Monday, November 4, 2013

New York Times article on Burma - comments

Dr Maung Zarni has written an article on Burma in the New York Times.
My letter to the New York Times is shown below:
Dear Editor,
I would like to thank the NY Times for publishing Maung Zarni's article on Myanmar's Drive for Peace. It shows clearly the ulterior motives of the current Thein Sein government, which is more interested in western investment, esp. in its minority resource-rich ethnic areas than true peace under a federal system of government. However, I am sad to see that Mr. Zarni has failed to mention the Rohingya minority of the Rakhine/Arakan state, which has been subject to consistent violent campaigns as documented by the Human Rights Watch, and considered rightly by the UN as one of the most at-risk minorities in the world.
President Thein Sein current has suggested that all Rohingyas should be relocated to a third country and refused to restore their citizenship cancelled in 1982, whereas the ancestors of the Rohingyas are the first settlers of the region. The article also fails to mention the Oil-Gas reserves of Burma, esp. the Burma-China's twin oil and gas pipelines, which originate from Rohingya minority state of Rakhine. This is where Rohingya property is being confiscated and land is being appropriated by the state. 
As rightly noted by Mr. Zarni, although on the eve of independence in 1948, the Burmese nationalist leaders promised that ethnic equality would be a cornerstone of the new Burma equality has remained elusive.Until the promise of equality and the vision of a federated union are genuinely pursued, the government’s offer of peace will have little effect.
Habib Siddiqui

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