Rohingya means Rakhine: Dr. Aye Chan

Bangkok, Thailand: Dr. Aye Chan, a history Professor, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan had repeated again and again  “ Rohingya mean Rakhine” and “Rohingya language is Rakhine language”  at International seminar on Rakhine history (Arakan), held at Mahidol University, Bangkok on March 9, according to U Ye Lwin, former history lecturer who attend the seminar.

U Htay Lwin Oo
“Dr. Aye Chan, repeated again and again while U Htay Lwin Oo – racially Rakhine but scholar- questioned with references book – “A Comparative Vocabulary of Some of the Languages Spoken in the Burma Empire in 1799 ? by Francis Buchanan – which mentioned Rohingya is the native of Arakan and their language with comparing others languages. U Haty Lwin Oo pointed out the pronunciations – Sun, Mon and earth – which is similar to recent Rohingya languages. He also appointed out with report that Rohingya means Mohammedans (Islam religious). After seeing the references book, Dr. Aye Chan said Rohingya mean Rakhine and after again seeing languages he again said the Rohingya language is Rakhine Languages (Arakanese).”

We received the information of the International seminar on Rakhine history (Arakan), which will held in Bangkok and hope that the organizers will invite some Rohingya leaders as it is an international conference. But, we don’t get any information. So, We – I, U Ye Lwin, U Tha Aye and Mohamed Khan- reached Bangkok on March 8 and tried to contact the organizer, but we failed. At last, U Htay Lwin Oo tried by him selves to get permission for at last 12 Rohingya leaders and actives where got only four persons including U Htay Lwin Oo, said U Kyaw Min, former NDPHR MP.

Rohingya participants  at International seminar on Rakhine history (Arakan)

We are happy while the participants greeted to us at last when I appointed out documents which were published in the early periods and giving me the microphone to spoke to Dr. Aye Chan in the seminar where the organizer only allowed the participants to write questions on a paper which was also censored by first two monks and mediator. It is not sure, the questions will answer by scholar or not. It is very difficult to ask questions and challenge. I am very lucky, to able to speak and challenge, said U Htay Lwin Oo.

“The aim of seminar is to introduction of Rakhine history to the international community, to correct a continued description of Rohingya by international media that is not recognized by successive Myanmar governments, and to bring reliable references of Rakhine history from international historians,” said Kyaw Thaung, one of the seminar’s organizers.

But, Dr. Abid Bahar said, “So far so good but a detailed understanding shows the seminar wanted to prove that there were no Rohingya in Arakan. Rohingyas are being labelled as “Bengalis” If Rohingyas are from Bangladesh why Bangladesh doesn’t want to accept them? Also why are there boat people in the sea? So the question was not about Rohingya existence in Arakan but was to deny Rohingya existence in Arakan. Surely the present seminar by the known sponsors was to comply with the government’s official policy of Rohingya genocide.This is a Rakhine sponsored conference. Knowing it very well the Western speakers Jet Pilder, Stephen van Galen were keeping their agenda in line with the sponsors and tried to be more superficial to scratch on the surface of Arakan history. Unfortunately however in the name of their participation their names were cleverly abused by the Rakhine sponsors.

The Eleven Media Group published, “History Professor Aye Chan of Kanda University of International Studies, Japan, traced the increased cross-border settlement from 1826 to 1975 as Chittagong natives moved in to become the majority in Maungdaw and Buthedaung townships. In his talk “From Rakhine cross-border settlement to ethnic violence.” History tells us otherwise. There were waves of Rakhin Mogh and Rohingya influx into Chittagong as a result of Bodapawa’s invasion in 1784. Then the 1942 Rakhine killing of Rohingya led to further influx that continued through the 50;s through 1978, 82-83 and till now but Chan said the Bengali Muslim population increased from 58,255 in 1871 to 178,647 in 1911, when they represented 94 per cent of the population in Maungdaw and 84 per cent in Buthedaun. He also explained Muslim rebels’ destruction of Rakhine villages.”  What can you expect from Aye Chan who is a known xenophobe and coauthored a book identifying Rohingyas as        “Viruses?” Dr. Abid Bahar, pointed out the direction of Media group and seminar.

“The Eleven Media Group’s published the identity of U Htay Lwin Oo as a Bengali activist which is not true. He is a racially Rakhine but a scholar.”

Dr. Aye Chan said the name Rohingya was officially coined from the 50’s but he didn’t say before which they were known as “Muslims of Arakan” In doing this he also cleverly ignored the fact to the people present that the name “Rakhine was also a new term officially adapted during the 1920’s before which they were identified as the “Mogh,” said Dr. Abid Bahar.

Thus, deliberately ignoring historical facts, including a xenophobe among the speakers, the latter particularly is likely to ignore the reliable references of Rakhine history. While the hidden objective of the seminar was served, no doubt it provided disservice to humanity, to the continued suffering of the Rohingya stateless people, Dr. Abid Bahar remarked.

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