited the well-meaning Caucasians in their respective countries to form dozens ofRohingya Associations in the West, funded their broadcasting station in Oregon and was able to internationalize this problem. What more they were very successful in transferring the Rohingya problem into a Burmese Muslim problem compelling all the other Burmese Muslim to be on their side and forcing the NLD to leave out its dedicated Muslims youths in state building. Currently they are endeavouring to make the Rohingya problem into a world problem. But lamentably not a single person went back to help their people in Burma as perhaps they could not give up their live style in the niceties of the West. Full Stop.

The story of true episode goes that in 1968 a boy was born in a Buddhist family of a small village near Mandalay but the father expired when he was only 10 years and naturally his mother married again, but this time is a Muslim. The boy was only age 14 when in a quarrel broke out between the mother and his step-father and the latter beat her soundly. He could not bear the sight, so he grab a cudgel and hit him in the nape knocking him off. He construed that he had killed him and so in order to escape the law he entered monkhood under the name of Wirathuand since that time he bitterly hated the Muslims and started the anti-Muslim campaign, for this that he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2003, but was pardoned in Jan 2012. Now labelling himself as “Burmese bin-Laden” found an unholy alliance with the SPDC chairperson cum former President Thein Sein, the surrogate of the Tatmadaw,who is desirous to mend relations with the Buddhist clergy because of their excesses in 2017 Saffron Revolution. He eulogize him as “a noble son of Buddha” and Wirathu founded the 969 Movement, giving a green light to wrought terror on the Burmese Muslims. His utopia for vendetta was climaxed when the “Time” magazine label him in the cover with the caption of “The face of Buddhist Terror” tarnishing Buddhist religion.

The 969 movement in lieu with USDP and the Tatmadaw did their very best to discredit NLD led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi but as everybody knows NLD prevails with a landslide win in the elections and the unholy alliance have to eat a humble pie. Daw Suu at once take action and things began to improve but the Rohingya Diaspora now turn their guns on the current administration for not doing enough and give a green light to the armed wing. On Oct. 9th as many as 500 to 800 people armed with knives, slingshots and a small collection of firearms launched three separate, coordinated attacks on border police bases in northern Arakan State, near Burma's border with Bangladesh. Nine police officers and eight attackers were killed, and at least 50 weapons and 10,000 rounds of ammunition were looted. According to AFP reports a Pakistani Taliban-trained militant leader Hafiz Tohar, 45, from Kyauk Pyin Seik village, in Maungdaw Township, labelling themselves as Aqa Mul Mujahidin was behind the attacks that have sparked a military crackdown and sent thousands of terrified residents fleeing the area. It has been known that Pakistan's ISI's special units that has links with Taliban has operations cell coordinates the activity of the different Rohingya groups, whose leadership is based in their country. Both Bangladesh and Indian are very worried of these Jihadist groups estimated to be round about 400 plus.

The Tatmadaw which has been concentrating its guns on the much larger ethnic community of Kachin and Shan in their ethnic cleansing process have now rushed their troops and vendetta has started and already 40 of the Rohingya villagers has been killed. It would be much better for the Tatmadaw, which has never fought a foreign war, but instead of concentrating on Shan and Kachin and Palaung to muster their troop more on external enemies and placed their army in these three townships of northern Arakan to protect the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

It should also be noted that previously killings and human rights violations in Rohingya dominated area were committed by the Arakanese side only but now it has become on both sides, so until and unless restrain is curb on both sides these wild fires of conflict will continue to spread. Daw Suu’s government and the Arakanese have made known that these Rohingyas will be allowed to stay in the country just like any other person and that is what these majority if not 99% of the Rohingya people want to, but the 1% Diaspora Rohingya are more ambitious, wanted not only full fledge citizenships but also as a recognized ethnic group. It is somewhat similar to the vulgar Burmese saying of: to put it gently is similar to the Arab and the camel in the tent of a cold desert night. “Never in the field of human conflict was so much wrought to so many by so few.”

We would humbly request the international community around the world to stop dealing with these so called self-appointed Rohingyas in Diaspora and its supporters that is making so much noise and fanning the flames of hatred, for after all the Junta days are numbered and we have the peoples’ government. Let us give Daw Suu a chance now help by Kofi Annan, as according to the Burmese traditions literally translated means if there is a big problem make it small and if it is a small problem just squash it. I foresee that eventually that one day in the near future these so called Rohingyas will accept the lingua franca, owed their allegiance to the Union of Burma just like anybody else eventually becoming a full fledge citizens, worship their own religion and live happily afterwards for “Love is a many splendour thing.”

The author Kanbawza Win is a non-Myanmar ethnic nationalities and is not a Buddhist who had read a paper on “The Mentality of the Tatmadaw through the Living History,” at the 12th Burma Studies Conference at the Northern University of Illinois. Anybody can republish this paper.

- Asian Tribune –

The Author together with Dr. Zarni Maung and some Rohingya Diaspora at the Stockholm Conference
diconary view
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