What Our Readers Say
By The Irrawaddy 28 July 2012
As a Thai, I would like to correct your article. Although Thai students are still learning the history of the burning of Ayutthaya by the Burmese army, I don’t think the modern Thais have anything against the Burmese. It’s like 200 years ago, and none of them care about the history anymore. They just learned it as a part of a history lesson. Yes, of course, there may still be some Thais who look down toward Burmese, but it has nothing to do with the Ayutthaya burning.
You can find such looks anywhere—a city man looking down on a red-neck, even in Thailand people in the city look down on people upcountry. It’s normal and it happens everywhere.
In addition, I want to point out that for Thais, they think of Burmese as their big brother, and think of Laos as their younger brother. The Thais already forgot this part of their history, so the Burmese should forget about it too.
Well, Sai Latt’s NGO-style complaints about “nationalists threats by the Burmans” and his human-rights-activist-call for “enfranchisement of minorities” might become just an “internal family dispute” compared to what you find in the Islamic news media recently about the “Rohingya genocide” (as they call it). The Taliban, the Hezbollah and the Ayatollahs are almost calling for a Jihad against Burmese Buddhists. See: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/NG27Ae04.html
This might be all harmless propaganda, I hope, but people in Burma shouldn’t take these threats from Islamic militants lightly. These things can escalate quickly. Forget about defining “ethnicity and federalism” in Burma for now. The “Rohingya question” is the immediate problem. Don’t use this “Arakan conflict” as a leverage for some other “hidden agenda.” Once the Taliban gets involved (I’m definitely not wishing for that to happen, but you never know!) then it’s no longer purely an academic Ph.D. thesis about “human rights for ethnic minorities” any more.
The OIC should come to Burma and discus the problem, but this way of remote control is no help in solving it. It is not Myanmar that is the cause of the problem in the first place. It is, as has been pointed by contributors to the Irrawaddy, that the problem’s origin is illegal entry of aliens. It is a thorny problem of Myanmar, but the Islamic world must have a balanced view and assist our President in his efforts to find the solution to the problem.
Citizenship of a country is not imposed by foreigners. It is simply a matter of our law, not to be imposed by the IOC. You can come and help the Rohingyas if you like. We have no objection. But please do not try to escalate the problem.
Don’t let corporations pay their way through to manipulate and violate the law. That is what happens in places like Indonesia where forests are being destroyed at alarming rates and the government seems helpless (or is being made helpless) to stop it. Once the environment is damaged, it is a very costly and painful affair to restore it.
As long as the States can have self-determination on their respective lands (State), our Union will prosper day and night. Let the people of Shan State decide for Shan State. The same things to other States. In the past, the Burmese decided our affairs which was absolutely none of their businesses. Self-determination is the key word here and important to build a genuine Union.
Did the the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ever ask the Malaysian government to treat Burmese refugees in Malaysia “in accordance with the accepted practices of international human rights.”?
Demographic changes are not unique to Rakhine. In the 14th century lower Mynamar used to consist of 70% Mon ethnic people and 20% Bamars. Now it is the other way around. But Mon people are not complaining. Indigenous or not, generations of Rohingyas have resided in Rakhine for centuries, and they deserve citizenship.