HISTORY, ISSUES, AND TRUTHin ARAKAN/RAKHINE STATE, WESTERN BURMA
by Rick Heizman
I am disturbed to see that there is so much deception, fraud, and manipulationof the media about the situation in Rakhine State, Burma. So many people -even those who seem to know a lot about Burma - don’t know the history, andthe truth and reality of the Buddhist Rakhine people. I am writing this to explainthe real reasons, and the truth about what is happening in Rakhine State, in thewestern part of Burma/Myanmar. This is based on the history of the region, andupon real experience in Rakhine State.I was last there about 8 months ago - November, 2011.______________________________________________________________________________
, (also spelt
basically mean the same thing, and refer to the culture,language, ethnicity, and continuously populated homeland of the Buddhist people of the area.
is a new name for the more recent Muslim immigrants who were formerly called BengaliMuslims, or Chittagong Muslims (which indicate their roots).
of Burma borders Bangladesh. The capital of Rakhine State is
(old name Akyab).The largest historical archeological site is
, the last great Rakhine capital (1430-1784) at it'stime one of the richest cities in Asia.
is a new country (1971), originally part of various ancient 'Indian' Hindu or Buddhistkingdoms, later Muslim conquests brought Islam, then it became part of the British Indian Empire,gained independence in 1947 as East Pakistan (as one country linked with West Pakistan 1000 milesaway) and became independent as Bangladesh in 1971.
THE BASIC TRUTH
The basic truth (explained below with real history and facts) is that the BuddhistRakhine people are under a real and brutal campaign to seize their centuriesold cultural homeland and turn it into an Islamic State, without other people orreligions tolerated. This has already happened in parts of Rakhine State nearthe Bangladesh border in the area of Maungdaw and Buthidaung. The Rakhinehave never taken over or invaded other lands - they have lived in their ancient1