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To Hopeland and Back (X) Day 4 2

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Dec 12, 2014

Day Four. Friday, 28 November 2014: Censoring the census results


The provisional census data which came out on 30 August had nothing to say about the 135 national races
of the country. In fact, Minister U Khin Yi, who is responsible for the March-April census, had clarified the
figure was just for quoting, according to a seminar participant, who is involved in the monitoring of the
official head count.

It was deliberately left out because it entails a lot of controversies, he says, such as:
Some disagree being in the same grouping (For instance, Dawei in Burmese group: If we are in Burmese
group, so should Arakanese.)
Some national races find themselves in more than a grouping (For instance, Kebar is in both Karen and
Kayah groups)
Some national races are named differently as separate national races (For instance, Shan, Shan Gyi and
Tailong, which are synonymous)
Some sub- families of the same national race may also want to be separately registered (For instance,
Zomi from Chin, and Burmese speaking Shan Ni from Shan)
Some are originally from one race but registered as another (Even U Myint Kying, a census official,
admits he is Mon but registered as Burmese)
Designating people who wish to be known as Rohingya as Bengali may be technically in error, as one
remarks, because it belongs to people in West Bengal of India, though they may be from the same linguistic
group like Shans, Thais and Laos are
The current mess is the outcome of the top-down planning without consulting those concerned, he
concludes.
The government has announced that the full report will be released in May 2015. A participant also speaks
of the governments plan to hold a conference to clarify the 135 national races jumble. No one seems to
be sure whether it will be in May or before that.
Another participants suggestion is that waiting for Naypyitaw to clear the mess will not spell the end of the
problem. We must initiate a pre-emptive conference of our own to make sure what the government does is
all in order, he counsels.
The seminar ends with recommendations from the participants. One is to form an Assembly of Civil Society,
as during the 1986-96 Guatemalan peace process, to assist in the consensus building, social cohesion; to
offer relevant proposals to both sides; to facilitate dialogues; to monitor the process and assist in protective
measures. For the peace process to reach the point of no return, I believe the participation of the people is
a must, says one.
To mark the event, a dinner party was thrown at the House of Memories, where Gen Aung San used to have
his office.
N.B
If the reader thinks the journal doesnt do justice to the seminar, please look out for the full report from TNI
which should be coming out soon.

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