by M.S. Anwar*
(It is certain that many people will be up against what is going to be written here. However, truths are truths and can no way be hidden. And it is necessary to share them to the honest truth seekers.)
The violence in Arakan is neither because of Rohingyas (whom Majority Burmese perceive as illegal Bengalis) nor SECTARIAN. It is a systematic pogrom targeted Rohingyas and Kamans (Kamans are also being killed on account of their religion).
They, the sons of soils of Arakan, have been scapegoated for different political gains by the respective interest groups. Of all, the two notable interest groups who are striving towards different political goals are none other than Burmese regime and Rakhine Extremists.
As for Burmese regime, their basic goal was fulfilled as they could have diverted the attention of the people from the political crises they had been facing before this violence.
They want to end the violence now but Rakhine extremist political leaders do not let the situation be peaceful by blackmailing the regime to expose their own participation in the pogrom of Rohingyas.
It is because they are still striving towards fulfilling their dream of MAHA RAKKHITA NAING NGAN DAW GRI (A Separate and Independent Rakhine Nation) consisting Arakan region from Burma and Chittagong Hill-Tract from Bangladesh.
A Burmese friend of mine laughed it out saying “Phyit Naing Ba’ Malla Bya- Can it be possible?” This might sound funny to many people today but tomorrow it can be a reality. But an unreality today can become a reality tomorrow.
Rakhines in Burma and Bangladesh and their Joint Movements:
There are more than 1 Million Buddhists of different ethnic origin in Bangladesh, whom Burmese Rakhines consider parts of Rakhine groups. They are Marma (known as Rakhine in Burma), Barua (Mramma Gri or Myammar Gyi) and Chakma (Theks) etc (in short, Jammu Hill tract Tribes) in Bangladesh.
Of them, BARUAs and Theks are linguistically similar to Rohingyas over to Rakhines (Marmas). Besides, Baruas are more similar to Rohingyas in looks and physical appearances. However, Burmese Rakhines have persuaded and recruited more people from other Buddhist minorities of Bangladesh on the ground of the religion and have sown a separatist tendency in their minds.
Therefore, with the exception of few, the Rakhine political parties or armed groups, media groups, woman organizations, youth groups, academics and individuals that work not only against the interest of Burma and Bangladesh but also against Rohingyas and Kamans in cooperation with the terrorist outfit of United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) in Bangladesh are: Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), Democratic Party of Arakan (DPA), Rakhine Women Union (RWU), All Arakan Student and Youth Council (AASYC) and Dhaka based Narinjara News Agency.
Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) in cooperation with Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP) is also responsible for mass killings of Rohingyas. Look at the following document how ALP has broken their own treaty with Rohingyas and is trying to have an exclusively Rakhine nation.
IMAGE 1 ROHINGYA
Now, the readers probably have a clearer picture of Rakhine movements and why they are trying to eradicate Rohingyas, whom once they themselves recognized.
Regarding the recent movements of Rakhine extremists, Saw Mra Raza Linn lives in Dhaka and is the President of the Dhaka based RWU and a central executive member of ALP. She married to a Bangladeshi Rakhine Buddhist living in Dhaka. He is the founder and head of Rakhine Development Foundation (RDF), an NGO registered by Bangladesh government. Her husband’s sister, Mra Aye Thein from Barisal of Baggona, is a selected and appointed (not elected) member of parliament of Awami League.
On 27th August 2012, she together with other six people from ALP and UPDF illegally crossed the Naff River, the Teknaf-Maung Daw border and entered Burma. They were given a warm welcome by the Rakhine extremists and separatists in Arakan. In Akyab (Sittwe), they held several secrets meetings with the Rakhine Buddhist Extremists such as Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP).
They have reached to an agreement with Burmese government to open an ALP liaison office in Arakan. From Arakan, she went to Rangoon (the second capital of Burma) to meet with higher government officials and other members of RNDP.
The question is: how could a woman living in Dhaka and known for working against Burmese government for a long time illegally cross Bangladesh-Burma border, enter Burma and go to Rangoon to meet the higher officials of Burmese government?
The Meeting in Chiangmai, Thailand:
From 11th to 14th January 2013, a SECRET meeting among the Rakhine extremists and separatists was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The members of Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP) from Burma, Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), members of the other Rakhine parties mentioned above and prominent members of Bangladesh Rakhine Buddhist Separatists participated in the meeting. It was the first ever meeting after 2004, where different Rakhine groups from different countries attended the meeting. The press statements from the meeting and other details are as follow.
(Press Release on Arakan National Workshop and Paper to present at the Arakan National Workshop by AHRDO are Burmese language. We are inconvenient to translate them into English lest the writings would become too long. But by looking at the rebuttals to the allegations made in the statement, one can guess what the original statements are.)
Rebuttals to the Allegations:
- Rakhines have the rights to create their own destiny in unity BUT doing so can’t damage other human beings.
- The formation of the committee to unite Rakhine people is welcome unless the committee tries to implement the fascist policies.
- If Rohingyas are illegal invading Bengalis, then what are you?
Rakhines live in both Bangladesh and Burma. They are not Rohingyas who are coming in into Arakan but leaving Arakan. Rakhines are certainly sneaking into Arakan taking advantage of the presence of their people in the administration.
Look their ALP’s agreement shown above (because Rakhines, today, in their fanaticism, refuse to accept what the international scholars say on Rohingyas.) If 1982 Citizenship Law (an illegal and black law that violates several internal laws, human rights and norms) is to be implemented, let it be implemented to all Burmese people including Rakhine themselves. Stop using the term “Bengali” for Rohingya; it is not the identity Rohingya belongs to. If you use such, Rohingya will use your historical term “Magh,” which you are ashamed of.
- It is up to the Burmese government to approve the decisions by Rakhine extremists taken in the Rathedaung meeting from September 25-26, 2012. No matter whether it is approved or not, Adolf Hitler would certainly be happy to see his ardent followers in Arakan, Burma were he alive.
- All the innocent Rakhines should be protected from any kinds of harms anywhere in the world. But do not lie that they are facing threats both in Burma and in abroad
- Demand to stop the offensive war against Kachins is more than welcome unless it is for your own political benefits.
The meeting was held in Thailand rather in Bangladesh or in Burma. Why should they do so unless it was against the interests of both Bangladesh and Burma? It is worth wondering why Burmese government allowed RNDP members to attend at a meeting which was itself against the government!
It is worth wondering whether Bangladesh government allowed Burma born Saw Mra Raza Linn to hold Bangladesh Passport and travel to Thailand to attend the meeting which was against the interest of Bangladesh! The respective governments have to answer for these. Besides, it is up to the readers to wonder why Kritine Gould, CEO at PACRIM Research Associates, Counterterrorism Plans Officer at US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), arranged such a fascist meeting and sponsored those who are up for the ethnic cleansing of a particular minority. Isn’t that a serious matter to think of??
Wake up Bangladeshis, Burmese!!
It is very unfortunate that neither Burma nor Bangladesh understands the separatist tendency and long term ambition of these Rakhine war criminals. To stop the Rakhine province to secede from Burma, Rakhine leadership is right that it is only Rohingyas that can help Burma stay together.
It is important to know that Rakhines are only 5% of Burmese population but are 30% in the Burmese administration including army. If they go to jungle, it will be a major challenge for Burma. In addition, there are Rakhine militant groups such as ALP and Arakan Army working for the same purpose.
Similarly for Bangladesh, research shows, the rebellions in Chittagong Hill Tracts such as UPDF has been instigated largely by the Rakhine separatists from Burma. Some innocent looking Rakhine monks were found to carry weapons in Bangladesh. For its internal security, it would be good for Bangladesh to monitor these war criminals and their movements within Bangladesh.
For the Rohingyas, if the international community ignores the killings of Rohingyas by the Rakhine extremist leaders, they and the international community must have the right to arrest them and send them to the ICC and stop their criminal bugging in that part of the world. Surely, if timely actions are not taken, there is a costly price to pay by both Bangladesh and Burma for silence! The heavy price will be in the form of losing Chittagong hill tracts and Arakan respectively to the Rakhine separatists.
Rohingya community would like to urge the extremists in Rakhine community to abandon extremism and exclusiveness policies, not to manipulate Buddhism for their own interests, to recognize and respect the differences and to cooperate with their sister community forgetting what has happened in the past and stopping what is happening now for the sake of the peace, tranquility and the developments in the region.
If they two communities cooperate, they can work together to achieve an autonomous or federal state within the union of Burma. Let’s not separate Arakan as it is not a preferable idea.
(Note: Neither all Rakhines nor all Buddhists in Burma and Bangladesh are extremists. My writings here do not have anything to do with the peace-loving Buddhists, Rakhines and other communities.
The writings, here, are to an extent inspired by the writings of Dr. Abid Bahar and a Writer named Soe Min.) (T/R-022/R-006)
*M.S. Anwar is an activist and student in Malaysia. The writings here are of the author’s own and hence do not reflect the editorial policy of RB.