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A Thorough Analysis Of The Nastiest Census Of The 21st Century

(Photo: AFP)

By Z. M. Babar
RB Analysis
April 10, 2014

The current nationwide census of Burma (Myanmar) started on the 29th March, one day before the scheduled dates and set to end on 10th April, 2014. For Naypyitaw, it is maybe the best luckiest time as it has allocated more than 100 million USD for its military generals and radical elements. How? If we look at the images and videos of enumerators accompanied by excess security forces, it is more likely to be marching towards the enemies. Very simple math it is! There are 100,000 teachers assigned for conducting the 12-day long census for a total number of 1.2 million households of all over Myanmar. According to this figure, it could be fixed that one enumerator has to visit only less than (0.9) house a day for completing the task within 12 days. Based on earlier reports, approximately, there is a pack of 62 million population waiting to be enlisted in the census program. Then, we could say that one enumerator has to meet a household of five family members in average per day and even less than this figure as all the family members are not entitled to answer the questions. Now, we should look at the budget which is more than $100 million (UNFPA approved $70 million alone while UK 10 million Pounds). If so, every enumerator should get 1000 USD which is more than seven hundred thousand Myanmar Kyat roughly. But government has promised them to pay 8,000 Kyat / day. Then, every single enumerator has to receive a voucher of 104,000 Kyat at the end of the census which is one-tenth of the amount they were promised. Surprisingly! Many enumerators complained that they are being paid half of the promised amount by the authorities. On the other hand, the confession of enumerators may be true if it was true that every Rohingya household was forced to pay 3000-4000 Kyat in Arakan in the name of payment to enumerators or just extortion by the township administration. 

Very curiously, the most funniest and meaningless thing ever I have experienced in this census is the number of enumerators accompanied by various government agencies in red-scarf on their shoulders indicating they will give blood or take blood if necessary. But it is very opposite, in social media, we have seen many pictures and videos where flocks of enumerators here and there scattered are marching towards a Rohingya village or household while accompanied by more excess security forces plus other different departments. According to data and respective statistics, only one enumerator is enough to carry the job for a household a day. It is a very easy job for a school-teacher who has always engaged with more than 100 students in a classroom for eight hours per day. This census could be termed as one of the disorganized tasks assigned to the hungry birds. All these odd scenarios indicated that the entire project and budget of the census are being consumed very quickly and ended up with nothing good for the nation and its people, especially the long awaited people for restoration of their lost ethnic identity whom are known as ‘ Rohingya’ by ethnicity in the world history of civilization. Let me highlight about the connection of nasty things that the census brought with it. Many analysts objected the fund approval of the census as a concern of premature and early to take this step because the communal violence, hate speech, 969 terror network of radical monks has not been stopped yet. As the analysts and experts predicted, it has called new campaign for Rohingya ‘starvation in hunger, die in empty-stomach, leave empty-handed or accept Bengali as your ethnicity’ by attacking INGOs offices and suspending Doctors without Borders (MSF). This campaign should be considered as an indirect genocide or ethnocide. If such condition on Rohingyas continues in Arakan, Myanmar is not very far away from facing a civil war of cannibals. The Rohingya IDPs and non-IDPs whom were being threatened by different means may eat or burn themselves to save their ethnicity but there is another option which is opposite. 

Forced Bengalization and checking family lists are not new or strange experiences for those Rohingyas who have been living in Northern Arakan for decades as there are routine check-ups every six to nine months by the then Nasaka forces either to extort money or to put a red-mark on the name of a family member who have left the country. What is new now is the silent, very non-violent revolution of Rohingya amazingly in withstanding on their real ethnic identity which has been labeled, snatched away by successive military regimes until now! There is theory called ‘reaction for an action’. If harsh conditions are applied to a soft thing, it becomes very hard to break (e. g, from muddy to brick, brick to rock, rock to iron). In Rohingya tradition, we say that if you squeeze an orange too much, it will give you bitter taste. So, the more you squeeze the orange, the higher the bitterness and one day, your all taste buds could be possibly destroyed. Therefore, it is the time for Naypyitaw to play a neutral role in solving all differences among the Muslims and Buddhists. If the current ideology of Buddhism taught by radical monk, Wirathu has been followed, the world may become into thousand pieces as it needs one country one religion and one community in purest manner. This is very foolish and silly idea to think in these modern days when we are seeking multi-cultural nature and its beauty without hatred, racial discrimination and so on. For achieving this goal, we need to educate the people, release them to move freely, allow inter-faith marriage; ensure citizenship rights, rule of law, security and safeguard all ethnic minorities. Doing campaign to eliminate non-Buddhist communities from Myanmar is as similar as opposing its original natural beauty as it has been awarded with many different colors and races. At the same time, religious tolerance is very important! We need to tolerate each other as if Rohingyas who have been tolerating serious inhumanities more than five decades.

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