Khawaja Umer Farooq
July 30, 2013
The article on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar by Aijaz Zaka Syed was a thoughtful article. The problem of the Rohingyas is indeed historical, and the British are in large measure to blame for encouraging the uncontrolled migration of Indians — Hindus and Muslims — into Burma from the mid-1850s onward. I thought Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr got it right with his depressing comments his recent visit to Burma. There is a political dimension which is often overlooked. The British recognized that the Indian influx into Burma had created considerable problems, but it was too late to remedy these before the Japanese invaded in 1941. As James Baxter put it in 1940: “There was an Arakanese Muslim community settled so long in Akyab District that it had for all intents and purposes to be regarded as an indigenous race.” This was before the events of 1942 when the Muslims were forced to seek refuge in Northern Arakan.
In my analysis, “Rohingya” is a political label derived post-1949 from an isolated, but charismatic historical reference, not an ethnic. The ethnicity of Rohingyas and other Muslims in Arakan is varied. They are mainly Bengali, some came from elsewhere in South Asia and some historically from Persia and Turkey. As James Baxter put it in 1940: “There was an Arakanese Muslim community settled so long in Akyab District that it had for all intents and purposes to be regarded as an indigenous race.” This was before the events of 1942 when many Muslims were forced to seek refuge in Northern Arakan. There are other Muslim communities in Myanmar whose origins are diverse.
The unfortunate result of recent events however is that a serious polarization between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minorities has developed which in the short term could be insoluble, but somehow has to be managed. The basic truth remains that for all these Muslim communities, Myanmar is their homeland and they have nowhere else to go. The Burmese government has no choice but to take full responsibility for them. They are, in my view, slowly moving in that direction, but it is agonizingly slow. — Derek Tonkin, by e-mail
Congratulations, Riyadh residents!
The front-page story of Riyadh metro is great news of residents of the city. Having seen the unimaginable development the city has undergone over the last three decades, I am eagerly looking forward to having a ride in the upcoming metro. We know the introduction of metro is going to change the entire landscape of the city and will provide a major boost to city’s transport system. Tit will surely ease the existing traffic congestion in the city. It is an accepted fact that at the very inception we are expected to bear up with minor inconveniences by way of excavations related to various construction works in connection with this ambitious and gigantic project. Let us express our sincere thanks to all those who initiated this project while congratulating the residents of Riyadh on being assured of this ‘gift’!
Chaos in Egypt
What is happening in Egypt is nothing but gross violation of human rights. There seems no much difference between the conditions of Egypt and that of Syria, except that the latter is in an advanced stage. Anti-Mursi protesters, who are protesting for so-called “true” democracy, have no right to do so by overthrowing a democratically elected president before the end of an appointed term; these are no rules of democracy. By bringing in the military and rejoicing over it, they are cheering on a bubble of dream, which may burst any time, once the military shows its true color; which it did begin to do so by firing over the pro-democracy protesters.
Massive construction work is under way in Haram area with thousands of engineers and workers working day and night to finish the project on time. Despite presence of millions of people, the Saudi government is providing excellent facilities to pilgrims and there has been no incident of stampede so far for which the authorities deserve commendation. Credit also goes to thousands of security personals, medical teams and also thousands of young volunteers who are working in hard conditions.
As a matter of fact when even when the mercury touches above 40 degree Celsius in Makkah, thousands of young guys wearing brown uniforms and blue jackets are seen facilitating millions of people who come from every corner of the world to perform their pilgrimage with ease. Sometimes these young guys are working under scorching sun at roads to control massive rush of traffic. They are doing all this hard work while fasting. their efforts must be appreciated. Now it is also a responsibility of every one to follow rules and regulations laid down by the concerned authorities in holy places and cooperate with thousands of young.