- Khin Maung Myint
All along, I have thought that journalists are well educated, intelligent and well informed, know their jobs thoroughly, and credible people, until lately. I couldn’t understand why, not everyone, but some international media persons want to deceive the readers with fake stories that only gullible and naive persons would believe, but not me. Some may be doing them purposely for reasons they only would know, but I suspect that some are not doing their homeworks thoroughly and thus are publishing such misinformations and meaningless reports. Such fabricated news can do great damage to a country.
Here, I don’t want to mention the names, but many of the well known TV channels in the world including those in the West, are frequently airing fabricated fake news about the plights of minority people in Rakhine. They had been persistently advocating for the cause of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), using false and fabricated news and depicting irrelevant photos, which I presumed were fed to them by the international lobbyist groups.
The most conspicuous and the blunderous mistake they made was, airing repeatedly a video clip of an ethnic Rakhine teenage girl purported to be a Rohingya girl, whose security and safety is being threatened. Anyone who is familiar of the differences in features, dresses and lifestyles of the Rakhine and those people, realized straight away that it was faked and fabricated. That was a very irresponsible and unethical act committed by a media. I would like to suggest to them to conduct some research about those people who are claiming to belong to an ethnic race of Myanmar, which they are definitely not and are thus, naturally, not being recognized as such and also were being denied citizenships because they are not entitled.
Our authorities had denied, time and again, that they are in fact illegal migrants, and had also rejected every accusations by human rights groups from around the world that the government is persecuting them. Those organizations didn’t have concrete evidence to prove they are our nationals. However, although they are shouting at the top of their voices so as to be heard around the world to get the attentions and sympathies of the gullible people, I doubt that some of those people even know where the Rakhine Region is, let alone where Maungtaw, Buthitaung, and Rathetaung are.
To clear the confusions created by the lobbyists and unscrupulous international media, I deemed it necessary to explain about the ethnicity and races of Myanmar. We can take pride in the fact that a small country like ours’, with a meager population of around fifty four millions is made up of a diversity of ethnicity. The officially recognized number of ethnic races being 135 in total, is an indication of our generosity and open mindedness to recognize even the smallest group of people with unique ethnicity of their own as one ethnic race. This figure is quite a large number compared to those of China, the most populous country with over a billion people, where there are only about 55 recognized ethnic races apart from the majority Han race. Likewise our figure far exceeds proportionately to that of India, the second most populous country with also over a billion people, where there are only about 2000 different ethnic races.
The 135 ethnic races are grouped under 8 main national races as follows:-
• KACHIN. Comprises 12 different ethnic races.
• KAYAH. Has 9 different ethnic races.
• KAYIN. Is made up of 11 different ethnic races.
• CHIN. It has the largest number at 53 different ethnic races.
• BAMAR. Consists 9 different ethnic races.
• MON. Only 1 ethnic race.
• RAKHINE. Has 7 different ethnic races.
• SHAN. It stands at second with 33 different ethnic races.
As those people claimed that they are an ethnic race from the Rakhine Region, I’ll be mentioning the different ethnic races of Rakhine only, while omitting those of the other national races as those would take up much space unnecessarily. The different ethnic races belonging to the Rakhine are:–
If someone wants to check for the people, who are claiming they belonged to Myanmar as they had dwelt here for centuries, in the list of 135 different officially recognized ethnic races, they can search in the Wikipedia on the Internet. But will certainly not find it, as they didn’t belong to our country at any time in our history and thus weren’t listed there. That name never was in existence before our Independence during the British colonial days and there was never any record either, that such a group existed. In fact they are illegal migrants posing as natives of Myanmar to deceive the international community to get settled in other countries outside of their own.
Those international organizations, the international media, INGOs, human rights groups, and countries advocating for them should be aware and be knowledgable that recognition as an ethnic race is one thing, and granting of citizenship is another. I will clarify this statement. In our country, we have Panthay, Bamar Chinese, Bamar Indian, Bamar Muslim, Anglo Burman, Anglo Indian, Bengali Muslim, Bengali Hindus, Bengali Buddhist, Gurkha, and even a few Tibetan, whose ancestors had dwelt on our soil for many generations before our Independence, but are not recognized as ethnic races. Though they are not recognized as ethnic races, those who are entitled and their genuine descendants are being granted citizenships. As for the illegal migrants there is no reason or precedence to grant them those rights.
I had written quite a few articles in which, I had time and again explained with concrete historical evidences that those people who are claiming to belong to an ethnic race of Myanmar are in fact illegal immigrants or descendants of the illegal immigrants who had been sneaking into our country since our Independence. Thus they cannot be recognized as an ethnic race or granted citizenships by any means.
During the British colonial days they were unheard of. However, that name came into existence only in the late 1960s, after a clandestine underground movement group called the “Rohingya Muslim Independence Revolutionary Front” (RMIRF) was uncovered in Sittway. Today, that name has become world renown with the help of some international media, human rights groups and INGOs.
In my opinion the present ARSA armed terrorists have the same objectives as the RMIRF, which was to curve out a chunk of our land to establish a state of their own. Today, as the truths are emerging, their true intentions and the identities of those who are masterminding, abetting, and aiding them are gradually being exposed. The masks behind which, they are hiding as the sympathetic innocent minorities of Myanmar, who are being unfairly persecuted, had at last been peeled off.