The mainstream media call it a sectarian clash, between Buddhists and Muslims but the trouble is significantly more deep rooted. The escalated clash was a result of an ongoing struggle between the Rakhines (Arakanese Buddhists) and the Rohingyas. The clash as the mainstream media would say started with the murder of a Buddhist woman last month which led to the bus attack by the Rakhines (on the 3rd June) in the western part of the Arakan state which carried 9 Rohingyas. From this, the clash escalated as hundreds of homes were burnt and hundreds of people died in the process, creating uproar especially in the Sittwe, Ramree, Maung Daw and Buthidaung Townships.
The state has enforced a curfew on these townships to ensure ‘control’ over the violent clashes, and President Thein Sein has placed the area under a state of emergency which means that the military will now be monitoring and taking control of the situation because of worries that the violence will spread to other parts of Burma, also the delicate balance of the recent talks of reform and move to ‘democracy’ will be in danger. But who does this help?
The Rohingya have been sidelined to the fringes of society and as far as they are concerned, they believe that Burma is far from reform to democracy as the state ignores the fundamental needs of its ethnic minorities. The Rohingyas are constantly labelled as foreigners, unwelcome Bangladeshis or Muslim terrorists.
Muhammad Nomaan a Rohingyan living in the U.K. tells us – “For me it’s just a funny thought that how only about 0.5% of total population in Burma can start such a riot for nothing. Please think with common sense why these people are involved in riots even though they know they will be either killed or jailed because we Rohingyas are only asking to restore Citizenship and looking for basic human rights. My family are literally frightened with those Mogs, Rakhine terrorist, Police and army as well involve in such destruction”.
It is ironic that though the Rohingyans are labelled as ‘Bangladeshi terrorists’, it has been reported that the Bangladeshi Border control and officials are pushing back the Rohingyas who are trying to escape the violent clashes Western Arakan; Bangladeshi border guards turned back eight boats carrying more than 300 Rohingya Muslims, mostly women and children, fleeing religious violence in Myanmar, constantly in a limbo state, help cannot be found in neither sides of the Border only racial hatred.
Restless Beings work to champion Human Rights for Rohingyas, to raise awareness of their constant battle of persecution and racial hatred, and this is one of the most crucial times to ensure that their voice is heard. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) are holding a peaceful protest outside the Burmese Embassy on the 13th of June, join them, the Restless Beings ChangeMakers to be part of tangible change.
Date : 13th June 2012
Time: 12:00 -13:30
Place: In front of Burmese Embassy, 19A Charles Street, London, W1J 5DX
Nearest Tube: Green Park (Piccadilly & Victoria Line)