Friday, 26 January 2018

Buddhist Myanmar and the Muslim Rohingyas

Some thoughts from The Editor of Beside The Creek on which readers might ponder as they read this article:

Firstly, so many Westerners have romantic ideas about Buddhism as a peaceful religion and lifestyle.  So what do such people make of what is happening in Myanmar?   Christianity professes peace too and we know that it has had difficulty in bearing witness to this attribute.  So what do we think when Buddhism is acting in a violent way to a whole class of people on the basis of their religion? Is this in the same category as Nazi Germany and the Jews?

Secondly, what is the role - from an objective viewpoint - of the role of Aung San Suu Kyi in what is happening in Myanmar.  Aung San Suu Kyi is a feted woman who has lived a life of privilege.  True, she has had her enemies and difficulties.  However, in no way can we see that she has suffered in the way the Rohingyas have suffered and are suffering. She has not been the victim of genocide as the Rohingyas have been and continue to be. Powerful people around the world are on her side. It is difficult to say who or what is on the side of the Rohingyas that will free them from their suffering and allow them to return to their homeland. 

Reworking the Colonial-Era “Indian Peril”: Myanmar’s State-directed Persecution of Rohingyas and Other Muslims

“It would be best if they were not here. I do not want to see them in this country. Since the dawn of history Indians have been the leaders of attacks against the Burmans on behalf of the white faces.”
— Saithan (Burmese writer), New Light of Burma, 6th June 19371
“(Buddhist) Brother, you might already have heard of the news about the Buddhist mob in Rakhine lynching a group of Rohingyas in broad day light. Even in Yangon if you are a Muslim and say something wrong or behave slightly irritated at a teashop or a bus stop the Buddhists would howl “you mother-fucking Kalar (nigger), how dare you say something or behave like that.” If you go to certain neighbourhoods and run into a group of drunkards they recognize your Indian features and beat you up. So, I too fear for my life living in this country of ours. I was born here. And this is the only country I know I belong. Burmese is my mother tongue. Out of fear and despair, I have looked at different possibilities of going to work in Malaysia or trying visa lottery to USA. But the truth is I don’t really have any prospect for leaving my birthplace. I am stuck here.”
— A Burmese Muslim resident, 7 July 20172

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