The Western media were the first to speak about the Rohingya problem, which was tasked to criticize the military regime of Myanmar for numerous violations of human rights and isolation policies. Then, since the Rohingya were Sunni Muslims by religion, television channels and newspapers of Muslim countries began to report about them. Rohingya’s large-scale clashes with Burmese nationalists and indigenous people, who, to put it mildly, are not delighted with the neighborhood of Rohingya, played their part.
Rohindz is very easy to distinguish from the Burmese. If the Burmese are Mongoloids, similar to other Indochina inhabitants, then the Rohingya are typical Black Caucasians, like other Bengalis. By placing Rohingya and Burmese next to them, any unprepared person can distinguish them, whereas it is impossible to distinguish Rohingya from Bangladeshi or Indian Bengalis, because they are representatives of the same people.
The epicenter of the events, which we describe below, is the state of Rakhine in western Myanmar, stretching along its western coast. Europeans are more familiar with the old name of the state - Arakan. The main population of this region is Arakans, a people who speak the Arakan dialect of the Burmese language and also practice the Theravada Buddhism. The main difference between Arakans and Myanmar (Burmese) is certain borrowings from Indian languages and culture, as well as the presence of Indian impurities in the blood of many representatives of this nation. This is explained by the close proximity and close ties with neighboring India, primarily with Bengal. In the XV-XVII centuries. Arakan was an independent state, the religion of which was Buddhism, but also inhabited by very numerous Muslim communities. After the first Anglo-Burmese war, tens of thousands of peasants from British India began to relocate to Arakan — above all, ethnic Bengalis, many of whom were Muslims. Indian settlers worked on the Arakan rice plantations, gradually settled in a new place and turned into a new isolated group of Arakan’s population.
It should be noted that groups of the Muslim population, sometimes called "old Muslims", historically live in Arakan. The Burmese, even the nationalist-minded ones, have no questions for them - since time immemorial, these communities have been living in Arakan. The "old Muslims" include three groups. The first is kamana (or camana). Their name comes from the word “kaman” - “archer”, and designates descendants of Muslim warriors - Afghans, Arabs and Persians, who were hired by Arakan kings for military service. In addition, the same group includes the descendants of Persian, Arab, Afghan and Indian merchants who settled in Arakan. Kamanov is very much in Sittwe, on the island of Rambri. The second group is the Myeidu, descendants of temple servants and slaves, who have long spoken Burmese and settled in the Tandue region. Finally, the third group includes the “old Bengali people” who live in North Arakan and have long adapted to the living conditions in the neighborhood of Burmese Buddhists.
New Bengali migrants who are not in the above categories, and called "Rohingya". Between the Rohingya and the Arakans, numerous conflicts erupted regularly, based on economic contradictions, but quickly taking the form of religious opposition. In the 1942 year, during the Japanese occupation of Burma, a massive clash occurred that cost the lives of several thousand Rohingya and twenty thousand Arakans. In the 1947 year, when the formation of partisan armies of national minorities who were in favor of self-determination began, Rohingya was armed with all over Burma. North Arakan became the epicenter of the Mujahideen movement, which sent their representatives to Karachi - with a request to include the territory of North Arakan in the newly formed unified state of Pakistan as a result of the partition of British India.
As it is known, then Pakistan consisted of two parts - Western Pakistan (now - Pakistan) and Eastern Pakistan (now - the independent state of Bangladesh). North Arakan, with its Muslim population of Bengali origin, was supposed to be included in East Pakistan. But the Pakistani authorities did not go for it. By the beginning of the 1950's. units of the Burmese army were able to suppress the speeches of the Rohingya and the Mujahideen leader Kassim and his supporters fled to East Pakistan. In emigration, Kassim continued to be active in consolidating the Rohingya. In the end, in 1960, Kassim was shot dead in Cox Bazaar by unidentified persons, allegedly by agents of the special services. Nevertheless, the separatist Rohingya movement continued to exist and increasingly acquired a religious-political character, receiving support from international fundamentalist organizations. Some Rohingya have been trained in camps of radical organizations in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Radical organizations of religious and political persuasion were formed - the Arakan National Rohingya Organization (ARNO) and the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), some of whose activists were trained in training camps in Afghanistan, and then continued their subversive activities in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The intensification of the radical groups of the Rohingya became another reason why the Burmese authorities and many ordinary Burmese began to insist on tough measures against the representatives of this people. Rohindz is accused of being illegal migrants from Bangladesh and not Myanmar citizens, which means they must go to their homeland. This is true of many Rohingya - the borders between Bangladesh and the Burmese state of Arakan are very transparent, and the migration of Bangladeshis to Myanmar still continues. It is connected with the fact that Bangladesh is the most overpopulated country in the world. It has overtaken the Russian Federation in terms of population, although its territory is smaller in area than most Russian regions. In Bangladesh, the price is every square meter of land. The population lives in terrible cramping and poverty, and next is Myanmar, which, although it is itself a poor country, but has more spacious land. The Burmese themselves, and Arakans in the first place, are very unhappy with the neighborhood with the constantly growing Rohingya community.
At the beginning of the 1970s, when war was going on in Bangladesh, many of the inhabitants of this country became refugees, fleeing, including in Myanmar. Refugees from Bangladesh have been welcomed by the Rohingya communities that have been living in Arakan for a longer time. This increased the number of Bengalis in Arakan. Currently, up to a million Rohingans live in Myanmar. Burmese Buddhists fear that the Rohingya, which have a very high birth rate, will continue to increase their numbers, which, in the end, will lead to the rejection of Arakan. In addition, Rohingya did not intend to assimilate, accept Burmese culture, do not want to follow the rules of behavior adopted in Burmese society. They live in closed enclaves, and radical modifications of religious fundamentalism are becoming increasingly common among young people. This, too, is frightening and repelling the Burmese, including those who have never been distinguished by nationalistic views and are normal to other peoples of multinational Myanmar. The inattention of the Burmese authorities to the problem of Rohingya has played its part. In fact, the government of the country still in the 1960-1980-ies "launched" the problem of Rohingya, which led to numerous conflict situations.
In 1989, color control cards for citizens were introduced in Burma. Full citizens received pink cards, associated - blue cards, naturalized - green cards. Rohindz did not receive any cards, which indicated only one thing - the authorities stubbornly refuse to see them among the citizens of Burma. However, in 1995, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees managed to start issuing Rohingya temporary white record cards. According to the legislation of Myanmar, such a card is not a basis for obtaining citizenship and it does not even indicate the place of birth of its owner. In addition, each Rohingya family pledged to maintain a family list, in which it was necessary to indicate the dates of birth of family members. For Rohingya a ban on free movement was introduced not only in Myanmar, but also in the territory of North Arakan. Even to move between their own settlements, Rohingya must receive special permits and passes. In 2001, due to the deterioration of political stability in the state of Arakan, the authorities imposed a ban on Rohingya from entering the capital of the state of Arakan Sitt.
Back in 1980-s. In Burma, the Buddhist nationalist movement began to form, which was in opposition to the national socialist authorities of this country and came out with even more radical positions in relation to migrants - Rohingya. Leading positions in the Burmese nationalist movement today are monks. One of them, Ashina Virathu (in the photo), is considered the recognized leader of the Burmese nationalists.
When, in Myanmar, in 2011, under pressure from Western countries and supporters of reforms in the country's leadership, large-scale reforms began to democratize the existing regime, the situation with Rohingya received publicity. The problem of interethnic relations in Western Myanmar has become known to the whole world. At the same time, the Burmese nationalists, who received the full support of the majority of the Arakan population, became more active.
The situation in the state of Arakan contributed to the adoption of a new law on population in 2015 in Myanmar, designed to monitor the socio-demographic situation in the country. The essence of this law is that the state is able to control the birth rate in certain regions of the country. At the suggestion of local authorities, the Myanmar government is given the right to introduce such demographic control measures as a ban on women from giving birth more than once every three years, administrative punishments for violations of this law. The Burmese really fear that the prolific Rohingya will inhabit all of Arakan. Buddhists living in Arakan are concerned that Rohingya Muslims already make up the majority of the population in the northern parts of the state. According to Burmese nationalists, this situation threatens Arakan’s religious identity. The government of Myanmar, which also considers Buddhism as the main pillar of national identity, is of course on the side of the Burmese nationalists. Although formally the government structures, especially after the reforms that began in 2011, oppose discrimination on national grounds, in fact they strongly support the movement of the indigenous population of Arakan.
Another wave of pogroms rohingya provoked the tragedy, which is guilty of a group of criminals, which, as you know, there is in any nation. 28 May 2012 The 26-year-old Arakan woman named Tida Htwe was raped and murdered by three young Rohingjas. After that, Rohingya pogroms began in the state of Arakan. The confrontation between the Burmese and the Bengalis - Rohingya, initially being ethnosocial, acquires a religious coloring. In many respects, it is also beneficial for the Rohingya, who receive support from international organizations, countries of the Middle East, legitimize the struggle for the creation of a Muslim state in North Arakan. By the way, the “old Muslims” of Arakan and other states of Myanmar mostly prefer not to support Rohingya, in order not to complicate their own position and not to quarrel with long-time neighbors - Buddhists, and the “indigenous Muslims” are very close to the rest of the Burmese, which can not be said recent immigrants from Bangladesh. "Old Muslims" in Myanmar, no one discriminates, in the capital Yangon and in many other cities there are mosques, many Muslims own a business.
- Burmese demonstration against Rohingya
When the Western and Middle Eastern media became aware of Rohingya’s position in Myanmar, they began a real campaign in defense of this national minority. Of course, in Myanmar, Rohingya is deprived of the rights enjoyed by the representatives of the indigenous peoples of the country - no one denies this. But the discourse about the economic discrimination of Rohingya looks like a clear exaggeration. In the not rich countries of Southeast Asia, most people live at about the same level, be it Bangladeshi Muslims, Rohingya refugees, Burmese or Thai Buddhists. As for the authorities of Bangladesh, they do not want to take their refugees back, since there is simply no place to place them.
The leadership of Myanmar clearly makes it clear that such a large number of Bangladeshi migrants in the country have nothing to do. Do not express any particular desire to take Rohingya and Myanmar’s closest neighbors - Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. The border services of these countries, most often, send Rohingya, trying to sail by boat from Myanmar, back. In fact, the Rohingya have become “extra people” who are being kicked from each other by the countries of the region. At the same time, although no one is actually going to change the situation of Rohingya, the United States, the countries of the Persian Gulf and international human rights and religious organizations are actively speculating on the topic of their situation. The Rohindz are used as a tool to stir up sectarian tensions in South-East Asia and put pressure on Myanmar’s authorities.