WHAT OUR READERS SAY
By The Irrawaddy 18 June 2012
The ongoing sectarian conflict in Arakan state is disturbing indeed and what we the people of Burma need to do at this crucial time is not to play the racial and religious card since this will only fan the intensity of the already frustrations from both sides.
These conflicts have causes deep-rooted in colonial rules and successive military regime’s intentional tactic of “divide and rule”. The quasi-civilian government should immediately normalize the situation through using professional law enforcement bodies, and as soon as the situation becomes calm, an independent investigation team should be set up and allowed freely to find facts on the conflicts and bring those who were involved in criminal activities into the rule of law.
For the long-term approach, the government should invest more on education, especially in primary education in those conflict areas. This kind of sectarian conflict will only perpetuate unless the people of Burma get proper education with unbiased history reflecting the contributions of all ethnics within the country. Until then, deep ignorance prevails in Burma, and no model of democracy can bring the people to peace and prosperity. The international community and the government should focus more on the national reconciliation process and social development in the future.
Are Chinese to be considered one of Burma’s 135 ethnic groups, according to Ko Ko Gyi. One shouldn’t be blind in just 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 everyone who lives in Burma, irrespective of ethnicity and religion.
Early every morning Buddhists 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 are living somewhat like in a big jail without any human rights. They live in a frightening atmosphere. But the majority of Burmese media make them seem cruel. Can they do this? The Rohingya have now become another victim, like sandbags to practice political boxing.
In the early 70s Bangladesh was in chaos. In 1970 a cyclone killed 500,000 people and then came a civil war with thousands of casualties. Millions of Bangladeshis fled into India and Burma as refugees. Many thousands of Bengalis who fled into Burma never came back and stayed on inside Burmese territory. Only in 1978 when the Burmese government conducted a citizen screening project that they moved back to Bangladesh. But then Bangladesh, a newly founded country after separation from Pakistan, refused to recognize them as its citizens. International communities did not pressure the Bangladeshis to accept their people back because they did not want to see more burdens on an already heavily populated poor country. On the other hand, they forced Burma’s unpopular Ne Win regime to accept these Bangladeshis. Ne Win reluctantly agreed to accept them as immigrants in the end, and had an agreement with Bangladesh.
Many thousands of Bengalis went back into Burma and resided in Burma’s northern Arakan State. But bogus migrants and illegal immigration into the Arakan state continued and social tensions rose between Bengalis and native Arakanese people. During the 1988 uprising in Burma, the rule of law was partially broke down in border area and that allowed more illegal immigrants from Bangladesh to cross into Burma.
In 1992 the Burmese military regime tried to stop the flow of illegal immigrants but they handled the situation badly. The result was they had to accept more illegal Bengalis as legal migrants. As the unpopular military reigned in Burma for so long, it was easy for the Rohingya campaigners to gain sympathy from the international community. Of course, their suffering under military rule is true and no one can deny it—as other parts of the country felt the same oppressions.
But their claims of history of their presence in Burma are exaggerated and base on unbalanced facts. The core of the current problem is Bangladesh’s refusal to accept its own citizens back and trying to dump them in other countries. This attitude can be clearly seen in the recent blockade of refugee boats by Bangladeshi authorities.
Without foreign banking operations in Burma there can not be progress in economic sectors. There are lots of laws required to promulgate and many regulations to be changed to meet international standards. Especially the Central Bank of Myanmar needs financial experts and experienced personnel to regulate the monetary system.
Once foreign banks are allowed to operate then many Burmese nationals will get jobs and training which is to the country’s asset. Local crony banks are afraid that local business people will withdraw all their money from their accounts and open new accounts in foreign banks. That is why Burma’s banking system is taking time.
—Oo Maung Gyi
I have always been very concerned about Daw Suu’s diet. I don’t think she eats well at all. The best doctors in the world can not and will not be able to help her. What Daw Suu urgently needs is the services of a good nutritionist who can monitor round the clock every item she ingests. Rice, noodles and curry are simply inadequate.
As to her weight, I wonder if she ever eats any nuts such as almonds and walnuts. What is the cooking medium used in her kitchen? What are the qualifications of her cook?
Daw Suu’s diet is a matter of prime and urgent national concern and security. Everything else will flow from Daw Suu’s health and longevity.
Of course refugee camps cannot become permanent institutions. That’s not what the concern is. The concern is that the foreign donors have cut funding to these camps too early. The stateless people are currently stateless. Why? The junta has taken their homes and land and kicked them out. Now if the govt had said they would return everyone’s lands and homes, then these ‘stateless’ people wouldn’t be stateless anymore, would they? They would have their own home and land to return to, and believe me, that is exactly what each and every refugee living along the camps wants—to return home.
I personally think that the INGOs were too hasty in withdrawing their funding; they should at least wait for while until the situation is much clearer. ie. govt is allowing the people to return home, etc.
Oh, did you know that only 30% of the actual funds that go in via the Burmese govt, actually get to the projects? Yeah, good job, INGOs. Just because the govt shows small signs of improvement to the world, doesn’t mean that it’s all hunky dory behind closed doors.
The cautious approach of the KNU leadership on this question of a Truth Commission (TRC) for Myanmar is the correct one. The parallels being drawn with SAfrica and Timor, Cambodia is not only flawed but quite far too stretched to suit the ones with an agenda for retribution.
Suu Kyi’s statement that the military actually did not do any harm to her and there is nothing to forgive anyone for that matter. This is a very mature and responsible on her part considering the delicateness and sensitivity of the “stakeholders” in the “reform” towards a workable democracy for all the peoples of Myanmar. Those that raise this TRC for Myanmar at this stage need to fully understand and appreciate the history of armed insurgency in Myanmar that started in 1947 by the BCP.
The most urgent priority for Myanmar at this time is for everyone to work in unison and to be aware that all this attention by the international community must be “taken with a lot of salt,” by the government and the people of Myanmar. The demand to open up the country quickly is to “dominate the economy” and “implant crony capitalism”, before the Myanmar people are prepared, educated, trained and capable of managing their abundant rich resources.
As one Cambridge economist warned: “No one will develop your country for you, you will have to do it yourself.” All this hype about democracy, human rights, etc. is merely “smoke-screen” to take away whatever they want before you are ready and capable of taking care of yourself. People of Myanmar, do beware. Global corporations only have one goal, their interests, not yours.
—Naphetchun Maung Sein