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A commentary on the article of Dr. Arai’s in 7 Day News Journal

Kyaw Min 
RB Opinion
February 5, 2014

Professor Dr. Arai is a social scientist presently an associate professor in George Mason University on peace building and conflict transformation subject. He wrote an article on 29th January 2014 in 7 Day News Journal Yangon. He asked me my comment and opinion on his article. I replied him. I hereby attached my reply to share with other readers. There are many countries, organizations, individuals, who are trying to help for the tranquility and stability of Rakhine state. Dr. Arai is one of them. We highly appreciate the maneuver of all in this context. But the approach must be correct and realistic. Rohingya’s being full Burmese citizen until recently should be taken in to consideration in any deliberations of seeking solution. 

Dear Professor Arai,

Thanks much for your email. I remember you much. I frequently look at pictures I took with you.

The analysis and recommendations in your article are based, as far as I can guess, on your perception that this Rohingyas are not native but immigrants, more possibly there are a lot of illegal immigrants in Rakhine State. So on the whole I find your article is unfair and biased. What I assessed is you did not realize there is a deeply rooted conspiracy introduced decades ago to deprive this Rohingyas of their identity and citizenship. 1947 constitution and 1948 citizenship law had fully guaranteed full citizenship to Rohingya. They enjoyed it until 1982. Even in 2010 election Rohingyas are allowed to vote and to contest in the election. There are some Rohingya MPs in parliament now. What happened in Rakhine state today and what the adversaries of this Rohinyga doing today are to reverse that reality, with all the means they have in hands.

Yet we welcome your article and recommendations. You seem to focus on a durable and holistic solution. But I am afraid other stake holders will not feel comfortable to accept your recommendations. Most people in Myanmar do not like external help and involvement which you have recommended. They want to keep things in their own hands to realize their old dream: the annihilation of Rohingya. You suggested bringing RSO in a wider dialogue for sustainable solution. What I understand is the Rohingya have no admiration towards RSO. Again RSO has no influence on the Rohingya public. I believe a sustainable solution could come only by good will and the active role of central government. 

The points in your article we cannot agree to are:

1. Separation of two communities for short term. It is already two years now two communities are segregated.

2. Your suggestion to enforce 1982 citizenship law which originally was designed to strip off Rohingya, their citizenship is not acceptable.

3. We are not like Burundians war refugees in Tanzania as you referred. We are IDPs and we are natives. We are not like Koreans in Japan. We are indigenous of Rakhine state. We are the victims of a well-planned genocidal master strategy. 

4. Accusation of illegal immigrants is not a reality. NaSaKa for 20 years would not find out any Bangladeshi illegals.

5. No need of verification census counting. NaSaKa had yearly, records for each person and house hold. Again there are family member list for each house hold since 1950. How can an illegal person live amidst the enlisted and recorded public?

6. Religious leaders have hands in the creation of present violence. There are evidences that they stoke it. Their involvement in solution finding cannot be conducive. 

What we want are:

1. We cannot awake a person pretending to be sleeping. Every stakeholder must have sincere will to get peace and peaceful coexistence. We expect good will and fraternity from all quarters. 

2. It is the government that has full responsibility to protect its own public, citizens or otherwise from mass destruction and confinement as it is the case of Rohingya community today. The violence in Rakhine State is still ongoing. So the fundamental and urgent requirement for the government is to enforce rule of law, create an amicable and harmonious society. Government should give security to its public. It is ripe time for a prompt solution of Rakhine crisis. 

3. Once we get our freedom and rights as genuine citizens, as equal partner of the society, there won’t be any racial conflict, each community will respect the other. Then we will not need any outside help. We can stand on our own feet as before. Here, Rakhine State will be a prosperous province in Myanmar.

Thanks you for your dedication and attachment to Rakhine crisis. 

With best regards,

U Kyaw Min
Democracy and Human Rights Party

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