Exchange to Change January 2018 E2C January 2018 web - Page 7

INTERVIEW
7
What do you see as the underlying causes of the conflict ?
Aung : It is a very complex crisis , so it is not possible to pinpoint the exact underlying causes . There are many issues involved in this problem such as legacies of British colonialism , the successive military dictatorships , ethno-religious animosity , unequal distribution of development in the country , etc . Growing Buddhist nationalism is another factor driving the crisis . All in all , I consider that this crisis emerged along with the ongoing transition to democracy that started in 2011 , after more than five decades of military dictatorship . In any account , Rohingya populations should not be made scapegoats in any measures in the name of democratization or the military operations rooting out alleged Islamic terrorists .
In Myanmar , the Rohingya Muslims are often seen as ‘ illegal immigrants ’. How would you describe the perspective of the people of Bangladesh towards the Rohingya ?
Juel : The people of Bangladesh never support the idea that the Rohingya people are ‘ immigrants ’ to Myanmar . Despite being put forward since the 1970 ’ s , this idea is not supported by history . Cultural and economic exchanges between the people living in the Chittagong region of Bengal ( today ’ s Bangladesh ) and the Rakhine state of Myanmar started hundreds of years ago . Naturally , these exchanges might have been accompanied by human migration of people from Chittagong to the Rakhine state as well as from Arakan areas of Myanmar to the Chittagong Hill Tracts ( CHT ).
The Government of Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as its citizens ; let alone accepts their identity as ‘ Rohingyas ’. Rather , the Rohingyas are termed as Bengalis over there , possibly because the way the Rohingya people speak is similar to the local dialect of Chittagong and Cox ’ s Bazaar areas . However , this dialect has much dissimilarity with the mainstream Bengali language .
For the people of Bangladesh , the Government of Myanmar has been driven by a narrow political idea of building a nation state based on religion , which contrasts with the choice for a secular state in Bangladesh after the liberation war against Pakistan . The people of Bangladesh alongside the government clearly treat the forcefully displaced Rohingyas as Myanmar citizens .
People outside and inside Myanmar learn about the Rohingya conflict through local and international news coverage . Are there , according to you , differences between the national and the international news coverage ?
Aung : While the crisis is unfolding , two media framings dominate the narrative of this ethno-religious violence . The international media coverage mainly dwells on a human right discourse and politics of immediation , presenting a graphic description of the Rohingya victims and their dire plight .
Some local media , however , provoke anti-Rohingya sentiments in the country by associating them with alleged Islamisation in Myanmar and outlining the national founding narrative which excludes the Rohingya populations . Most local media abstain from covering the crisis , thus giving room to any alternative interpretations of conflict to the general populace . These two conflicting media framings do not paint the whole picture . Instead , they position different claims and legitimize certain aspects of this violent conflict . Furthermore , these framings widen the gap between public responses to the crisis and the dynamics of the conflict .
Since there is no substantial , balanced and accurate news coverage available to the audience in Myanmar , they rely on social media to get news and information on the Rakhine state crisis . Claims and counter-claims on the Rohingya crisis are abundant on social media in Myanmar . It is relevant to mention here how extreme Buddhist sects in the country have mobilized individual framings of social media users . These social media framings scratch the surface of the pre-existing cognitive schemes of many Buddhist populations . Also , the military and the government are spinning the information on social media based on their own stands . These collective anxieties curated by social media are creating the major denial of the existence of the Rohingya in the nation-state of Myanmar .
Besides , local audiences deem the international coverage biased towards / in favor of the Rohingya and therefore , do not accept certain information . Rather , they view it as ‘ meddling in internal affairs ’ and a threat to ‘ Burmese Buddhist identity and values ’.
To describe the Rohingya crisis , different concepts are used such as ‘ genocide ’ and ‘ ethnic cleansing ’. How would you describe the
Exchange to change January 2018
INTERVIEW What do you see as the underlying causes of the conflict? Aung: It is a very complex crisis, so it is not possible to pinpoint the exact underlying causes. There are many issues involved in this problem such as legacies of British colonialism, the successive military dictatorships, ethno-religious animosity, unequal distribution of development in the country, etc. Growing Buddhist nationalism is another factor driving the crisis. All in all, I consider that this crisis emerged along with the ongoing transition to democracy that started in 2011, after more than five decades of military dictatorship. In any account, Rohingya populations should not be made scapegoats in any measures in the name of democratization or the military operations rooting out alleged Islamic terrorists. In Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslims are often seen as ‘illegal immigrants’. How would you describe the perspective of the people of Bangladesh towards the Rohingya? Juel: The people of Bangladesh never support the idea that the Rohingya people are ‘immigrants’ to Myanmar. Despite being put forward since the 1970’s, this idea is not supported by history. Cultural and economic exchanges between the people living in the Chittagong region of Bengal (today’s Bangladesh) and the Rakhine state of Myanmar started hundreds of years ago. Naturally, these exchanges might have been accompanied by human migration of people from Chittagong to the Rakhine state as well as from Arakan areas of Myanmar to the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). The Government of Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as its citizens; let alone accepts their identity as ‘Rohingyas’. Rather, the Rohingyas are termed as Bengalis over there, possibly because the way the Rohingya people speak is similar to the local dialect of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazaar areas. However, this dialect has much dissimilarity with the mainstream Bengali language. For the people of Bangladesh, the Government of Myanmar has been driven by a narrow political idea of building a nation state based on religion, which contrasts with the choice for a secular state in Bangladesh after the liberation war against Pakistan. The people of Bangladesh alongside the government clearly treat the forcefully displaced Rohingyas as Myanmar citizens. People outside and inside Myanmar learn about the Rohingya conflict through local and international news coverage. Are there, according to you, differences between the national and the international news coverage? Aung: While the c ɥͥ́́չ)ݼɅ́єѡ)Ʌѥٔѡ́ѡɕ)٥Qѕɹѥ)ٕɅ䁑ݕ́յ)ɥЁ͍͔ѥ́)ѥɕ͕ѥɅ)͍ɥѥѡI儁٥ѥ)ѡȁɔи)MݕٕȰɽٽ)ѤI儁͕ѥ́ѡ)չ䁉䁅ͽѥѡݥѠ)%ͱͅѥ5兹)ѱѡѥչ)Ʌѥٔݡ፱Ց́ѡ)I儁ձѥ̸5Ё)хɽٕɥѡ()ɥ̰ͥѡ́٥ɽѼ)ѕɹѥٔѕɕхѥ́)ѼѡɅձQ͔ݼ)ѥɅ́)Ёѡݡɔ%ѕѡ)ͥѥɕЁ́ѥ)х́ѡ́٥Ёи)ѡɵɔѡ͔Ʌ́ݥ)ѡݕՉɕ͕)Ѽѡɥͥ́ѡ幅́ѡ)и)Mѡɔ́Չхѥ)Ʌєٕ́Ʌم)ѼѡՑ5兹Ȱѡ)ɕ䁽ͽѼЁ́)ɵѥѡIхє)ɥ̸ͥ ́չѕȵ)ѡI儁ɥͥ́ɔչ)ͽ5兹ȸ%Ё)ɕمЁѼѥɔ܁ɕ) ՑЁ͕́ѡչ䁡ٔ)镐٥ՅɅ́ͽ)̸͕Q͔ͽ)Ʌ͍́Ʌэѡəѡ)ɔѥѥ͍ٔ́) ՑЁձѥ̸ͼ)ѡх䁅ѡٕɹЁɔ)ѡɵѥͽ)͕ѡȁݸх̸)Q͔ѥٔᥕѥ́Ʌѕ)ͽɔɕѥѡ)ѡѕѡI)ѡѥхє5兹ȸ) ̰ͥՑ́)ѡѕɹѥٕɅ͕)ѽ݅ɑ̽ٽȁѡI)ѡɕɔЁЁх)ɵѥIѡȰѡ٥܁Ё+aѕɹϊd)ѡɕЁѼa ɵ͔ ՑЁѥ)مՕϊd)Q͍ɥѡI儁ɥ̰ͥ)ɕЁ́ɔ͕Ս+adaѡͥd)!܁ݽձԁ͍ɥѡ)፡Ѽ(Յ