Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mass Protest Around Misuse of the Term ‘Arakan’ Arises in Arakan State

Narinjara


By Takaloo
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Maungdaw: Mass protests against the destructive and deceptive use of the term "Arakan" by a group of people who are not associated with it have been arising in western Burma’s Arakan State.

Mass Protest Around Misuse of the Term Mass Protest meeting in Maung Daw, Arakan state.
Public conferences were held in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and the capital Sittwe in Arakan State denouncing those who they claim have made up a fallacious history of Arakan, misusing the terminology of "Arakan and Arakanese" in order to make human rights claims before international communities.

A public conference to denounce those allegedly misusing the term "Arakan" was held on Saturday (29 October 2011) at Myoma Buddhist Monastery in Maungdaw with participations of different tribes such as Mro, Khami, Thet, Dainak and the peoples who describe themselves as Bengali (Hindu).

"We all are living and suffering together here on the land of Arakan regardless of our race and creed and so we should not selfishly destroy the image of Arakan by making up a false and illusive history about it in order to build an international facade, simply so a small group of people may make a short lived profit", said U Thar Thar Maung (Nat Mrite Hline Prar), a native of Maungdaw and a well-known writer and historian.

"But a group of Chittagonian Bengali Muslims who are living in Bangladesh and other countries have concocted the name Rohingya, a name that has never found in the Arakanese or world history before Burma's independence. They then started to imprudently Rohingyanize and Islamize the land, culture and religion of the Arakan without considering the other peoples living in Arakan. We cannot accept their narrow-minded ideology, it insults Arakan and all the peoples here and we should prepare to prevent our land and ourselves from those destructive elements."

Mass Protest Around Misuse of the Term Mass Protest meeting in Buthidaung, Arakan state.
He said the term Arakan or Arkanese is derived from the Pali word "Arakkha" and started to be used widely when the British ruled Arakan State. It is also known as Rakkhapura or Rakhine in ancient history.

The Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, who won the majority of votes in Arakan State, also held a similar conference on the 27th of October in Ayezayti Monastery in Buthidaung, sixteen miles northeast of Maungdaw, on the Bangladesh border, and again on the 9th of October in its head office in Sittwe, the capital of the State. The different tribes living in those townships participated in both conferences, contributing their support against those who have been perpetuating the misuse of the term Arakan.

"Many people did not want to return home, even after concluding the conference that was held here from 12:30 pm to 4 pm, because they were embittered with the feelings that their land and valued heritages are being insulted by those groups of Chittagonian Bengali Muslims with their made up histories of Rohingya", said a resident from Buthidaung who attended the conference.

U Aung Mra Kyaw, an MP of the State Parliament and the President of the RNDP branch in Sittwe Township said his party held the public conferences not to breed racial or religious hatred amongst the nationalities or communities living together in the Arakan State.

"Some groups of Bengali Muslims living in foreign countries have widely insulted the glory of the land and peoples of Arakan by misusing the term "Arakan" when they are making up their histories of land, peoples, culture, religion and literature. " Arakan" is being used as an English term for Rakhine.

As we are responsible to protect our land and peoples and to raise awareness of those insults amongst true Arakan people, we are holding these public conferences, but we have no intention to breed racial or religious hatred among the peoples living together on our land", said U Aung Mra Kyaw.

The Rakhine Nationalities Development Party has also declared in its statement that Arakan and Arakanese are just the English terms for the Rakhine (land and nationalities), and that they strongly denounce the fallacious usage of these terms by groups of Bengali Muslim in Bangladesh.

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