Monday, 17 December 2018

U Kyaw Hla, the President of the Muslim Liberation Organisation of Burma

Dear respected leaders and guests,

I am very much honoured to have the opportunity to participate in this gracious meeting. So I thank very much those who kindly invited me. I am also very pleased to have the opportunity to submit my opinion in this meeting.

Dear respected leaders and guests,

Some renowned historians said that the religion of Islam reached Arakan some 1300 years (AD 7 Century). This fact has been even accepted by the ruling military regime in their publication.

Just before the 2nd World War there were no any discrimination and oppression against the Muslims in Arakan as well as in Burma. In Arakanese history Muslims had served in Arakanese Army during independent Arakan kingdom. In the same way the Muslims had served in the periods of Burmese kings.

In those days Muslims and non Muslims had lived peacefully and amicably. Moreover, Muslims had participated in the struggle against imperialist and fascists. Muslims had taken part in the establishment of unity and solidarity during the struggle of independence of Burma.

Just before the 2nd World War there was imperialism in the world. Those who were under the imperialist and capitalists hated imperialist and capitalist.

After the Second World War racial discrimination and religious hatred increased in this world when those under the colonial rule and those who were forced to lose their rights started to hate the imperialists and the capitalists.

At the same time the ruling imperialist and the capitalist played the divide and rule policy in order to hamper their uprising against them.

Arakan was an independent sovereign country. The history of Arakan was changed after it was invaded by Burmese king Bodawphaya in 1784. However, it was occupied again by the British imperialist in 1824 AD and the whole Burma was occupied by the British in 1885 AD. Similarly the imperialist occupied several countries in the world.

When 2nd World War started the countries under the imperialist rule started their struggle against them. It was very important to have unity among the people who wanted to regain their independence. Some were afraid that Arakanese people also might demand their independence. There was no racial and religious discrimination in Arakan until 2nd World War. Arakanese people had been coexisting peacefully and fraternally in Arakan. To crash the unity of the Arakanese people some external elements had instigated racial and religious hatred between Muslim and Buddhist in Arakan in 1942. As a result the unity of the Arakanese people was crushed. Now it is almost 64 years that the people of Arakan have been suffering from the wounds while hating each other.

For that riot during the 2nd World War, the two sister communities, the Muslims and Buddhists, were engaged in fighting each other and they failed to demand even their independence of Arakan.

Moreover, the Arakanese leaders in those days trusted deeply the sincerity and integrity of late Bogyoke Aung San for which they did not demand their independence. Additionally the Arakanese people, both Muslims and Buddhists, respected Bogyoke's promise "we all brothers will enjoy the rights equally" after the independence. However, after the death of Bogyoke Aung San, the successive regimes have crushed his promises.

In 1974 the socialist government led by General Ne Win granted Arakan statehood in name sake. Arakan is a part of Burma. The military regimes seized power since 1962 now it is more than 44 years. All the people in Burma have been under the oppression of the military regimes. Especially the Muslims including Rohingyas have been more oppressed. They were not allowed to move from one place to another and are prohibited to get married though they are matured. The administrators are inhumane and brutal.

Constitution

Presently there is no constitution in Burma. The military authorities have been ruling Burma by verbal orders. So there is no justice and rule of law. The entire people of Burma are now against the military regime.

The Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB) started to write a constitution to practice .in Burma when the military regime falls and genuine democracy prevail. Later the DAB handed over the draft constitution to National Council of the Union of Burma which is now almost being completed. When genuine democracy prevails in Burma the draft constitution would be passed by a referendum. Since the independence in 1948 Burma had been ruled as a unitary state. So there are many racial and religious groups are living side by side in every state of Burma.

For example, in Shan State, Shans are majority when Pa-0, Palaung, Wa, Lahu etc. are ethnic minorities. There are also some Kachins in Shan State who are minority.

Similarly in Kachin State, there are Shan minorities, in Karn State Mon minorities and in Mon State there are Karen minorities. In the same way in Arakan State there are many ethnic and minority groups.

When genuine democracy and genuine federal union emerged, all ethnic and minority groups in Shan State could have to enjoy equal right as well as the ethnic and minority groups in Karen State, Mon State, Arakan State, Kachin State, Chin State,. Karenni State and other divisions.

Federal union emerges only when military dictatorship falls and genuine democracy emerges. When such situation arises there would be no racial and religious discrimination against a weak community by another strong community. If there is oppression and injustice we can say there is no genuine democracy and genuine federal union in Burma. Now Muslims are under the oppression and suppression. When genuine democracy and genuine federal union emerge the Muslims would not be oppressed and suppressed.

If they are set to be oppressed they would make demonstrations against the ruling circle.

Conclusion:

As mentioned above, during the 2nd World War racial riot took place in Arakan. After the independence some narrow minded non-Muslim government employees under the Anti Fascist People Freedom League (AFPFL) practiced injustice against the Muslims along the border areas. Some narrow minded Muslims in the name of Mujahid also practiced injustices against the Buddhist people along the border. So the relation between Muslim and Buddhist communities became tense. Therefore government employees increased their oppression against the Muslims.

In the world very huge and significant problems take place based on very minor incident. In Arakan also the problem between Muslim and Buddhist took place because of the extremists. When the Muslims along the border were oppressed and suppressed they objected the Arakan State hood when the Buddhists demanded from the AFPFL government led by U Nu. So the relationship between Muslims and Buddhists became more tense. The situation of the Muslims became worst when U Ne Win seized power in Burma. Now under the ruling SPDC regime Muslims are the worst sufferers.

I would like to urge all the Muslims in Burma to establish unity; I also want to urge Rohingya brothers to establish the unity among the Rohingya community. At the same time I would like to urge all the Muslims to establish harmonious relationship with non Muslim nationalities of Burma.

Thank you very much.

This paper was submitted at  First Rohingya Consultation: Working together to find a solution, on 2-3 August 2006, Sigha Dum Conference Room, Faculty of Political science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, Organized by Centre for Social Development, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, In cooperation with the National Reconciliation Programme  (NRP)