Posted in Rohingya

Rohingya cheer the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi

News of Aung San Suu Kyi’s arrest had spread quickly through the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.

“If the camp authorities had allowed it, you would have seen thousands of Rohingya out on celebration marches,” one refugee in the Nayapara camp Mirza Ghalib told AFP.

“Why shouldn’t we celebrate?” said a Rohingya community leader Farid Ullah from another refugee settlement.

AFP reported that some Rohingya held special prayers to welcome the “justice” meted out to ASSK.

Another Rohingya in the Kutupalong camp Mohammad Yunus Arman spoke to Al Jazeera, saying, “We don’t feel sorry that she is overthrown from power now”.

Rohingya anger at ASSK is understandable as her civilian government did nothing to stand in the way of the 2017 army crackdown that led to the minority community’s helter-skelter exodus back to Chittagong.

A different Rohingya community leader at Thaingkhali camp Sayed Ullah, however, told Al Jazeera that with the military now grabbing power, “there is no way the army would let us get back to our homeland”.

BELOW: Suu Kyi today is still as popular among Burmans as she was in her younger (file photo) days

Burmans love ASSK, Rohingya hate her 

Rohingya refugees claim that Myanmar is their homeland.

Prior to Monday’s coup d’etat, Myanmar was under the rule of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party and the military — both of which governed together under a power-sharing arrangement.

The Rohingya hate ASSK who leads Myanmar’s biggest political party.

NLD, however, had won the last November 2020 election in a landslide, indicating the party’s widespread support.

ASSK remains personally popular among the public – though not among the Rohingya evidently – for her willingness to stand in the dock of the International Court of Justice to defend her country against the ‘genocide’ charge.

BELOW: Traveling to the Hague, ASSK stood to face the ICJ judges

Must we now rethink idea of what makes a homeland?

Rohingya refugees claim that Myanmar is their homeland.

Let’s examine the concept of a homeland = Home + Land … country where one’s own people have a home.

What is a home? It is a household comprising members of a family.

Members of the Myanmar-home nonetheless do not see Rohingya as belonging to their household. To them, Rohingya are foreigners and interlopers.

The army generals invariably stress that Rohingya are ‘Bengali’, i.e. people originating from Bengal (like Punjabi are people originating from Punjab).

It is strange to hear the Rohingya complain so vociferously that ‘Bengali’ is a slur and hate speech word.

(By the way, Chittagong – where the Rohingya ancestors originated from – had in the past been ruled by the Sultan of Bengal.)

But the Rohingya most vehemently insist they’re not Bengali, much like how Lim Guan Eng declared he is “not Chinese”.

BELOW: Bengalis crossing to Burma over various periods of time — click to enlarge

Politically homeless Rohingya disperse into diaspora

Rohingya refugees claim that Myanmar is their homeland.

Myanmar’s concept of homeland nonetheless does not include Rohingya as belonging to the polity.

The Rohingya concept of homeland, on the other hand, is one where they see themselves as native to Myanmar even though they’re of a different race, religion, culture and language to the majority population.

These two concepts of homeland held by the Burmans vs the Rohingya do not gel with each other. Who gets to pick the parameters: The majority or the minority?

Monday’s coup d’etat in Myanmar was a power struggle between the military and NLD on who should control the homeland. Answer: Power grows out from the barrel of a gun, apoarently.

Consequently, Rohingya refugees yesterday told the western media they are more afraid of returning now that the military is in complete control.

It boils down to this: The Rohingya are angry at Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD. They are afraid of General Min Aung Hlaing and his tatmadaw.

The Rohingya resent the just ousted civilian Burmese government and rightly hate the military emergency government that perpetrated the ”war crimes”.

At the same time, the Rohingya keep claiming Myanmar is their homeland — one which they’ve been too scared to return to.

In other exodus waves starting from the 1970s, the Rohingya had fled, then returned, fled and returned again.

This time, however, Rohingya are paying human traffickers good money to smuggle them into Malaysia.

Despite that Myanmar is their claimed homeland, more Rohingya are living in Bangladesh (1,600,000), Saudi Arabia (470,000), Pakistan (450,000), Malaysia (200,000) and the United Arab Emirates (50,000) than in Myanmar (700,000).

The top five countries listed above as hosting Rohingya are all Muslim located across a wide geographical spread.

It does not appear at all that Rohingya are true family members of the Myanmar home(land).

BELOW:  Population census of immigrants to Burma 

Reason the Burmese call Rohingya ‘Bengali’

What does belonging to a homeland mean? A close parallel to the Rohingya refugees are the Vietnamese boat people.

Burmese authorities reject the Rohingya self-identification because it is an expedient label adopted and popularized in the 1950s-60s mostly for political advantage.

Moreover the antecedent story that Rohingya spin about themselves do not square with historical reality. Rohingya were actually described in colonial British census records as ‘Chittagonians’ or ‘Bengali’.

Their claim to the Myanmar homeland has about as much weight as another set of boat people claiming ties with Vietnam.

Those fleeing the Indochina country following America’s loss of the Vietnam war were ethnic Chinese. Fact: Vietnamese boat people were the country’s Chinese minority.

The attitude of the Burmese majority towards Rohingya stems from reasons better known to the Burmans but which the media is not covering.

Meanwhile the attitude of Rohingya towards the Burmese majority is revealed in their rejoicing at ASSK’s arrest.

Descendents of Vietnamese boat people

Priscilla Chan is the wife of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Her parents were Vietnamese boat people. The family moved to the United States after stopping over in China for awhile.

Priscilla has a Chinese surname and speaks Cantonese. She gave her daughters with Zuckerberg Chinese names (not Vietnamese names).

BELOW: An entry in Quora explains why Pricilla is identified as being of Chinese origin (heritage) rather than Vietnamese, and recounts a personal anecdote — “There are generations of Chinese from Vietnam that wouldn’t even speak a word of Vietnamese …”



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6 thoughts on “Rohingya cheer the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi

  1. Wondering if the half Malaysian-Vietnamese US Mayor that recently in the news identified herself as Vietnamese American or Chinese American?

    1. Ex-PKR Segamat MP Edmund Santhara Kumar Ramanaidu joined Bersatu.

      I’m MCA-BN voter. This arrangement is fine with me.

  2. Racism is a sin , for evangelical, catholic, sunni or shia
    Racism is a social disease if you secular
    Looking for solutions from old cultures either from west or east are dead end
    Let’s figure out a new social contract for ALL Insan without reference to religious or cultural of old

    1. How about lying? Is lying a sin too? Have you received your $2000 stimulus check? Or I forget, it is $1400 now. #Bidenlied.
      What is racism anyways? Is defending your culture, religion racism? People said Trump a racist, but he used to be called Black Best Friend. It is the media that hype racism. The fact that the struggle is now between classes of rich and poor, of elites and common people. You have been brainwashed.

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