Monday, March 11, 2013

No Rohingya in Rakhine state???

by Abid Bahar,
A Rakhine sponsored seminar took place in Bangkok at Mahidol University on March 9, 2013. The objective it says was: " the introduction of Rakhine history to the international community, to correct a continued description of Rohingya by international media that is not recognised by successive Myanmar governments, and to bring reliable references of Rakhine history from international historians," said Kyaw Thaung, one of the seminar's organisers." So far so good but a detailed understanding shows the seminar wanted to prove that there were no Rohingya in Arakan. In dealing with this issue several items need additional focus:

(1) The point is, if there were no Rakhine in Arakan why the racist Military junta by Ne Win had to pass the 1982 law? Why lately Arakanese historic Rohingya names had to be changed into Rakhine Mogh sounding names? Why there are historic Rohingya mosques and monuments in Arakan? Why UN was involved in dealing with Rohingya facing persecution? 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.

(2) Furthermore, 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 their names were cleverly abused by the Rakhine sponsors.

(3) The high light of the conference was Aye Chan a Rakhine war criminal, who has been active as an xenophobe provocateur. The report says: "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." (1) What can you expect from Aye Chan who is a known xenophobe and coauthored a book identifying Rohingyas as " Viruses."(2)

(4) In addition to their exaggerations, the poor performance of the speakers as historians is noticeable in their deliberate ignoring of Arab settlements from the 8th century, Muslim General Wali Khan and Sind Khan's army setting in Arakan and particularly, ignoring Francis Beauchanan's reference of " Roongya" in 1799 and also ignoring the existence of Rohingya Muslim names, such as Arakan and Akyab which were lately changed. Further, Aye Chan's denial of the term Rohingya. His denial of the name "Rohingya" which originally derived from the name Mro-haung "Mro haung gys" and terming the Rohingya is only shocking to say the least.

(5) While Aye Chan said the name Rohingya was officially coined from the 50's but didn't say before which they were known as "Muslims of Arakan" In doing this he 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."

Based on the above, in the name of an international seminar, this conference was a deliberate attempt at manufacturing misinformation. Two things however were not expected (a) The impolite gesture of Aye Chan toward Htay Lwin Oo who asked him a question. The later is a respectable Arakanese historian (b) Eleven Media Group 's present report identifies Htay Lwin Oo as a Bengali activist which is not true. He is a racially Rakhine scholar. (3)

All in all what can we expect from a seminar organized by the Rakhine racist extremists and reported by a media that promote hatred.

Thus, deliberately ignoring historical facts, including a xenophobe among the speakers, the latter is likely to ignore the reliable references of Rakhine history. Thus, the hidden objective of the seminar was served providing disservice to humanity. It in the name of a history seminar served the Rakhine racists to reenforce their extremist views.

(1) For an expert analysis of the topic see.
(2) Racism to Rohingya

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