I was asked about my views about debating with a known racist. Here below are my views on this subject:
A debate in a hall or media outlet is all about counterpoints raised by each participant about his/her position on a given subject with the sole aim of winning it. The question is does such an agenda - a debate with a Rakhine racist -- help the Rohingya cause vis-a-vis their accusers, who are racists and bigots? Aye Chan is a half-educated Rakhine with a PhD degree from a third-rate university who now teaches in a 4th rate university in Japan. He uses his laughable credential to masquerade as a Rakhine intellectual. But if one studies his work, there is nothing intellectually enlightening in his work other than his 'discoveries' about how the names Arakan and Akyab had originated, how the Rohingya people are a legacy of the British Occupation period, and how the current Rohingyas are infiltrators from Chittagong who are trying to take over Arakan and introduce the Taliban-brand of Islam on everyone. These are all false propaganda made with the single objective of uprooting the Rohingya people from their ancestral home in Arakan. One has to pity such ludicrous claims from a person who likes to claim himself as an intellectual. He is a pin-head charlatan, but dangerous enough to seed hatred to divide our world.
Before the mongoloid featured Tibeto-Burman savages moved into the crescent of Arakan, the indigenous people were brown-colored people, derogatorily termed 'Kalas' by the invaders. These indigenous people had everything in common with the people living on the other side of the Naaf river, and nothing to do and common with the wild people that lived on the forests to the north-east and the savages east of the Arakan Yoma mountain range.
If we recall Yoma is the Sanskrit word for what in Bengali is called Jom (devil, death or bad spirit). That is how it was named by the indigenous people because of the savages that lived there and the regions beyond to the north and east. Fearful of those savages, these indigenous people lived along the coastal areas, and thrived on rice cultivation grown in the plane land and the abundant supply of fish found in the sea, rivers, streams and ponds that they dug. These indigenous 'Kalas' mixing with the latter Muslim settlers/travelers/Sufis (including Arab/Persian merchants, traders, soldiers who came to restore Narameikhla to the Arakan throne, and others) created the genesis of today's Rohingya. The conversion of the 'Kalas' to Islam is no different than what has happened throughout history in the last 14 centuries along the coastal regions from Mozambique to Malacca. To call these indigenous people unwanted guests is like calling the Native Indians of America as refugees who had settled after the Europeans. So much for Aye Chan's pseudo-scholarship!
An intellectual is endowed with intellect having the power of understanding; having capacity for the higher forms of knowledge or thought; characterized by intelligence or mental capacity. Does Aye Chan possess any of these traits? I have failed to find any in his. He is a provocateur to tense relationship between two major groups in Arakan. Who benefits from such trash racism? It is the forces of divide and rule. Is he an agent for the hated Myanmar government? I won't be surprised to discover the under-table deals he has made with the regime.
A true intellectual concerned about his homeland should understand what is wrong with his native country and its people so as to find ways that would provide direction for upliftment, and getting out of the current sad state. Do you see anything remotely connected with this line of actions from Aye Chan or his peers? I have not. As I have repeatedly said he is like a cancer that spreads racism and bigotry in the fabric of Arakan eventually killing/weakening the nation. It is not the future any conscientious Arakanese Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist would like to see. But the Rakhine side has no wise intellectual and only the reincarnations of convicted Nazi criminals like Julius Streicher in the likes of Aye Chan, Aye Kyaw and Khin Maung Saw, and their ilk, who sell the tablet of hatred packaged as the boogeyman of 'Islamization of Arakan by the Rohingya'. They are essentially fascists.
Sharing a dais with a fascist is not something that is either noble or wise. It would give credibility to hatred. The best one can get is: call it a draw; and nothing better. It would be a shouting match and unruly. In his so-called invitation to debate the Rohingya issue, Aye Chan is craving for publicity, and wants to get a free audience at a high cost to the Rohingya, who must organize and pay for the meeting, with no burden unto him or his group for free publicity of hatred. Such debates require a strong neutral moderator to conduct it in a civic way, none of which one can guarantee to find. If Aye Chan is serious about a debate, let him organize such an event with invitation made to the Rohingya people to debate him or his ilk in a civic forum that is moderated neutrally by a university professor of repute. I would have no problem endorsing such a move.
As I shared in an earlier note, what is needed is propagating the Rohingya view widely by all the avenues that are out there, including popularizing and sharing the correct analyses and views on the Rohingya that many of us have written, or available sources from unbiased scholars. There are quite a few good works on this subject that should be made available to policy makers in each country.
Finally again, I won't support wasting money or resources to give a voice to racism and bigotry, so typical of the likes of Aye Chan. He is a fascist intellectual for his chauvinist people, and is not an honorable person possessing integrity, analytical thinking, and wisdom that we should give publicity to. What we need is: refutation of every false propaganda that he makes so that truth prevails, and people have the ability to discern truth from his false campaigns.