Dr. Habib Siddiqui
Let me say that the SPDC military regime did not come in the vacuum of history. It has learned the art of “divide and rule,” a policy that was patented in the history rather well. The SPDC has succeeded in gaining and holding power over Burma through a combination of skills, not the least of which include that “divide and rule” policy.
Their power is essentially rooted in racism that has permeated Burmese society for centuries. This racism is not limited to the racial supremacy complex, but also playing the card of ethnic racism of one against the other. Thus we see the racism of the Karen against the Burmans, the Burmans against the Shan, the Shan against the Wa, the Wa against the Shan, the Rakhine against the Rohingyas, the Mon against the Burmans, the Burmans against the Chinese, the Christians against the Buddhists, etc. This list is by no means a comprehensive one, but the bottom line is: the military has always exploited it to turn people against each other and thereby increase its hold on power.
The SPDC propaganda, therefore, encourages a blind racist nationalism that is full of references to ‘protecting the race’, meaning that if Burmans do not oppress other nationalities then they will themselves be oppressed, ‘national reconsolidation’, meaning assimilation, and preventing ‘disintegration of the Union’, meaning that if the Army falls then some kind of ethnic chaos would engulf the divided nation.
It is unfortunate to see that now some people who consider themselves to be foot soldiers for bringing in democracy and freedom in Burma themselves are, either knowingly or unknowingly, falling into the trap of the SPDC to deny the citizenship and other human rights of the Rohinger people of Arakan.
To these aberrant group, there is no history of the Rohingya; they are originally from Bangladesh , brought in by the British, etc. Where does such denial of history lead us to? Has humanity ever benefited from such revisionist trend to distort history? I dare say, never. How can one rationalize the fact that for nearly 350 years the rulers in the Arakan had adopted the title of Sultan, and that Rohingers played an important role in the Arakan society?
No, I am not here to teach history of Arakan, but only to appeal to common sense, away from prejudice and bigotry.
Those who are interested in learning history of the Rohingya people may like to study some books before making a fool of themselves with their ignorance and/or confuse others.
Some useful readings:
_ Mohammed Ashraf Alam, A short historical background of the Arakan people
_ N.M. Habibullah, Rohingya Jatir Itihas (History of the Rohingyas), Bangladesh Co-Operative Book Society Ltd., Dhaka , 1995;
_ U Kyi, The Essential History of Burma ;
_ Dr. Mohammad Yunus,A HISTORY OF ARAKAN (Past and Present);
_ British-Burma Gazetteers of 1879.