|Photo - AFP|
December 14, 2012
There are many reasons on why the violence against Rohingyas and Kamans started in 2012.
For the current pseudo civilian government, it is:
- To divert the attention of people from its failures to tackle political and economic crises such as offensive war against Kachin civilians for more than a year, Myitsone Damn crisis, Country-wide protests for electricity, farmers’ demonstrations to get their lands back, labour protests and extreme poverty in the country etc throughout their long reigns- the way the late dictator Ne Win did by creating anti-Chinese violence from 1967 throughout 1970s.
- To Depopularise Daw Aung San Suu Kyi nationally and internationally.
- To gain critically required people supports for the next election in 2015.
- To make foreign-based Burmese media and some foreign media (that have long been damaging them) untrustworthy among the Burmese people.
- To easily militarise Arakan to protect foreign investments benefitting them.
- And to finally be able to crawl back to the previous military dictatorships.
- As the US has been changing their geo-political strategy towards Asia-Pacific region and South-East Asia to contain China’s rising as the next global power, Burma found itself at the centre US global strategy. So, US has been re-engaging with Burma as it is known to everyone.
- In 2001, US declared “War on Terror” and its war with Talibans and Al-Qaeda. So, it has become easier for every anti-Islamist to brand any Muslim to have connections with either Al-Qaeda or Taliban for his/her respective gains. So, Burmese regime is one of those who want to manipulate “the War on Terror” to persecute innocent Rohingyas because their religion is Islam.
- And with the so-called relaxation of the restrictions on freedom of expression and media in Burma, Rakhine extremists have been promoting anti-Rohingya/anti-Muslim movements nationally and internationally and the brainwashed racists in the country are openly showing their supports towards it. So, it is the perfect opportunity for the regime to implement their plan to commit genocide against Rohingyas and Kamans and gain political advantage out of it.
For the Rakhine (Magh) extremists, it is because:
- They have been carrying resentment and hatred against Rohingyas and Kamans right from the time of assassination of Indian Prince Shah Shuja by Rakhine King Sanda Sudama in 1661. King Sudama murdered Shah Shuja because he (Shah Shuja) rejected the king’s proposal for one of his daughters in marriage, what Sudama perceived as dishonoring to him. It is said King Sudama abducted the daughter of Shah Shuja, raped and killed her. But Rakhine chronicles concealed the ugly behavior of the king by stating that Shah Shuja was murdered because he tried to conquer the kingdom for himself.
- In 1784, Burman brutal king Maung Waing invaded Arakan. He killed thousands of both Rakhines and Rohingyas, while many were taken as slaves to the Mandalay NayPyiDaw. He destroyed many ancient and cultural monuments of both Rohingyas and Rakhines. He was the first person to seed enmity between Rakhines and Rohingyas.
- Again in 1942, a riot occurred between Rakhines and Rohingyas due to the instigations of some extremist Monks and third parties. During the riot, more than 100,000 Rohingyas were killed and few thousands of Rakhines were killed as well. Before 1942, Rohingyas were more or less equally scattered all over Arakan as Rakhines were. But after that, Rohingyas were driven out and pushed to the two townships known as Buthidaung and Maung Daw. Buthidaung and Maung Daw were the only two townships where Rohingyas could defeat Rakhines and in other 15 townships, Rohingyas were systematically defeated. During the period, Rakhines were in control of the Arakan administration.
- Rohingyas and Kamans have become the major barrier to the Rakhines’ struggle for a separate and independent Rakhine nation to be made up of only Rakhine Buddhists. Rakhines perceive Bamas as equally dangerous enemy as Rohingyas and Kamans.
- After the election in Burma in 2010, Rakhine extremists from Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP) have gained control of Arakan administration.
- Their separatist armed group called Arkan Liberation Party (ALP) has become stronger.
- Rakhine extremist leaders see the potential in Burmese regime that they want to scapegoat Rohingyas for the political gains.
- Beside, today, Burmese regime shows willingness to make peace trust with ALP at least for show off to the world.
So, it is the perfect time for Rakhine extremists to get rid of these Rohingya and Kaman barriers.
Why have Rohingyas become so vulnerable and been easily victimized today?
After 1942 Rohingya massacre, three groups among Rohingyas emerged.
- A group that no longer believed that they could co-exist with Rakhines and Bamas. They tried to combine Mayu region with the newly formed Pakistan but failed.
- A group that believed that they could exist with them. They opposed combining with Pakistan and happily cooperated with Burmese government.
- A neutral group that would embrace whichever was better.
However, later years, all Rohingyas came to understand that they could only exist in the Buddhist dominant Burma only when they could take up arms. So they did. An armed-group for Rohingyas’ freedom called Mujahideen emerged. (Note: The term “Mujahideen” becomes an extreme term used for the terrorists or likewise today. Mujahideen is an Arabic term merely meaning “Strugglers.”) But due to the lack of unity and common target among Rohingyas and their cooperation with the freedom-fighting group, the group’s struggle failed and they surrendered to Burmese army in 1961 but with a guarantee that Rohingyas would be full citizenship as well as equal rights. But later years, the Ne Win’s government not only refused to fulfill the promise but also started to persecute Rohingyas more than ever. Therefore, Rohingyas took up arms again in 1980s and their arm-struggling for equal status and rights in Burma was continual until 2000.
They completely abandoned armed struggling after 2000 and started to wrongly believe that they can gain their freedom and equal status by means of diplomacy and without arm-struggling. To me, it seems that abandoning arms completely is the biggest mistake that Rohingyas have ever made. Have any people in the world’s history gained what they wanted without armed-struggling? Diplomacy bears no fruits without the back-up of an armed-struggling!
- So, Rohingyas have become poison-less snakes that need not be afraid of.
- They have no friends in Burma but those people who hate them.
- Many middle-eastern Muslim countries have been struggling with their own internal problems.
- Rakhine Buddhists in Bangladesh penetrated its government and the ruling government is always hostile towards Rohingyas.
- Powerful Muslim nations in ASEAN have heavily invested and been investing in Burma and they will not put much pressure on Burmese government to end the killings of Rohingyas and Kamans.
Therefore, taking everything into consideration, the year 2012 is the perfect time for Bama fascist regime, racist Bamas and terrorist Rakhines to do what they want against these defenseless and helpless peoples called Rohingyas and Kamans.
M.S. Anwar is an activist and student studying Bachelor of Arts in Business Studies at Westminster International College, Malaysia