- Khin Maung Myint
Since the bloody clashes in Maungtaw, during 2012, in the Rakhine State of Western Myanmar, that remote and less known region of our land have become the center of attention in the world—especially in the Muslim dominant countries. Our country have been criticized, condemned and accused of human rights abuses, committing of atrocities, carrying out genocides and ethnic cleansing against the minority Muslims of that place.
Although it was them, the minority group, who instigated the clashes in the first place at that time, the international media portrayed them as the victims of persecutions and discriminations by the government and the Rakhines, the majority race of that State. It was done by a flood of fake and fabricated stories depicting the Bengali living in those areas as the Rohingyas, an ethnic race who were denied recognition as such and were being persecuted and discriminated.
In reality, there was no ethnic race called the Rohingyas at any time in our history. That name came into being about only six decades ago. At that time the name was connected to an underground movement, which was uncovered in the late nineteen sixties. It was called the Rohingya Muslim Independent Revolutionary Front (RMIRF). Their aim was to take up arms against the government and liberate the Buthitaung-Maungtaw area where the majority of the population were and still are the Bengali. Their ultimate objective was to curve out an area of our land to establish a Free Rohingyaland.
From their aim and object, it was quite clear that they were trying to revitalize the lost cause of the Mujahideen rebellion that broke out in that area right after we became independent. When that movement failed when their leaders were apprehended in 1969 in Sittwe (then Akyab) and jailed, that name went into obscurity for sometimes. However, when that name reemerged their tactics had changed. That time around, they used the name Rohingya to deceive the world that they belonged to an ethnic race of Myanmar who were being persecuted and discriminated because of their religion. They also started propagandizing vigorously about atrocities, genocides and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, which were all lies. It was just a ploy to deceive the world and pave the way for their exodus to other countries in the region.
In the beginning they were accepted as asylum seekers by some countries in the region and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices there registered them as refugees. That gave them opportunities to be settled in a third country that would take them in. However, as more and more Bengali, mostly from Bangladesh, posing as Rohingyas from Myanmar tried to migrate to those countries, their bluffs were exposed and now they no are longer welcome there.
Thus they changed their tactics again. This time they resorted to take up arms and stage simultaneous assaults on three border police outposts in the Maungtaw area and also spread false and fabricated news to get the international attentions. During such attacks some police personnels and civilians were killed and many arms and ammunitions were stolen by the attackers. All these latest activities were masterminded and led by one religious and racist extremist leader who had connections with the Taliban terrorist group in Pakistan. Some Bangladeshis and a Pakistani are also involved. These people received fundings from certain organizations in the Middle East.
In the past, the clashes between the local Rakhine and the Bengali residents in those areas were just communal conflicts. However, the latest attacks were infringements of our sovereignty, as some foreigners and those who are getting monetary supports from outside are involved. In such circumstances we have every right to take whatever action is necessary to safe-guard our sovereignty.
The enemy have now resorted to create reign of terror by killing, abducting and threatening their own kind, who are thought to be cooperating with the authorities. They burned their own villages to make the world believe they were done by the government troops. Such actions undermine peace and stability of that region and pose threats to our sovereignty. They also carried out propagandas by spreading false and fabricated news on the Internet and some well established Western media are covering those fabricated news. Such irresponsible media are stoking international criticism of our country.
Not very long ago, one prominent Western media posted two satellite images purported to be that of a village that was burned by our armed forces in the Maungtaw area. Of the two images, one was said to be taken before and the other taken after it was burned. I checked the two images thoroughly and found that the two images were not of the same place. The topography of the surrounding areas in the two images were distinctly not the same. I pointed out that fact in my comments on their Facebook post and also questioned them how could they be so sure that it was the work of our armed forces just by looking at those images, but received no response. In my opinion their silence was an admission that they were wrong.
Lately the Myanmar News Agency had released some photos used by the propagandists to spread false and fabricated news. The photos used to fabricate the news were from other countries that had nothing to do with the incidents in our country. When I saw them I was greatly surprised that some people around the world could be so gullible and ignorant to believe those false news and criticize and condemn our country.
For those who haven’t seen I will describe some of them to support my statement. One photo was from Tibet, in which Tibetan Buddhist monks in saffron colored robes were preparing to incinerate the dead bodies of those killed by the earthquake in 2010. Though the color of the robes may be similar, Myanmar monks and Tibetan monks are quite differentiable. That photo was captioned as though the Buddhist monks in Myanmar had slaughtered the Muslims. It was totally shameless and absurd to mislead the ignorant people around the world in such a manner.
In another photo there were many charred bodies lying around and black people looking on. It was in fact a fuel tanker fire that caused those deaths in Congo. Again the caption described it as Muslims being burned by the Buddhist monks in Myanmar. Other photos from India, Guatemala, Thailand and even a movie plot from a Hollywood’s Rambo series “First Blood”, in which Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) wearing black paints on his face, which was described as a “video of torture on Rohingyas” were being used.
I cannot imagine that those people, who carried out the propagandas to be so naive to use those irrelevant photos to mislead Muslims and the world at large. I’m more surprised that many people around the world, including those at the United Nations and some Nobel laureates to be so gullible to believe them. However, thanks to the propagandists, these photos speak volumes and if only the people around the world could lay their eyes on them as they are now being exposed, their perceptions of Myanmar would be changed.
Then there is the Interim Report of the Investigation Commission on Maungtaw released on 3 January, 2017. It would further prove that the stories about the atrocities, genocides, rapes and burning of the villages were done by the armed forces are just fabrications and are far from the truths. Now that the truths are gradually emerging, those who have been voicing concerns about the so-called Rohingyas should be ashamed of themselves, if they have any dignity or self-respect, for being so naive to be misled. My advice to them is: “In the future use your common sense and don’t believe blindly everything in the media, whether social, print or broadcast”. No one is reliable!