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Sep-01-2012 20:25printcomments

Rohingya and Rakhine: Let's Shake Hands and Reconstruct Our Society Towards Peaceful Coexistence

Reports of mass killings, mass graves, rape, and torture come out of Myanmar with figures of at least 20,000 Rohingya killed since June 28.

Muslims in Burma
Muslims in Burma are being murdered, large aspects of the Buddhist population of Myanmar support ethnic cleansing.

(SITTWE, Akyab, Myanmar) - We, Rohingya and Rakhine were like real brothers; living on the same soil, sharing the same resources, depending on each other, helping each other in the whole history of Arakan. Then in 1942, a monk’s propaganda caused a horrible massacre that led us toward hatred, and discrimination; later we looked upon each other as enemies.

If we examine the history of Arakan, we can find our glory during Mrauk U dynasty in which most of the kings took Muslim titles and showed that Rohingya and Rakhine were real brothers.

The territory, controlled by the Mrauk-U dynasty (1433-1785), the last dynasty in Rakhaing (Arakanese) history, stretched from Chittagong in the North to Thanlyin (Syriam) in the South until it lost the whole of Chittagong down to the River Naaf (Nat River) to Mughal in 1666.

That dynasty was known as Golden Age of Arakan in which people of Arakan built a peaceful society, Buddhists and Muslims shook hands for the prosperity of Arakan. It became not only the glory of Arakan but also the glory of all of Myanmar. We should take lessons from that period to reconstruct our society.

Rohingya people are suffering

We have different beliefs, races, customs and traditions that will continue to cohabit in the Arakan State. Rohingya and Rakhine have their unique realm; therefore the desire for both to be similar to one another. The peace of Arakan lies in respecting all these differences, considering these differences to be part of our nature and in ensuring that people appreciate these differences.

Man is a being who possesses possibilities.

It is unthinkable these possibilities should be left as they are, without developing them. It is education that does this. As Kant said: "Man only becomes man through education."

Rohingya never use any bad words against Rakhine but Rakhine always use a derogatory term for Rohingya, Kular. You can read Rakhine’s aggressiveness in the following blogs post.

Rohingya have no objection to peaceful coexistence but Rakhine alleged that Rohingya were illegal Bengali immigrants. Rohingya were deprived of fundamental rights and Rakhine have been enjoying full citizen rights. Myanmar dictators and Rakhine authority have been continuously trying to prove Rohingya are illegal immigrants conducting various operation but they failed to find out a single family which came into Rakhine State from Bangladesh. I am sure that if we examine the Rakhine communities we will discover thousands of Bangali Rakhines who came into Arakan State very recently.

Traditional Rohingya girl

Burmese security forces have systematically abused the stateless Rohingya group after sectarian violence flared in northern Arakan state in early June, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported. Local police, military and the area’s paramilitary forces, known as the NaSaKa, have responded to the unrest with “biased” and “brutal force” against the Muslim minority group.

It said some Rakhine (Buddhist) bear grudges against the United Nations and international NGOs [INGOs] and object to their presence in the area.

As reports of mass killings, mass graves, rape, and torture come out of Myanmar with figures of at least 20,000 Rohingya killed since June 28, it seems that like Rwanda and Bosnia, a group of voiceless people are once again being systematically wiped out.

The review of the community violence said some political parties, monks and individuals incited “extreme racial hatred” and encouraged people to “commit irrational racial attacks” against “Rohingya Muslims.”The review also said some people did not understand that Rohingyas can qualify for citizenship under the Burmese Citizenship Law. The review said that some Rakhine (Buddhist) businesspersons tried to take advantage of the conflict to get the upper hand on businesses owned by Rohingyas.

Rohingya are generous, tolerated, kindhearted, broadminded, and respect law and justice. They had no objection when Magh changed their name into Rakhine but Rakhine have been trying to prove that Rohingya are not citizens of Myanmar. The main reason of denying Rohingya is dreams of Bengali Rakhine to make Arakan an independent Rakhine State.

(Rohingya men ran through an area filled with burning houses during
fighting between the Rakhine and Rohingya communities in Sittwe,
western Myanmar, Sunday. Source: The Wall Street Journal)

Most Rakhine follow the ideas of Bangali Rakhines such as Dr. Aye Chan, Dr. Aye Maung and late Dr. Aye Kyaw who are not native Rakhine, we can prove easily through independent international investigation that those people are not Myanmar origin. Being an Independent State of Arakan is not a healthy idea for both Rakhine and Rohingya rather it is an disintegration which Myanmar government can not be allowed.

There are thousands of Rakhine Buddhists who oppose the extreme nationalist idea and give hands toward Rohingya in order to build a peaceful society such as ex-Captain Htun Kyaw Oo, lecturer U Saw Aung and U Tha Zan Maung. They know that ethnic cleansing is not easy job in this modern world, and it is against Buddhism; there is no benefit for Rohingya cleansing.

For the cleansing, Rakhine need military, arms, training, patience, and even have to be ready to face their own death and to kill others. For peace, none of these are necessary. You just need to stop these things, and maintain peaceful environment.

Do we act individually or do we act in group/network for the peaceful coexistence? Do we make great efforts? Yes, people who hope for an independent Rakhine State are small in number, but they have a strong propaganda network.

The majority of people in the Rakhine State are hoping for peace. For the realization of peaceful society, we need to make a strong network and make great efforts for peace. We need a worldwide network, sharing necessary information, supporting each other, then to act for our vision and hope. Let’s shake hands and work together for the reconstruction of Rakhine State.

Locals take a Rohingya, shot at by the Myanmar forces in the strife-torn
Rakhine state, to hospital at Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar on Friday after he crossed into
Bangladesh along with fellow refugees. — Indrajit Ghosh

We need to find two solutions; short-term solutions and long –term solution. Short-term solution obtains to cooperate with the UN and international NGOs to report accurate news and information from the area, provide full citizenship for Rohingya, and a return of their lands accordingly.

Long-term solutions include establishing international schools in the Rakhine State to improve communication between racial groups and learn internationalism. Each group need to know international value, international declaration of human right, and how can they make peaceful society. We do hope that international community is with us in order to implement peace in our society.

Peace is a term which brings a sense of serenity and security in our minds. Thinking rationally, we need peace everywhere because we want to see peaceful minds wherever we go. Everybody wants peace for his family in possible means and confirms his society distant from all catastrophes.

Building peace requires our healthy positive minds which dig out every possible option existing in the conflict. Peaceful minds are reinforcing dialogue among diversified group of people to figure out the alternative ways of building peace.

Although Rohingya and Rakhine are living in diversified areas and different religious values in the society, they have similarities. Accepting these similarities helps to figure out individuals' differences as well that really brings change in individuals' thinking approaches.

Rakhine and Rohingya blame each other for the lack of peace but we perceive the meaning of peace with the same heartbeat. Relationships of love and friendship are the true examples of choosing the life enriching elements for peace building. So peace building should be started from our relationships and attachment styles.

Both Rakhine and Rohingya want peace even they define it differently because the end results are same and peace is mandatory for their protection and prosperity. The most important element is to give respect to others' opinions unless are based on intolerance. Wherever we find any dispute or conflict in others' thoughts, try to make a plan to resolve it in the peaceful manners. Don't let the dispute keep growing, as it leads to hatred and intolerance in the society. Society would only be peaceful and role model for others, if strongly established by means of harmony and peaceful bonding among all its members.

It is the time for both Rohingya and Rakhine to shake hands and reconstruction a peaceful ,prosperous , and fruitful society, both can be role models for the other Myanmar nationals.

Yours Faithfully
Aung Aung Oo
Chin Pain Road
Kun Dan Quarter

Edited for by Tim King




Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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naing win zahid October 10, 2012 5:15 am (Pacific time)

Burmanization is a hardblock to have peace between Rakhine and Rohingya.

SAYED ALAM September 3, 2012 3:41 pm (Pacific time)

It is true statement and poor civilians don't understand that some Rakhine politician, business people, and racial hatred people don't want to live peacefully in Arakan. Like KML who doesn't want Arakan to be peace. Above writer is a true person who wants real peace asking everybody to be together in their societies. I really respect your well opinion. You are a peace lover. May Allah bless you.

KML September 2, 2012 4:50 am (Pacific time)

Stop your lier, and invading. Rakhines are never brother or relation. Go back your Bangaladesh country.

Editor: With attitudes like this, it is no wonder the Buddhists are losing their reputation in the world.  This is very sad and disappointing.  If you read this KML, tell me why you would say such a thing.  Confirm that you are a Buddhist, and then explain why such hateful words such as your words  are justified.

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