Burma’s Rohingya Dilemma

Yesterday in Rangoon I witnessed firsthand the tensions that are gripping not only Arakan State but also, increasingly, other parts of Burma.

Walking around the city, I saw Buddhists and Muslims smiling as they came and went from temples and mosques that were full of people praying for peace. At the same time, however, I noticed that police had been deployed near Shwedagon and Sule pagodas, the city’s most famous religious shrines.

Beneath its calm exterior, Rangoon seems to be bracing for an outbreak of sectarian conflict. The question on everyone’s lips is whether the violence in Arakan State will spread to Burma’s largest city, which is home to people of many faiths, including Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus.

Aung Zaw is founder and editor of the Irrawaddy magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]

One man I spoke to, a businessman, said that he has enough food and water in his house to last a month—just in case. He even confided that his stockpile included weapons.

But even as fear of religious conflict grips the city, there are many who insist that the situation in Arakan State is not really about religion at all. One prominent public figure taking this position is Ko Ko Gyi, the 88 Generation leader who last week declared that the “Rohingya issue”—that is, the status of Arakan State’s Muslim minority—is essentially a matter of sovereignty.

When I asked him what he meant by this, he said that it wasn’t for other countries to decide who qualifies to be recognized as a citizen of Burma. He said he sympathized with the Rohingya, many of whom have suffered as refugees in other countries, but added that they still could not be considered one of Burma’s 135 ethnic groups.

Some non-Burmese have reacted to Ko Ko Gyi’s remarks with a certain amount of consternation, believing that he, as a former political prisoner, should have stood up for the rights of an undeniably oppressed group. But inside Burma, his words were welcomed and spread quickly on Facebook, while local journals that reported his views soon sold out. The consensus among Burmese, it seems, is that the Rohingya are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh—a view that also treats this as an issue of sovereignty rather than religious animosity.

Indeed, many—especially ethnic Arakanese—have been resentful of the portrayal of this as a religious conflict, even though many have resorted to racial and religious slurs in their verbal attacks on the “Bengalis,” as they prefer to call the Rohingya.

The Arakanese are fiercely proud of their ethnic identity, even drawing a strong line between themselves and their fellow Buddhists, the ethnic Burman majority. In the minds of many Arakanese, then, this is a struggle to preserve that identity. They believe that if they don’t push back against the Rohingya, their own culture will be threatened by an influx of “aliens” from a country many times more populous than their own homeland.

For other observers, however, the concerns are very different, but no less pressing. Tin Oo, a veteran leader of the opposition National League for Democracy, which just months ago finally joined the government-led reform process by entering Parliament, told me he worried that the violence in Arakan State could delay this delicate transition to a more democratic form of governance.

As a former commander-in-chief of Burma’s armed forces who was once posted in Arakan State, Tin Oo said that the region has always had the potential to become a breeding ground for sectarian violence. If it finally realizes that potential now, it could be a serious setback for those arguing for the need to open the country further, he said.

So far, President Thein Sein has handled the situation in Arakan State carefully, imposing a state of military emergency under Section 413 of the country’s 2008 Constitution—the first since his government came into power last year—but also urging all sides to set aside their differences in a television address to the country.

“If we stick to endless hatred and revenge by killing each other, it’s possible that the danger will be more widespread, not only in Arakan State,” warned Thein Sein, adding that the country’s “fledgling democracy” could easily become a casualty of the violence.

I happened to be with a group of former generals during the broadcast of Thein Sein’s speech, but it was difficult to know what they thought about the issue. One who was sitting next to me signaled his agreement with the president’s words, but then fell silent, as if resigned to the cycle of violence that seems to fuel conflict after conflict in the country.

Many people I spoke with agreed that this was a major challenge for Thein Sein. “It’s not going to be an easy ride,” said one diplomat.

While it was still far from clear how this situation would turn out for the president, some observers seemed relieved when he allowed senior UN officials to visit Arakan State—in marked contrast to the former regime’s instinctive impulse to hide the country’s dirty laundry from the eyes of outsiders.

Some long-time political observers whispered, however, that hardline elements within the military may have had a hand in the violence, though they could offer no hard evidence. Others said that the army wanted to launch a military operation to drive out the Rohingya, but the president did not give the green light.

In an effort to increase transparency, last week the government formed a committee to investigate the rape and murder of an ethnic Arakanese woman that sparked the violence, as well as the lynching of a group of Muslims that led to a series of attacks and counterattacks by Rohingya and Arakanese mobs.

While many educated Burmese saw this as a step in the right direction, on the streets, popular opinion was more in favor of taking a hard line against the Rohingya.

Many decried the corruption of immigration officials, who they blamed for letting the “Bengalis” into the country in the first place. One wealthy businessman, who had hastily raised a large amount of money to donate to Arakanese displaced by the violence, even suggested building a strong fence to defend the country from further incursions.

Even a veteran political activist bristled when he heard that the US had expressed concern over the Rohingya issue. “I want to know how the US handles its border with Mexico and how they treated Muslims after 9/11,” he said angrily.

In the absence of any hard information about what is actually happening in Arakan State right now—due, in part, to government efforts to rein in “irresponsible” media—and the lack of a healthy, rational debate on the status of the Rohingya, it seems unlikely that the situation there will improve anytime soon. And that’s bad news for everybody.

44 Responses to Burma’s Rohingya Dilemma

  1. The problem is that conservative Arakanese have hijacted this conflict and taken the whole country as a hostage as if Muslims are invading Myanmar,buddhism is under danger and the sovereignty is at risk. The issue of Rohingya has been around for many decades and has never threatened anywhere outside the areas concerned. Rohingya are the poorest of the poor and to declare war on them is just simple inhumane and shameful. Some Arakanese are fueling the conflict to spread to other areas for thier own interest, with the expense of the rest of the pople. Majority of people in Myanmar wants to stay out of this conflict and allow the government to handle this conflict. Enough is enough!

    • Great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a free and democratic mind!

    • I Like your comment “conservative Arakanese have hijacted this conflict and taken the whole country as a hostage”.
      In this drama, it seems some hidden hand willing to punish Rakines, Rohingyas/Bengalis and probably president Thein Sein. Shooting 3 birds with a single bullet!!

      It seems squeezing any hidden arms and ammunition from Rakhines. They are very recalcitrant and not cooperating with USDP.
      Rohingyas are also demanding their rights worldwide and those westerners willing to lift sanction are keeping that petty string alive. No single political platform ( USDP, NLD, Rakhines, and so on) willing to comply. Even DASSK, while talking about refugees in Thailand, never mentioned refugees in the western border, one of the five protracted refugee situation defined by UN. Human Rights in Burma seems very selective!!!!!

    • Almost convincing but sorry, do we sense the thin end of a wedge being driven between the Rakhine and the Bamar here? An ominous threat, real and present danger, to Rakhine State poses a threat to us all. The Buddhist Rakhine’s history vis-a-vis Burmese aggression that culminated in its annexation in 1784, and since colonial times invasion, settlement and aggression from another direction is a tragic one.

      It’s a demographic time bomb ticking even with zero immigration from now. Assam and Manipur also happen to be on the receiving end of this uncontrolled population explosion.

      Burmese Muslims know that they must distance themselves from a quarrel that does not concern them. It is not religion, race or colour at issue, it’s a sovereignty and territorial issue as the 88 generation student leaders including Mya Aye, a Burmese Muslim, rightly concurred with the rest of the nation.

      Minority rights is one thing, illegal immigration, falsification of history claiming they were earlier settlers than the natives, even obliterating the existence of the Rakhine to insist that the Arakan was Muslim until 1784, and usurping the land with outright aggression
      are an entirely different kettle of fish. So other Muslims had better keep out of this.

      When history is being rewritten on a daily basis by the ‘champions of the most persecuted minority’ according to the latter’s dictates, it is worth revisiting what Dr Aye Chan had to say in his paper titled The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of BUrma (Myanmar) published by the SOAS in the Bulletin of Burma Research, Autumn 2005 (see pp397,401,406-7,411-2,414).

    • great. yes this is the mind being spread among people of Burma to Hate Rohingya. this is the first step. the final step to declare the Rohingya as illegal. same famula why not being applied for ketchen and shaan. only for Rohingya. because they are muslim.

  2. I’m not as pessimistic. While nothing got solved and this will probably flare up again in the future, I think things will calm down quickly as people get on with their daily living.

  3. Shame on the Burmese ..shame !

    • if shame on burmese then dont come on this website.
      your name speaks like you are also a Illegal Immigrant from Bangladesh..GO BACK.. you trouble makers..

  4. Its laughable to suggest that Bangladeshis migrate to Burma. It’s probably the 300,000 Rohingyas refugees living in Cox’s Bazaar who move around the border. They belong to Burma, not Bangladesh.

    And stereotyping Rohingyas as Islamists and terrorists is racist. They are poor and illiterate, and often fall prey to extremist tendencies. But its because of the decades of oppressive, discriminatory and xenophobic policies of the Burmese junta, that Arakan finds itself in this situation. Please recognize and respect their human rights and dignity of the Rohingya, General Aung San promised the Muslims of Arakan their rights so please honor his pledge. Settler or native, there has always been a Muslim minority of Bengali descent in Arakan.

    • You are a first class bigot or you are intentionally deaf, dumb, and blind or totally ignorant. Retrace the history of the Rohingyas, perhaps you will get a better picture…and, as you have rightly mentioned they are Bengalis from East Bengal and not indigenous people of the region. And, as much, as I hate the previous junta they had nothing to do with the explosion of Rohingyas-this is the dilemma; send them to another Muslim country like Indonesia, if Bangladesh is refusing their own kind.

  5. Are Chinese considered one of Burma’s 135 ethnic groups according to Ko Ko Gyi. One shouldn’t be blind on one eye!
    In most modern nation states in the world, citizenship is independent of ethnicity. Burmese citizenship, immigration and residency laws should be formulated clearly in accordance with general universal human rights principles (as is stated in the UN charter for example) and these laws should be imposed strictly and justly (no bribery and corruption please) on every one who lives in Burma, irrespective of ethnicity and religion.

  6. Thank you for the articles about the sectarian conflict in Rhakine State.
    I too find myself saddened to see fellow Burmese’ racially charged comments.
    Poverty, intense frustration in daily lives, corruption and oppression, lack of faith in justice system all make a time bomb for any sparks. When there are no legitimate and legal outlets for their grievances, it sets off an explosion, people become a law unto themselves. On top of it, sadly a lot of the time the racial card becomes a useful tool for governments for their own political gain.
    Will we never learn from history and our own experience???
    A system with decades of corruption and lack of rule of law have come undone. Government, all religious leaders and respected community leaders must come forward and co-ordinate urgently to calm the public anger or we will derail the reform process.
    Also it is good government’s duty to educate people about racial, ethnic and religious tolerance. And that is the only way forward for peaceful coexistence and progress of human civilization.

  7. The political word “SOVEREIGNTY” that I learn and understand is some what different from Ko Ko Gyi point of view. So, I like to share the defination of the word.

    “In the form of political community known as the “state”, hich has come to dominate the modern world, an organized structure of government rules a population living within fixd territorial boundaries.The existances of the state rquires SOVEREIGNTY, THAT IS, A HIGHEST AUTHORITY AT THE PINNACLE OF GOVERNMNTAL ORGANIZATION. Sovereign authority may be distributed between levels of a federal system; it may be divided among a head of state, a ruling committee or parliament, or the people themselves, but it must exist somewhere.

    The misunderstanding of sovereignty is that, we can do as we like in our territory whether the action is moral or totally opposite of morality. If the meaning of sovereignty is “free to do anything the government want or the majourity populace want”, there would ever be international interuption of mass killing by the government. There will never be action against agressor. Sovereignty power has it’s own limits. Soverignty is not above humanity. Please remember that. Ko Ko Gyi should remembr that he can walk free and breath outside of prison air only because of failure of immoral soverignty.

  8. Guys!! Understand the plot done by the Thein Sein’s regime! Today, Thein Sein regime is facing so many critical problems such as demands to immediately stop the genocidal war in Kachin, Myitsone Dam crisis, Electricity crisis, Water Crisis, labors’ and farmers demonstrations and extreme poverty in the country. When they are unable to solve these crises, the only way remaining for them is to divert people’s minds from the current crises by triggering racial and religious riots. The regime’s know well that when it comes to religion, most of the Myanmar people tend to be intolerant.

    Creating a riot between Rakhines and Muslims and they themselves behaving like Chaung Thu Daw pretending as if they are protecting the people will be a good tactic for them. Therefore, the whole riot has been being masterminded by the USDA regime to gain political advantage by taking innocent people’s lives (both of Rakhines and Muslims). Since Rakhine are xenophobic towards the Muslims, they have found a motive in them that can be useful for the regime. That’s what they have done. It is an effort by them to go back to the previous ruling system and make NLD into blacklist of some people since NLD can no way support the massacres as it is led by Daw Suu. But most of the people of Myanmar don’t use their brains in these kinds of matters and go with emotions. Rather, I’d like to say they are too dumb to understand regime’s plan.

    If the Govt is not killing the Muslims violently, why didn’t they allow international media, observers, red crosses to go to the Rakhine state? Why are only EMG and alike carrying out and covering there? I doubt! I have never seen a report on EMG that they have covered the losses of Muslims. After all, in a riot both parties will lose lives and properties more or less. I am not favoring anyone but thinking logically.

  9. It is a shame and strange that majority (as per the writer of this article, though I doubt it) Burmese are acting as racist towards a vulnerable minority i.e Rohinga and vilifying them as sub-human. Interestingly, the same so called majority also wants world support to get rid of oppressive military for better freedom but same sometime denying basic right to Rohinga’s. Isn’t Burmese people are overestimating their countries attractiveness. Bangladeshis are not fool to choose Burma (this is one of the poorest countries on earth) over US, Europe or Australia. By the way Rohinga’s existed in Burma far before even Bangladesh was born. These attitude straight way disqualify you to claim Buddist, just read what Budda says and I am damn sure he never asked his followers to be racist. Do you know that Budda was born in Nepal not in Burma. In this world as quickly as you learn that you have to live with others, it is better for you.

  10. Every early morning Buddhist send peace to all living things in this world with their prayers. The same people are shouting to send Rohingyas out of their country,and Rohingyas who are living somewhat like in a big jail without any single human right and suffering from daily multiple abuses by others. They are in a frightened atmosphere. But majority of burmese media make them seem cruel and can annihilate Rakine in very short period.
    Can they do this? They have now become another victim, like sand bags to practice political boxing.

  11. I cannot understand how even Burmese intellectuals and oppositional activists stick to their double standards. If “illegal migrants” should be pushed out of a country, then why do these same people demand that people from Burma can illegally (according to their host country’s legislation) stay in Thailand, China, India, Malaysia and many more countries? What makes them better? And how can citizenship be considered something natural and indisputable in a country where nation-building has always been exceptionally painfull and where the question of belonging to Burma or Myanmar is still not solved for many ethnic groups?
    Seems like many people (of all sides involved) just use the weakest members of society to vent their frustration. The only winners in the end are the “security forces”, polishing up their image and presenting themselves as guarantor of law and security and as defender of the majoritiy’s interests.

  12. GMLondon,
    Are you judging Burmese affair with European eyes? One thing, please tell the truth feeling of yours’ about the gypsies and illegal immigrants from Africa and eastern Europe trying to gt into England with Semi trucks and some other ways? Are you guys really sharing the world, wealth, land and knowledge? How about the burning issues of Muslim women with Burkar? Are you guys really welcome different culture in England?

    Remember one thing, Burma is more than a century behind England in every way. Even England protect it’s border by immigration, rule of law, why are you asking Burma to open border? How will you prove that Rohingya are not Bangladesh desent? The proof right now is that they speak Bangladesh language rather than one of Burmese Ethnic language. Their appearance is more of Bangladesh than any Burmese people.

    Complex political, culture and religion issues has to solve with great patience and pain stakig wisdom, not by blaming. Burma should guard it’s border and souverigenty the same way as any other country guarding it’s own border. Sharing the the land doesn’t means that giving everything away without recieving anythin back. Have a common sense.

    • Tom Tun,

      i dont blame you for the mentality you are manifesting here. it is the result of the slavery for last 50 years or so that you have become such a stereotypical. at the same time i thank sincerely and appreciate other sane voices of Burmese peoples who have shown their concern rightly to the ongoing state sponsored atrocities against rohingya peoples. They are really and truly exemplary,admirable and real heroes of the country.

      Many burmese seems tend to subscribe happily and readily the idea of “Bengali illegal immigrant” invading arakan in a daily basis. This is merely illogical, hollow and illegitimate self appeasing claim. Due to continuous propaganda by the junta for a long period of time, it also evident that except a few sane persons, most of the burmese are living in the fantasy that burma is somehow a very lucrative destination for bengali or bangladeshi peoples to become immigrant illegally.
      Some also want to argue that since US do such and such to manage their border from Mexican so Burma has the right to do so and so as if bangladeshi’s are dying to get in there and flooding in to Burma gate! And when did Burma become an US like economy for Bangladeshis to become as a Mexican to the US?? This is entertaining to listen to but in reality this is hilarious!

      Dear, bangladesh is a poor country indeed and so is burma but later is the poorest of the poor and condition of arakan is even worse .there is no economic reason for present day bangladeshi’s to cross the border illegally to reside in a place like arakan where the opportunity for better living is much lesser than from where they have allegedly come from. please admit it and get it straight. on the other hand , more than 400,000 illegal immigrant from burma are at present in Bangladesh and many are coming each and everyday!

      the criterion you guys have set up to define your citizenship is simply hilarious! some history reading will help you guys to understand that most of the present international borderes in the south Asia are the British artworks and therefore same ethnic peoples are living both side of the borders. if for the sake of argument we accept that the rohingya peoples are somehow bengali then how they become disqualified to become present day burma citizen we are incapable to understand it. Burma is clearly ignoring the fact that these peoples have been living in that part of land for centuries and for many generations now even before the birth of India/Pakistan let alone Bnagladesh! during the British Raj burma was the part of the British India so did bangladesh, being the part of the same country is it illegal for people to move within the country and decide to settle where they wish to? is the geographical boundary of a country fixed for the eternity?
      look at the mighty USSR, former yogoslavia, well you dont have to go to that far, my grandfather was a citizen of British india, my father was a citizen of pakistan and now i am a citizen of Bangladesh, does it ring any bell to you? even your grand father perhaps was the citizen of British India too and you are claiming now to be a burmese and no one can assure you that your son will not become a citizen of any yet to born independent state say for example, Kachin, Shan or mon or may be Rakhaine or anything provided that the geographic boundary may take its new line to suit new geo political necessities? So how can a group of peoples can be classified as “illegal immigrant” by a country, while those peoples have been evidently living inside the very territorial boundary of that country in question even from long before the country itself took birth?? Have rohingya peoples crossed the border before 1948 or after 1971? When? Oh wait! They allegedly crossed the border hundreds of years back when Burma was not Burma at all and you know what? By the same standard you are also disqualified to become the citizen of Burma, forget about 135 ethnic group that was specified by the British, Burma is not a part of British raj anymore, why anyone would want to listen to what british specified about Burmese ethnicity for their colonial purpose ??

      well in bangladesh, we have minority peoples of Rakhaine, Chakma, Khasia, Garo etc indigenous group of peoples who do not speak Bangla but speak their own language similar to burmese and they all are our brothers and citizen of Bangladesh just as like other bengali citizen. There are bengali peoples in the indian state of west bengal, Assam, monipur but just because they speak Bangla they are not bangladeshi citizen, they are indian citizen. West Bengal, Bihar and Orisha was once an inseparable part of bengal but our present day reality is we are two country now. according to your logic do we need to accommodate all those bengali peoples in Bangladesh too? why not? west bengal’s bangali peoples are far more bangalee by all possible standard than those of rohingya peoples. Or, vise versa, should india accommodate all Bangladeshi as once they all were the citizen of British India?

      just in case you dont know Chittagong was also once a part of the arakan kingdom that made both rohingya and chittagonians citizen of the same country. but present day reality is that they are now part of two separate countries. if chittagonians can be citizen of bangladesh then why cant rohingya peoples cant be the citizen of burma??
      Whatever you say, what historical evidence you discover about the origin of rohingya it will remain as a fact that these peoples have been living in arakan for centuries. If couple of centuries cant make anyone qualified enough to be granted the citizenship then thousands of years of living is worthless too in that respect and according to the same standard ask yourself please if you qualify for that to be the citizen of Burma? Pretty ironic!

      This is sheer shamelessness that peoples often cant see their foolishness specially when they are charged with false pride of ethnicity or nationalism. they become blind to see the holes in their own blanket but cant see the blanket of others but holes. How peoples can be ignorant of their reality in such an extent that they are openly blaming Bangladesh for this situation. why the heck in the earth Bangladesh is the country to accommodate those foreigners in its land just because they look like some of us and speak a bit similar to us? do burmese really suggest England to accommodate all english speaking white human of the earth in the great Britain? their stupidity knows no bound those who propagated the idea of this unique citizenship criterion in Burma. peoples who were not burmese citizen before 1824 (that is well before of being into existence of the modern day burma) can not be granted as the citizen of Burma, what a ridicules and racist idea! this is unprecedented, no where in the world can be a second country that propagate such an egoistic & unrealistic idea!

      This is injustice. If this injustice persists, if Burma does not solve this artificial problem soon enough then no one can blame Bangladesh if it takes the matter on its own to solve it. In that case rakhaine state may be get divided into two to accommodate both the ethnic groups. Or suppose if Bangladesh has to accommodate those peoples then why not that land too which did accommodate those rohingyas for centuries?

      I am sure you did not like this idea of loosing your certain territory, honestly speaking, I did not like it either but many things happen that I or you do not like, is not it?

      Our sincere appeals to Burma’s civil society, please do not let this injustice to continue to fellow human beings. Do justice, please listen to your reasons not to the bullies, live happily your life and let others live, please “do not do unto others that you don’t like to be done unto you “.

      Thank you.

      • No on can deny there was mass immigration during British’s rules from India subcontinent to Burma. When these immigrants want to go back to where they belonged to, their native land refused to let them come back. They have the right to do so and Bangladesh has the duty to accept them.

        • Dear MW Linn
          When bama king conquered Mon King, Bama King could set his own immigration law. When British king conquered bama king , British had a right to set their immigration Law and they can import any types or races of their slave or friends to Burma for their benefits. How about the citizenship status of Thailand king’s relatives in Burma is now, when Bama king brought them to Burma for slaves in history. Now , bama King than shwe and thein sein conquer Arankanese king so thein sein can set any kind of immigration law.
          Where does bama origin come from? What is bama look like(India,China or Ah yee gyi)? Where is bama language come from (Parli or India)?. One said Rohygya population in Arankan is more than that of Arakanese in Burma. One jealous bad guy claims that Muslim man can have 4 wives so Muslim have more population. One said there has been Muslim temples in Arakan state until now since century ago so it means there is an evidence or time of Muslim King’s dominance upon Buddhism.There are numerous versions of claims or researches or different views in the respects of ethnicity, border issue, immigration law, birth right, patriotism, religion as well as social and economic status. Some are originated from century and century ago. Nobody can say who is right and wrong now.
          One claims that western region of Burma is the poorest in Burma due to successive bama military rules so becomes poorer than Bangladesh(not attractive for Rohygya although there is Ngapeli beach). Those natural resources are not beneficial to all, living there except than shwe and than sein.
          British colony made a mistake in history and did not make clear for those numerous issues everywhere in Asia upon offering independence. Do you want to make another mistake again like British colony?. One claims that some Palestine’s lands are occupied by Israeli, manipulated by US, UK and EU alliance just after World war 2. Luckily, some areas of Arankan were not manipulated by British colony to offer Rohyngya or Bangladesh upon bama independence(not ethnic independence). All ethnics and all British slaves in Burma are dumped by British colony, bullied by bama armies(killing and raping) until now.
          But luckily, i still think our ethnics or our slave status are better than Rohyngya under the bama military rules. Are you still proud you are Burmese, Arankanese, karanese or Shan or Buddhsim or Christian or Muslim, compared to Rohyngya under this bama military rule?
          Before you tell about the man made immigration law or border issue or GPD of bama(big impressive wording), think a little about the humanitarian issue or value of multiculturalism. Salves imported by British colony to Burma had contribution to Burma in some ways voluntarily or involuntarily in history and until now. Please, ask or check with your ancestors that if Burma under British colony rule is the good time for Burma. In Burmese, it is so called “Khid-Kung”-good time under British rule. Believe it or not. Do not tell about the big wording(sovereignty) again and again in this Rohygya issue as it is not appropriated now. All Bama governments did not or does not respect or honor Pinglong agreement so Rohygya issue is rubbish in their minds.
          It is now humanitarian issue. Let see what does thein sein set a immigration law(continue to divide and rule in Arakan state or manipulate to get more votes for USDP)on this issue. Let see how does DASSK react in this matter. Politician Ko Ko Gyi(88 generation) brain is tarnished now after commending that Rohyngya is not Burmese ethnic so is unwelcome dumped organism. However, we do not dump KO KO Gyi in In-sein prison.

        • Dear MW Linn
          When bama king conquered Mon King, Bama King could set his own immigration law. When British king conquered bama king , British had a right to set their immigration Law and they can import any types or races of their slave or friends to Burma for their benefits. Now , bama King than shwe and thein sein conquer Arankanese king , thein sein can set any kind of immigration law.
          Where does bama origin come from? What is bama look like(India,Chinese or Ah yee gyi)? Where is bama language come from (Parli or India)?. One said Rohygya population in Arankan is more than that of Arakanese in Burma. One jealous bad guy claims that Muslim man can have 4 wives so Muslim have more population. One said there has been Muslim temples in Arakan state until now since century ago so it means there is an evidence or time of Muslim dominant king upon Buddhism. There are numerous versions of claims or researches or different views in the respects of ethnicity, border issue, immigration, birth right, patriotism, religion as well as social and economic status. Some are originated from century and century ago. Nobody can say who is right and wrong now.
          One claims that western region of Burma is poorer than Bangladesh. Natural resources are not beneficial to local residence there. British colony made a mistake in history and did not make clear for those numerous issues everywhere in Asia upon independence. Do you want to make another mistake again like British?. It is now humanitarian issue. All ethnics, and all British slaves in Burma are dumped by British colony, bullied by bama government and armies until now. One claims that some Palestine’s land become Israelis one after manipulated by US, UK and EU alliance just after world war 2. It was lucky for Arakanese which lands are not manipulated by British colony to become Bangladesh or Rohyngya’s land. But i still think our Burmese ethnic or our slave status is better than Rohyngya under the bama military rules.
          Are you still proud you are Burmese, Arankanese, karanese or Shan or Buddhsim or Christian or Muslim under the bama military rules? Before you tell about the man made immigration law or border issue or GPD of bama(big impressive wording), think a little about the humanitarian issue or value of multiculturalism. Salves imported from British colony to Burma had contribution to Burma in some ways voluntarily or involuntarily until now. Who is doing the rubbish and excretion collectors in Burma for long long ago?. Please, ask or check with your ancestors that if Burma under British colony rule is the good time for Burma. In Burmese, it is so called “Khid- Kung”-good time in Burma. Believe it or not. Do not tell about the big wording(sovereignty) again and again as it is not appropriated now. Let see what thein sein set a immigration law(continue to divide and rule or to manipulate for USDP vote gain )on this issue. Let see how DASSK reacts in this matter. Politician Ko Ko Gyi(88 generation) brain is tarnished now after commending that Rohyngya is not Burmese ethnic so is unwelcome discarded organism. However, we do not dump Ko Ko Gyi in In-sein prison.

  13. Rohingyas and Karman existance in Arakan ( Rakhine ) during the time of Hindu and Arakanese kings. To-day who is Rohingya and Who is Arakanese ( Rakhine )is not a question. The question is that why the Bama elected Prime minister U Nu and former Vice-chietheir next step is f of Staff Brig. General Aung Gyi recognized them as Rohingyas?

    Present riot in Arakan in is created problem roblem by a group or Ultra nationalistist and fore run of future plan to seperate Arakan from Burma. If they can drive out Rohingya and all other Muslims from Arakan soil their next step is to declare Arakan as an independence state. Muslims are obstacle for their plan if they stay inside Arakan because Muslim will support Burmese government and party in power.

    • Oo Maung Gyi:

      You are right. Rakhine are dreaming for a seperate state from Burma and Rohigyas are their obstacle. Similarly Burmese want Rakine state with them as it has lot of gas reserve and will not like Rakhine and Rohingya unity.

  14. Since Arakan has enormous reserve of Oil & Gas.So US is also taking interest not to sell China and will block crude oil transportation from middle estern countries via pipe line from Kyaukpyu, so the diplomacy of benefits of interest will lead to a big political game in Arakan so Muslims of Arakan become political victims from time to time, as such Muslims of Arakan including those who love democracy have to support President Thein Sein’s reforms plan for the sake of national reconciliation, rule of law and in the name of peace.

  15. The “mujahid insurgency” reinvented itself into Rohingya. This reinvention from mujahid to Rohingya is direct consequence of the the armed insurgencies that were taking place in mainland Burma starting with the BCP in 1947 and the KNDO/KNU soon after independence in 1948. In all this process East Pakistan and then Bungladesh’s duplicity was and is an issue that all governments of myanmar have faced for many decades. The writer witnessed this personally while being stationed in Arakan 53 years ago at the same time that there was Armed Forces Commander (Tat-paungsu Hmu)tasked with the supression of the Muhajid insurgency that was in collaboration with the BCP Arakanese. They originated as pirates along the coast, Naaf River and smugglers.

    So, the position taken by the 88 generation leaders (Ko Ko Gyi, etc) of this being sovereignty issue for Myanmar is a valid one and there is no other way to look at it. The oppression and victim issue being hyped by the outside media and dumping all blame on Myanmar is quite preposterous to put it mildly. One need only to look at how the U.S. treats Latino and Mexican illegals. Fast backwards, and look at what happened to Afganistan and Indonesia, all Buddhist countries trampled and eliminated. Muslim countries today. No Myanmar government of any stripe or color can allow such a trend to take root.

    This issue was discussed at some length at Panlong between Aung San, U Nu, Bo Khin Maunglay,U Kyaw Nyein, U Razak (a muslim)and Bottomley representing Atlee. It was a matter of critical concern to the Burmans at that time and more so today. U Kyaw Nyein and Bo Khin Maunglay raise some very serious questions and insisted that specific provisions be included in the new constitution to safeguard especially women.

    All this pressure now on Thein Sein from outside must be viewed with serious concern by all the peoples of Myanmar regardless of religious faith or ethinicity. All parties concerned must bear in mind the lessons of history and not repeat the mistakes again.

    Naphetchun Maung Sein
    California, USA

      According to a scientific discovery published in the prestigious magazine,
      Science on Oct 15th, 1999 (volume 286(5439): pages 528-30), the modern human beings originated in Myanmar about 45 million years ago. Thus, the Rohingya and the Bangali races are derivatives of the Rakhine and Myanmar races; in other words they are cousins of each other. Therefore, the Rohingya are not illegal immigrants of Myanmar, but are one of the original races of Myanmar. In other words, the Rohingya did not migrate illegally from Bangladesh into Myanmar, but the Bangalis migrated out of Myanmar into present-day Bangladesh. Thus the Bangalis are as well an original race of Myanmar, even though they migrated west to present-day Bangladesh millions of years ago.

  16. I accept what the government give dead sentence to that three rapists. but what about those who kill 10 persons in taungoke. If u want to make justice then u have to give those who kill these ten people then it will be fair. just not to those who kill in these case, to everyone u have to make fair.

  17. Well you guys should stop dragging other ethnics including Chinese into the issue! If not, Indian origins in Rangoon who claimed themselves as Burma Muslim, Nepalese in Pwin Oo Lwin and even European descendants in several towns including Mawlamyine will be involved as well!!!

    `Sovereign’ cause the formation of fixed boundary and it do some how stop or at least reduce wars including tribal battles! BUT unfortunately it do cause problems as well.

  18. Khald
    You just lost youridentity doesn’t mean that some other people have to lose their identity. From your writing, I can tell you tat you do not understand the meaning of Nation and it’s core believe. You may attack me anyway you like, I do not care about it. I use my conscience as best as posible. I did not used any racial words in my comment although you accused me of racist, isn’t it lame? I have countless muslim friends and they will be laughing at you for accusing me of a racist. I discuss just from political point of view and logical point of view. One history fact I can tell you is this, I don’t care what did British do and how did they created the modern map. I go even farther back. Burmese kings were proud to tell their achievement of war and their concour states and people. Which include Arakan state and even Thailand was victim of Burmese agression. These kings proudly written their cocour territory and people that they win over. I am wondering, why is that they let out Rohingya? Oh, you may debate that British was the one who created it. You know what, Ghandi, Mr. Gina and General Aung San agree on the map that exist today as Burma. You are debating abot Burmese affair, do you even know what was our country called before British colonial rule? You may be surprised that it wasn’t Burma at all.

    I never refused that Rohingya should have their rights. If their rights were abused, I will even defend it as a humanbeing, however it doesn’t mean that I have to cheat our own history or surrender our national interests. Every nation has it’s own interests no doubt Bangladesh too has one or more. If you are serously defending Rohingya people, why don’t you say something about your government turn away who need help urgently and ask help until crisis is over. Aren’t you a hipocritical? Giving lacture on me and Burmese people how to be a human being, but turning your back on the real people who looks like you and speak the same language as you.

    If you are ready to have a GROWN UP, respectful dialogue, leae your emotion and passion behind and just contribute solution to calm the situation. It is nothing wrong with the nation around the world are defending their boundries and their history. Without a prove to shove down a lie history into Burma throat is not a fair dialogue.

    Sounds like you also hate Nationalism too. Are you a proud Bangldish citizen? Why is that? If you are proud f your identity, why do you say that Nationalism is evil? Are there any Nationalism rather than Musoliny’s Nationalism? If you don’t have a clue, I will even teach you about the good side of Nationalism.

  19. Khalid,
    What was the political and economical situation of Parkistan or Bangladesh in 1948? What was Burma economical and political situation at te same time? Around 1950 people aound the world and Burma start to hear the word Rohingya, isn’t it coinsident? They definately did not fall from the sky. Burma as a new indenpendent country doesn’t have a clue how to defend their territory, so where were Rohingya come from?

    In the mordern time right now, there are many muslim people live in Burma big cities and there are very little social problems, why? I did not say that there are discrimination against Rohingya people and I say it as “It is wrong and immoral”. I also say that we have to find some common ground to coexist or violance will definately continue. Do not be ignorant and do not try to lie the history.

  20. It was reported that the population ratio of Rohingyas and Rakhine in the Western Arakan is 4: 1 , i.e. 8000,000 Rohingyas : 2000,000 Rakhines there. A police once found a few Rohingyas were holding Myanmar ID cards there. For this case, special investigation should be made who issued them Myanmar ID cards. It is not difficult to trace back to find out the responsible government officials who issued Myanmar ID cards to some of those Rohingyas.
    For current violence case, criminal murder case should not be mixed with religious patriotism.

  21. there is no dellima in this case. We have national citizenship law. the law do not recongnize rohingyas as ethnic group. end of the story.

  22. Dear Tom tun and Khalid
    The integrity of 88′ generation Ko Ko Gyi’ brain is easily divided(poisoned or tarnished) by both than shwe and thein sein little fingers. Ko Ko Gyi’ supporters are splitting now. If you both continue to arguing about the border’s dispute or goodness of Bangladesh upon Burma in this Rohygya issue , i might say you both become naive because of drinking than shwe’s group poison. One claims that western Burma is the poorest region in Burma but i do not know the condition of Bangladesh. But do not judge on GDP as it is not the real solution upon this issue. Does big brother, bama will consider Rohygya is refugee or not if there is not enough evidence to prove their citizenship’s eligibility?.

  23. Even if there is not conflict between Buddhists and Muslims now, there are concerns among Buddhists although current Bengali or Rohingya illegal immigration is the issue of illegal immigration and national sovereignty.

    All citizens that want to belong to a democratic nation must have very similar values in terms of social customs, which include avoiding some practices such as a Muslim officially marrying up to 4 wives, which is unfair to or unequal for the ladies. That also makes a Muslim producing larger numbers of children per family compared to a Buddhist family. Demographic composition is very essential to bring about trust and confidence among different ethnic groups within a democratic nation. If one group of a particular religion has reproductive rates higher than other groups, that former group will have larger number of voters and thus will control the state executive and legislative power through elections promoting its religious and social customs at the expense of other ethnic groups.

    The Buddhists fear that threat can arise decades or centuries later if not now or in near future

  24. The truth never perish! Who said Rohingya are illegal migrants? If so why there are nearly half of the total Rohingya population already left the country taking refuge in many countries such as Saudi Arabia (0.5m), Pakistan (0.3m), Bangladesh (0.3m), Malaysia (0.05m), India, Thailand, UAE and many others western countries. Since 1942 about 1.5 millions Rohingya have so far left the country which means 22000 Rohingya leave every year, in other words, 60 Rohingya leave the country every day.

    They are leaving because of the continuous killing, rape, land confiscation, torture, and many untold human abuses making the life of the Rohingya unbearable. While the native Muslims can not stay how can Bangalis from Bangladesh can intrude into Arakan.

  25. We all must make it clear what is ethnic and what is citizen. I agree with 88 generation leader Ko Ko Gyi remark. Rohingya was not Myanmar ethnic at all. But they can claim their citizenship if, they can prove and how long they have been living and or speak one of the country ethnic language. As for citizenship,not only for Bangali Rohingya , there were India native, Nepalis, Chinese, and some Jews were granted citizenship in Myanmar. According to Myanmar government statistic, there were hundred and twenty thousand Bangali Rohingya people hold legal status in Myanmar. The Burmese people or government could not afford to help or accept the bombing Bangali population. At the same time, don’t force Myanmar government to open its door to accept Bangali Rohingya. No one want to do that. If you think, you can help them or you want to help, go ahead and help them , no one going to bother you. But one thing let me remind you, they have 4 to 5 children when the time they are in the age of 20 years old. You will end up in bankrupt. That’s way Myanmar people and government have their limit.

    Ethnicity: In Myanmar,there was (135 )ethnic groups were living with their own culture, language,traditional in their own land since, more than thousand years ago. Those people were called ethnic groups.

    • Who defined 144 ethnic groups, and then after some years who removed some ethnic groups from the list including Rohingya? Why? Is there any justifiable cause? Of course not? Democratic government defined 144 ethnic groups and military junta reduced to 135 causing divide rules for the junta to find a play ground to play. So that all that bad things happened should be blamed to those ethnic groups the list removed.

      Rohingya name had been published in the Vol. 9 of the Burmese Encyclopedia and many other school text books as an ethnic group of Burma and Mayu frontier was established in Arakan State. Also there was radio broadcasting service in Burma Broadcasting Service broadcasting news and cultural music Rohingya language and even there were events for Rohingya cultural show on National Day. All of these were banned by the Ne Win military junta.

  26. I dare to ask one question to Norman Hla and any other person in the debate. The question is “Do you people believe that the problem of boat people, dispute over land,religion and culture will disappear if Burmese government gave citizenship to all so called Rohingya people? Anyone who dare to challenge including UN, NGOs, Human Rights groups can challenge that those illegal migration of such group will disappear by recognition of their status. 800,000 people is not that much of a burdan to a country which manage proper way. However, if the problem continues, and if Burmese government can prove that Burma is under invation of Neo Liberalism and over population of neighbour country than, will these organization take responsibilities?

    Norman Hla,
    I can’t believe that you blame everything on former evil regime. This one doesn’t belong to them any way you put it. The 3 men went out rape and killed a woman is not the regime plan, as well as a vigillenty group went out and killed 10 innocent Muslim men are not the action of the regime. The new regime want to show stability in transition time to legitimize themselves. These killings are slow burning of social, culture and economical problems in years and years. For now, it seems like it is calm again, but under the calm surface it is still burning. We have to face these realities for the future peace. Blaming the one who doesn’t have to do anything is not heal the wound. It has to solve by trust building and understanding. The last sentence, you asked to legalize the Rohingya citizenship, Ihave a question for you and Thein Sein government, What is our citizenship law and under that law who is citizen and what is their rights and responsibilities?

  27. We are Buddhist.

    We have to help Rohingyas by the way of Buddha .

    And we have to mind living with peace and safe.

    • You Burmese Leaders/Generals have to help and find solution about living with Ethnic People Groups [Kachin,Kaya/Karenni,Chin,Karen,Mon,Rakhine/Arakanese,Shan,etc], because they are Indigenous Tribes of Burma Origin. not to Illegal Migrants Bangali/Rohingya Peoples, because they are Bangalis, Origin People/Tribe and Native of Bangladesh Country.

  28. Isn’t Myanmar or Burmese or Burman or Bamah ONE of the 8 principal ethnic groups when “Burma” was granted independence in 1948?
    Shans people are not Burmese or Myanmar.
    Would the Mon people like to call themselves Myanmar?
    I don’t think the Chin or the Kachin people consider themselves Myanmar people either.
    Even the Arakanese that most closely resemblesthe Myanmar resents being called Burmese or Myanmar.
    Myanmar people also known as Bamar or Burmese needs to accept equal status as all other ethnic nationals of the country or the ethnic conflict in the country will never end.
    Have you noticed that the common denominator in the conflicts are primarily the myanmar people?
    Has the Myanmar peoples/government been bullying  the non-Myanmar ethnics? Why are the major conflicts in non-Myanmar ethnics areas primarily? Needs some soul searching by the Myammar government. Honest Myanmar people need to ask Myanmar government to stop oppressing non-Myanmar ethnic nationals that live in a country what was known as “British Burma. 

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