TELL ME, WHAT IS WRONG IN CONTEMPORARY BURMA?

Dr. Abid Bahar

Burma’s ethnic problems is over half a century’s old. Rohingyas are a tiny minority who in Burma live mostly in the Arakan state in Western Burma. There are records of genocidal campaign against Rohingyas going on from the 30’s. It is obvious that under many decades of xenophobic military rule with majority of Burma’s people not over 5th graders and Burmese military’s 30% personnel from hardcore ultra nationalist Rakhine Mogh background one can’t expect something better either from the government or from the Rakhine populace for the racially different Rohingya community. As a result the ever present perpetrators now blame the victims as the perpetrators. Every indication shows that the present massacres were systematically planned and executed by Rakhine leaders one that is frequently mentioned in the media is Dr. Aye Chan. He has characterized Rohingyas a “influx viruses” requiring extermination.” He is known in the Rohingya community as the “Doctor of death.” (1)


Unfortunately, Rohingya massacre is not a new phenomenon, it was there in 1942, 1978, 1992 and now in June 2012. Due to the influx of refugees from Burma, both Rohingya, Rakhine and Chakmas, the Southern Chittagong of Bangladesh historically has been flooded (up to Sangha River) by Burmese refugees, most of whom however eventually became Bangladeshi citizens.. Despite this historic trend, Rakhine Moghs still claim that Rogingyas of Burma are Chittagonians.

In our time, to escape the oppressive Burmese regime’s atrocities, when Burmese refugees both Rohingyas and the other Burmese ethnic minorities floating all over the world for shelter, the ever proud Burmese government shows neither any remorse nor responsibility. From Rakhine Mogh’s repenting relentless anti Rohingya campaign, we see their comments on the internet. The New Mandala records the Rakhine reaction to a map drawn by the BBC showing the existence of Rohingya people in Arakan.The following quotes written in Burmese illustrate the nature of the campaign It records the Rakhine reaction:

Kick out all Muslim Kalar [Rohingyas, South Asians/Indians] from Burma. If this doesn’t work, then kill them to death. It’s time for Arakan to unite with each other.

Don’t assume that I won’t sharpen my knife. I am ready to make it sharp for the sake of protecting our nation, religion and races against those Bengali cheaters.

There is no Kalar in Burmese national races. These bastards run into Burma during good time and also in time of starvation. Beggers, they should be kicked out but do not deserve national identity card [citizenship].

Why does BBC create problem like this? I cannot imagine why. Real Burman like myself cannot feel [accept] it. I feel like my [ethnic] relatives and siblings have been given away into the hands of Kalar. Whichever history we look at, Rohingyas are not among our ethnic siblings.

F@#$-ing Kalar, we will slap your face with shoes and cut your heads. Don’t criticize the god with little of what you know. We will set you on fire to death and turn the mosques into wholesales/retail pork markets…

The New Mandala adds: “The main messages of the campaign, therefore, are that there is no Rohingya in the Burmese history; the name Rohingya was “invented” as if it should have existed in time immemorial to be valid; Rohingyas are culturally and religiously different illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who are cheating the history to claim the land of Arakan; and Rohingyas (or Bangali-Muslim-Kalars) are threatening to take over Burma. The intense campaign against Rohingyas shows that minority people supposedly the victims of oppression are willing to enact oppression on another oppressed group.”The anxiety is so strong that the map and the article are taken to be giving away the country, its religion and nations to Rohingya. What is most noticeable in this campaign is not simply their rejection of Rohingya as an ethnic group of Burma, but their strong, public comments with a genocidal tendency.”(1)

A neutral reader would see most of them have no understanding of what is human rights. Human rights is understood here as being the rights of their own group only but not a reciprocal obligation to their fellow citizens belonging to other groups.

In denying the Rohingya existence in Arakan, a border land, these Rakhine ultra nationalists surprisingly fail to understand that there are also Rakhine people settled in Bangladesh as late as during the British period who are now Bangladeshi citizens.

In their anti Rohingya remarks above we see some people show signs of naive savages. Of course the tendency is historic for which Arakan was called the “Mogher Mulluk” (land of anarchy.) Thus, a valid question to ask: In the contemporary events in June 2012, who were the leaders that were organizing the vigilantes, helping the Rakhine police, and distributing imported arms from behind? Additionally, if the military backed Burmese government is not involved, ( it brands Rohingyas are foreigners) why can’t its deployed military men can’t stop the ongoing violence?

There is no doubt that in most cases of dealing with state sponsored genocide, the international community acts largely on political grounds. This is true even about the UN’s performance.in certain cases. However, it some UN organizations such as UNHCR, and some NGOs are the few places Rohingyas get assistance.

It seems that for the Rohingyas, in the land of anarchy, the 1942, 78, 92 still revisits them in the 2012’s and it will continue to revisit them unless the international community find the provocateurs that first organized few hundred people to kill some Burmese Muslim people traveling by bus. In the short term, it is also important to catch those who planned and executed the subsequent genocidal activities in Maungdou and in Akyab and take them to the International Criminal Court. In the long term, to help Burma develop law and order, and mutual respect and tolerance among citizens, it is necessary to help Burma change its military imposed age old xenophobic education system tailored to rule the country through divide and rule policy. (3)

It is true, something is truly wrong in Burma and in the contemporary crisis, the UN should closely monitor the developments in Arakan. As for the Rohingyas in particular, relying on the military backed government for protection is as if trusting the crocodile to babysit the Rohingya chicks. If Burma has a future against its over half a century of ethnic problem, truly, it has to be only through Aung San Sui Kyi’s democratic reforms and “the lady” they call her has to deal with every Burmese people as if like a mother to her children, for, the military government has sufficiently spoiled some at the cost of others sufferings.(4)

Endnotes
(1) The New Mandala, “BBC under fire on Rohingyas, “http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2011/11/03/bbc-under-fire-on-rohingyas/; RACISM TO ROHINGYA IN BURMA AYE CHAN’S “ENCLAVE” WITH “INFLUX VIRUSES” REVISITED,Link:http://danyawadi.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/racism-to-rohingya-in-burma-aye-chans-enclave-with-influx-viruses-revisited/
(2) The New Mandala, “BBC under fire on Rohingyas,”http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2011/11/03/bbc-under-fire-on-rohingyas/
(3)Tell Me, What is Rohingya Genocide in Burma? http://burmadigest.info/2012/01/18/tell-me-what-is-rohingya-genocide-in-burma/,
(4) Abid Bahar, Burma’s Missing Dits, the Emerging face of Genocide. 2010.

Leave a Reply