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Denying Rohingya as an Indigenous Race of Myanmar is Insulting Buddhism, Historians, and DemocracyAung Aung Oo for Salem-News.com
Aung San promised the Rohingya community full indigenous rights in 1946.
(SITTWE, Rakhine State, Myanmar) - Five years ago, I met a Christain saint, Thomas Michel in a Church of Yangon, he asked me about
When answered Islam, he introduced me to a book called, Love and Tolerance by M Fethullah Gulen in which he wrote acknowledgement that inspired me toward a global civilization in Islamic perspective.
300 years ago, Thomas Jefferson had denounced slavery, people warmly welcomed the statement "All men are created equal" and have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".
But for the Rohingya of Myanmar: equity, liberty, and happiness are like a legend which has not occurred in their lives since 1965.
Indeed, the lives of the Rohingyas people became worse than the slaves of Africa.
Who are Rohingya?
Many historians have written about the Rohingyas’ existence in Myanmar with reliable sources, reasonable history backgrounds, and primary sources. After independence, they were accepted as an indigenous race of Myanmar.
Rohingya people are kind, generous, helpful, peaceful, dedicated servants of Myanmar throughout Myanmar history. They had a beautiful social foundation which you can’t find in other indigenous races of Myanmar such as Samaji.
Samaji, in the Rohingya language, is a community in which there is a leader, advisors, and common people. It helps to solve all social problems including marriage, fighting, quarreling, and building a house. Whenever needed, it helps a community to solve problems. If a person opposes Samaji’s decision and its consequence, they are deprived of the community’s help. In this way, they are well organized to improve social development, and to contribute for the welfare of society.
Rohingya people have their own measurement scale such as Sheer, Aari, Feet, and Dun which was unique for their society. They are very broad-minded persons; their language is rich mixture of Bangali, Persian, Arabic, Urdu, and English. They can easily learn other languages. In ancient time, they used Sanskrit, Bangali, and later the Urdu alphabet, and now they have their own alphabet. The foundation of the Rohingyas’ unique culture and traditions was laid. Rohingya writers and poets wrote their history in their own language but Myanmar dictators have been banned to be a living language.
Thousands of historians in different ages wrote about the existence of Rohingya since the 8th century A.D.
Recently, a Rohingya columnist, Mayu Myo Aung appealed to the President with 200 people's signatures verifying the authenticity of the Rohingya’s existence in Myanmar. In this modern information age, it is very easy to know and to confirm a statement. So denying Rohingya’s existence is insulting both history and historians.
Burmese Government and Rohingya
During the General Aung San’s unification trip to Akyab in 1946, he promised the Rohingya community full indigenous rights.
The former Prime Minister of Burma, U Nu, in a speech over Radio Rangoon at 8.00 pm on 25 September 1954, confirmed Rohingya’s existence.
Again the Burmese Defense Minister and Prime Minister U Ba Swe at mass rallies for the people of Buthidaung and Maungdaw on the 3rd and 4th November 1959 said:
On September 25, 1960 Prime Minister of Burma U Nu announced on national radio that the Rohingyas of Arakan are one of the ethnic races of Burma.
The permission to form the ‘University Rohingya Students Association’ by Dean of Students, University of Rangoon in 1959-60 and 1960-61 academic years respectively. (Foreign students are not allowed to form association under Burmese Universities Act.)
The speech of Deputy Chief of Army Brigadier General Aung Gyi, The New Light of Myanmar Daily, July 8, 1961 showed Rohingya’s authenticity.
Khit Yee Journal, Vol. l2, No.6, July 18, 1961 published by Defence Ministry of Burma mentioned Rohingya’s existence language program, along with other indigenous races, was allowed to broadcast from Burma Broadcasting Service from May 1961 to March 1965.
An article on Rohingya in Burmese Encyclopedia, 1964, Vol. 9 page 89 published by General Ne Win Government.
The High School Geography of Burma, Ministry of Education 1978, indicated the settlement of minorities in a map where North Arakan was shown as Rohingya area.
Islam and Buddhism in Arakan State
I am a Muslim by birth but I don’t believe any religious perception without any evidence. I study not only Islam but also other religions too. I saw Buddhists and Muslims have been living in Arakan State for centuries, you can see works of Muslim writers on the wall of Buddhist Pagodas, Stone Plates, and Monasteries. They were like brothers; sharing and caring, recognizing and respecting each other for many centuries.
I believe Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism, as a great teacher, because he said “ I am not first Buddha, nor last Buddha, before me there were a lot of Buddha, after me there will be Buddhas, the last Buddha might be Arimitiya. When I study Gospel of Buddha, I like Gautama’s teaching of Eight Fold Paths, which is very similar to Islamic sincerity and righteousness. In my perspective, Buddha means Messiah, Prophet, Messenger, and Great Teacher, like Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.
There are many similarities between Buddhism and Islam that help them for peaceful coexistence. Religions have never been barriers for harmonious and peaceful coexistence. The famous Buddhist monk, Sayadaw U Zawtika, wrote a lot of books regarding the essence of Buddhism. According to Buddhist perspective, denying a reality is insulting Gautama’s teaching.
Who divided these two brothers, Rohingya and Rakhine
Dictators: Burma's first dictator, Ne Win, engineered citizenship laws to justify the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya -- a policy he proposed in the wake of the mass expulsion of Indians in the 1960s and a ban on Muslims joining the army and government. This was an ideological crusade led by a notorious xenophobe who orchestrated Burma's retreat into isolation and economic ruin. That the pro-democracy forces now call for similar measures against the Rohingya has merely helped to rekindle his legacy. (Francis Wade is a freelance journalist and analyst covering Burma and south-east Asia )
Awakyunetha: There is a lot of Rakhine Buddhists living in Sundarbons and Bomang state of Bangladesh. After independence, thousands of Rakhines from Bangladesh entered into Rakhine State, and got identity cards. When Rakhine was promoted to Rakhine State, number of Rakhine illegal immigrants increased dramatically .Local original Rakhine call those illegal immigrants Awakyunetha; their monasteries are separated from local Rakhines’, as their accent of dialect and behaviors differ from local , native Rakhine hate their attitude. Some of native Rakhine openly opposed Awakyunetha’s attitude ; Saya Tha Zan Maung, Saya Saw Aung, and Captain Htun Kyaw Oo. Captain Htun Kyaw Oo was sentenced 20 years jail when he wrote Rohingya are indigenous race of Arakan by dictator. Among the Rakhine Buddhists whoever deny existence of Rohingya is Awakyunetha like Dr. Aye Chan, Dr. Aye Kyaw, and Dr. Aye Maung. When Awakyunethas got chances for leadership, they used Buddhism to unify all Rakhine, encouraged people not to use the word Awakyuneth but there are Awakyunetha monasteries. In Myanmar, monastery is a safe place for all criminals; to be a monk is an easy job, shave head, and wear monk dress, every Buddhist should worships him even he is a criminal because of his dress, Awakyunetha use Buddhist monasteries effectively.
General Khin Nyunt and President Thein Sein are two famous actors in Myanmar modern politics, listening their speeches, angels may bow down in respect, discovering their deeds, devils may feel ashamed that they are worse than devils. They have been using Awakyunetha for their benefits ,in return they denounced Rohingya’s existence in order to get Awakyunetha’s support.
Rohingya Need Urgent Humanitarian Aid
Nearly one million Rohingyas in 14 townships of Arakan State, Myanmar ,are starving; they are not allowed to buy anything from the markets, they are not allowed to move one place to another, some aid groups could hardly reach to provide limited ration only in Sittwe, NGOs, and other groups who want to help Rohingyas in other parts of Arakan State are not allowed to go there by local authority, Rakhine Buddhists. Rohingyas have no way to survive; especially children and aged people are dying every day. No reliable media group gets permission to discover the destiny of Rohingyas.
BROUK called on the international community to protect Rohingya people immediately.
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