By The Irrawaddy 30 June 2012

Death Sentence for Arakan Rape-Murderers

Did the arrested persons receive a fair trial? I feel that, for a capital punishment, this trial seems too short. Legal representation and testimonies from witnesses or experts need to be there for the accused too. And also I have one more question: did the third person die in police custody? If the answer is “yes,” the autopsy result must be presented to the courts by medical examiners. If necessary, policemen also need to be on trial.

I do not condone rape or any kind of violence, but we still need justice for the accused too.


Burma’s Rohingya Dilemma

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 Rakhines’ 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 even with zero immigration. 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, insisting that Arakan was Muslim until 1784, and usurping the land with outright aggression
are an entirely different kettle of fish.

That’s why other Muslims should keep out of this. History is being rewritten on a daily basis by the ‘champions of the most persecuted minority.’ 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 pp 397,401,406-7,411-2,414).

—Maung Oo

Rohingyas in India Demand Full Refugee Status

I can’t believe the ignorant and racist comments by some Burmese. There are Rakhines in Bangladesh and India. Bangladesh doesn’t talk about kicking out Rakhines just because they look different and have a different religion. Neither does India. This is the 21st century and we should all try to be civilized.

There have been Muslims in Arakan for centuries—this is a historical fact that no one can deny. The writing of historians like Ibn Batuta (14th century) proves that Bengal was one of the wealthiest nations in the world and there was migration from Arakan to Bengal, and not the other way round.

I hope most Burmese will understand that we are not in the dark ages. People living in a country for centuries cannot be kicked out or exterminated. Denying the Rohingya citizenship is a shameful act, and must be reversed if Burma is to be recognised as a civil state.

—Ken Basington

Bangladesh Detains 128 Refugees Fleeing Arakan

The Rohingyas will be better served in Bangladesh than in Myanmar for the following reasons:
Their language is closer to Bengali than Burmese or Arakanese dialect.
Their belief is Islam which Bangladesh practices; Myanmar practices Theravada Buddhism which is diametrically opposite of Islam: peace and tolerance, not fire and sword is the teaching of Buddha; I do not believe that the Rohingyas are capable of this adjustment.
Burmese as a whole are a Mongolian race; the Rohingyas are not. They are a Dravidian stock.
These are not excuses; they are a realty and a fact of life.

For all those anthropologists, NGOs, Human Right Groups—please accept this, if not the situation will only prolong itself with misery for all.

—Shwe Moe

With Pipelines at Stake, Companies Try PR Approach

I’ve said these things for many years now but I will say it again.
Just look at the map! All of that sold for peanuts, $7 million a year (many CEO’s in the West earn ten times as much!). What is the damage to the environment and the livelihood of the thousands of displaced people?

People’s right to the land of their ancestors is a human rights issue and that cannot be priced! Burma has the world’s “expert” on human rights, the “Lady”. No? What’s her opinion on this “rape” of the land. Who gets the gas? What about some electricity for Burma? Than Shwe and Tin Aung Myint Oo are traitors. They should be prosecuted for treason. Where is the surging pride about Burma’s sovereignty now? All gone when it comes to Chinese exploitation?


Women Should be Part of Peace Process: Group

I agree with the rightful demands of our womenfolk, in fact women of the world who in any conflict situations suffer most along with defenseless children. For too long our mothers and sisters have been the victims of all kinds of atrocities.

I was sad to learn from one of Daw Suu’s interviews during her European tour that she could not find eligible woman candidates to field for the April by-elections. We really need young, dynamic, intelligent, brave women to come out to the forefront, out of their comfortable environment. Go out and fight for your rights! Look around the Arab world: they
sacrificed and broke out from a male-dominated environment. The world recognized your rightful demands. In Burma you are fortunate enough to have an outstanding leader, Daw Suu, who is fearless and ready to lead you all to emancipation and freedom from the age-old and fossilized mind sets. Look at the way she represented the tarnished images of our
people, particularly our womenfolk in the capitals of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of the world. You can now walk tall with chins up and can say with confidence: “I am a Burmese woman.”

—Ngwe Win

Burma’s Soft Drink Makers Brace for Big Changes

Sweetness is hard to refuse for many people as well as a delight for the kids. In Myanmar a soft drink is considered a luxury drink and people are misled by the marketing campaigns to satisfy their thirst.

The Health Ministry is not aware of how to educate on the consumption of soft drinks or its content such as sugar, food colour, carbon dioxide, and not to mention the preservatives added. Have we ever seen a nutrition chart on a soft drink or any warning on the danger of your child obesity, teeth problems? NO! If people are aware and made health conscious about these soft drinks they would not welcome such an industry.

Yes, this can create lots of jobs for the nation, but overall it is not a good product for the country in terms of health and the loss of water resources.

I am not a soft drinks fan obviously nor a lobbyist for the local drink maker. We have had enough problems tackling (not properly approved) local soft drinks from various factories. It is also sad to see all the misleading advertising about soft drinks on TV and the billboards.