Sunday, 25 January 2015

By M.S. Anwar 
As Myanmar’s government is all set to resume the census on Rohingya population tomorrow, the Rohingyas in Arakan (Rakhine) State fear that they will be forced to accept ‘Bengali,’ instead of ‘Rohingya,’ as their ethnic identity.

During the nationwide census carried out in March and April last year, the Myanmar government took extremely brutal measures against the Rohingya people. However, the people were steadfast and still resisted from being forcibly classified as Bengalis.

The so-called citizenship verification process will be conducted according to 1982 Citizenship Law of Burma which will render the Rohingyas to be without the legitimate citizenship.

The local Rohingyas in Arakan view that the attempt by the Myanmar (Burmese) government to classify them as Bengalis is being made in direct response to the Resolution by United Nations (UN) to give full citizenship to the Rohingyas. The Burmese government is notorious for ignoring the international calls to respect the human rights or rather acting contrary and continuing committing crimes against humanity.

Once Rohingyas are verified as Bengalis by force, tortures or any means, the Burmese government can ignore the UN’s call and in turn, urge the UN to use Bengalis for Rohingyas in the international field.

The attempt by the Myanmar (Burmese) government to classify them as Bengalis is being made in direct response to the Resolution by United Nations (UN) to give full citizenship to the Rohingyas.
“We urge all our people, at home and abroad, to stand united and show solidarity at this critical time. Like we did to resist the forced classification of our people as Bengalis during March-April last year! It is a litmus test for us. Once we pass this test as a people or a nation, the government will have to act according to the call by the United Nations. And we will get back our full citizenship which we lost due to 1982 Citizenship Law” said an elder Rohingya in Maungdaw.  

As preliminary steps, the Burmese authority has already started posing threats to tortures, imprisonments or even death threats to the Rohingya people after linking them with the now non-existent rebel groups such as Rohingya Solidarity Organizations (*RSO).  Besides, the locals see the (so-called) citizenship verification process as an ethnic cleansing act by the Burmese government.

“Many Rohingyas have National Registration Cards (NRC or in Burmese). And their NRC numbers mentioned in the family registration list or the existing census documents of the government. Therefore, the authority is said to change the current family registration list with new ones so that no NRC numbers no remain on the official documents.

At the moment, if any Rohingya is on a journey or away from home for months during census, the authority truly write that he is on a journey. But this time, he/she is absent from home at the time of the census, the authority will permanently erase his/her from the official census documents. Consequently, he/she will not be able to come back home and live there legally. Hence, it is an obvious sign of ethnic cleansing.

Besides, it is said that the authority will list down the numbers of the Muslim Religious scholars separately” said a Rohingya Activist behalf of MYARF, a group of Human Rights Activists in Maungdaw.

On the other hand, during the recent visit by the Rakhine State’s Chief Minister, Maung Maung Ohn, and other government officials to the Thakkay Pyin village also known as Sakki Fara in Sittwe (Akyab), he asked Rohingyas to participate in their (self-coined) citizenship process according to 1982 Citizenship Law. He tried to coax Rohingya people using some sugar-coated words of the significant improvement in the socioeconomic life of the people if they participate in the process.

It is extremely crucial for the Myanmar’s hybrid civilian government to have more than 1 Million votes of Rohingyas in their favor against the National League for Democracy (NLD) going to participate in the election in full-fledged form this time.

However, the Rohingyas are said to have replied to the minister saying “we have been living here since the time of immemorial. We are not illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Bangladesh has come into existence only after 1971. Our forefathers have lived here. We are living here. We have been here since before 1823.

Therefore, we are by birth citizens. We need not go through any citizenship verification. We need not apply for any citizenship newly.”


Last but not the least; Myanmar has announced that the country’s election is going to take place later this year. Therefore, it is extremely crucial for the Myanmar’s hybrid civilian government to have more than 1 Million votes of Rohingyas in their favor against the National League for Democracy (NLD) going to participate in the election in full-fledged form this time.

Since the government’s recent proposal on granting suffrage to the *white card holders met with strong objections from the oppositions, it is required for the government to issue a kind of legal document to the white-card holders for getting more votes. On the other hand, it (the legal document) should not ensure the white card holders to have the status of the full-fledged citizenship. That is where the citizenship verification process of Rohingya according to of 1982 Citizenship has come into implementation. A successful implementation of the law against the Rohingyas will lead them to lose their ethnic identity ‘Rohingya’ forever
  MS Anwar

For decades, Rohingyas have been the victims of racial and religious persecutions in Myanmar largely dominated by Neo-Nazi Buddhists. Hence, oppression against this community is nothing new and had been going on silently until the state-sponsored violence that started in June, last year. The violence against them, which is going on until today, is just a transformation of the silent persecution into an open and widespread violence.

United Nations call them to be one of the most persecuted people on the earth. There is a Human Rights Watch (HRW), one of most of the credible human rights watchdog in the world, which announces with all the evidences that Rohingyas have been subjected to Ethnic Cleansing. In reality, many in the international community are calling it Genocide. President Obama, Desmond Tu Tu, Dalai Lama, Ramos Hortha and many other famous personalities urged Burmese government to stop the ethnic cleansing. But does it have any impacts on Burmese regime? No impact at all! In fact, the violence against Muslims is escalating even more.

The more the Burmese regime is urged to stop the violence, the more the violence is taking place. After all, why? The answer might be simple to those who know about Burmese socio-political structures. Though the violence is portrayed as sectarian, in reality, it is a politically motivated violence targeting Muslims, their religious infrastructures and their properties and businesses. Therefore, no matter be how great one’s personality or how pious he, he cannot influence to cease the violence.

There is a Neo-Nazi fascist skinned-head called Wirathu, the abbot of the Mandalay Masurein Monastery, who has been propagating Islamophobia in the so-called defense of Buddhism. Buddhism is a philosophy that doesn’t need any defense. The fascist monk might know what Buddhism teaches but he doesn’t follow it at all. The very first tenet of Buddhism is “Do No Harm” to the creatures let alone killing human beings. Nevertheless, all his speeches are about “Doing Harms.” A member of Buddhism can’t break its very first ruling in its defense!! We can only label such fanatic extremist as a terrorist. This terrorist head has so many terrorist gangs under the name of 969.

Coming to the point, in Myanmar, one can’t, yet, protest or propagate anything without the consent of the government or that goes against the government. The reforms that are portrayed to be taking place in Myanmar by the western media are just nothing but full-packed lies for their own benefits. Therefore, Wirathu and his 969 gang are well-supported by the government itself. Many at times, the Burmese regime and Wirathu have spoken the same language regarding anti-Muslim violence with vested political interest. Hence, it goes without saying that they are the birds that are flocking their same feathers together!!

Therefore, the violence in Myanmar will not simply stop contrary to some people’s thought that it can be solved through diplomacy. To go through diplomacy, one must be able to find someone who understands the language of diplomacy or is willing to work diplomatically. For instance, to communicate in English, one must find out a man who understands English or willing to communicate in it! Awfully, Burmese regime is deaf to any diplomatic language. They neither understand it nor will to go through it even if they understand.

Someone, recently, has rightly pointed out that diplomacy is all about lying. You lie for your interest, I lie for my interest. Obama lies. Thein Sein lies. What is so new in it? Obama said he urged Thein Sein to end the violence but never seems to exert pressure to do so. Thein Sein, in turn, said he will try to quell the violence. See what happened right after his trip to USA. Many houses, shops, businesses, religious buildings owned by Muslims in Lashio, Shan state, were destroyed by the government sponsored 969 terrorist Gangs. Besides, few Muslims were killed as well. This is what you call a real DOPLOMACY!

So what to do to stop the ever escalating violence and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar? There is a saying that “one must use diamond to shape another piece of diamond.” If you don’t take lessons from distant people, you must at least learn something from other ethnic people in Myanmar and their struggles. Kachins, Karens and Shans are recognized as ethnic communities in Myanmar. Yet, they revolt and take up arms because they are considered inferior and not treated equally by the Burmese supremacists. Now, these communities have got opportunities to have dialogues with the government to demand the due rights and status they deserve. All because of their difficult armed-struggles! Alas, even if Rakhine extremists, who are killing Rohingyas, can have armed militant wings called Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) and Arakan Army (AA), why can’t Rohingyas who are subjected to ethnic cleansing take up arms for their survival.

So what are you waiting for if you want to survive with dignity on your own land? Stop giving speeches in the air-conditioned rooms, issuing and sending letters and begging for your due status and rights. Go and take arms up. It is all legal according to both all the major religions and the international laws. In the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is mentioned “whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”

No people in the world had, are having and will be having their freedom without sacrificing their wealth, blood and lives. And Rohingyas can’t be exempted from this reality.

About Me

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Maung daw, Arakan state, Myanmar (Burma)
I am an independent man who voted to humanitarian aid.