They Would Call Me An "Extremist" : Zarni's Buddhist New Year Note
They would call me an 'extremist':
Why I don't celebrate or send anyone any New Year's Greetings
A Hindu-BuddhistNew Year Note
by Dr Maung Zarni
April 14, 2016
Though a Burmese from Mandalay - Burma's most popular site for the Thin Gyan or water throwing new year festival - I do not celebrate the New Year - because my country that likes to call itself "Buddhist" is committing a slow genocide
against the Rohingya stimatizing them as "Bengali". For we view them, wrongly, as simply the descendants of British colonial era 'farm coolies' who came to Western Burma only after the first Anglo-Burmese war of 1824. Wrongly because many of them have verfiably maintained their historical presence and distinct identity as early as AD1500.
Look across the western border, there is a human civilization called Bangladesh. They are a majority Muslim country. Whatever Bangladesh's national shortcomings as a country and a people they do not stand accused of racist crimes against humanity and the slow genocide in the world - whatever the exact legal name of the crime. As seen in these fresh images from Bangladesh, that Muslim country - both the government and the Bengali society, honor and respect not only the human and citizenship rights of the Buddhist Rakhines but also their ethnic identity, culture and customs, despite the fact that most of the Rakhine Buddhists in Bangladesh were descendants of the estimated 180,000 Buddhist Rakhine refugees who fled the Buddhist-on-Buddhist war of AD1785 during which the Bama/Burmese Buddhists overran the Rakhine Buddhist kingdom at Mrauk-U and annexed today's Western Burma into the Ava-based Burmese kingdom in the central Dry Zone plains.
Even as I write the Rohingya remain subjected to the intentional state-sponsored act of group destruction. 140,000 Rohingyas in
IDP camps are just the tip of the berg.
Alas, they would call me an 'extremist'.