Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Myanmar rejects all but one Muslim candidates from running in the election

Myanmar has been setting new low standards in intolerance and bigotry against religious minorities, esp. the Rohingya people, that is unheard of in our time. As noted by Dr. Maung Zarni, Nazi-like songs, full of hatred, anger, ignorance and racism against Muslim minorities, have become very popular amongst the Buddhist population. Commenting on one of those songs "We will fence our nation with our bones", Dr. Zarni says, "Listening repeatedly to it for transcribing and translating it gave me goose-bumps and I felt chill down my spines for the non-Buddhists, especially Muslims."

Here below is the translation of the song (courtesy of Dr. Zarni).
"We will fence our nation with our bones"

Buddha's Wisdom shines over our land
In defence of Bama race and Buddhist faith we will stand at the front line.
These people (the infidels/Muslims) live on our (Buddhist) soil.
They drink our water.
They break our rules.
They suck our wealth.
And they insult us the host.
They destroy our youth.
Alas, they are just one ungrateful, worthless creatures.

We are one Buddhist brotherhood, now joining hands as One.
We shall pledge to join hands as One.
We  do pledege to join hands as One.
We will be loyal and faithful to our Race and our (Buddhist) Faith.

We will only do business with those who share our Buddhist faith.
We will only marry those who share our Buddhist faith.

Hey, shall we
 talk about our national affairs.
Let our nationalist consciousness awake!

We will fence our nation with our bones.
If you show us your (hateful) sword
We will surely reciprocate in kind.

We will fence our nation with our bones.
If you show us your (hateful) sword
we will surely reciprocate in kind.

We will fence our nation with our bones.
If you show us your (hateful) sword
We will surely reciprocate in kind.

Dr. Zarni writes, "I stand by my choice of characterization of my own birthplace - once the anchor of my consciouness and existence as neo-Nazi "Buddhist" country and its Nazi-like racism and racist society and politics.    It takes an extraordinary degree of delusions and self-deception to use the word 'progress' in reference to my country. The worst is as yet to come."

His statement says it all about the direction Myanmar has been going.  So, we should not be surprised about the latest news (see below) that Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) on Tuesday has rejected all but one candidate from a Muslim party based on its highly controversial and discriminatory citizenship requirements before general elections in November in a move that could lead to the party’s disbandment. 

The commission rejected the applications of 17 of 18 candidates who had filed to run for parliamentary seats as members of the Democracy and Human Rights Party (DHRP), Kyaw Min (a) Mahmood Shomshul Anwarul Haque, the party’s chairman, told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

Eleven of the rejected candidates are from Rakhine state, and the six others are from the Yangon division, he said, leaving only one party candidate to stand in the elections.

“The rejection notice did not mention detailed reasons behind the decision, but just said the candidates were rejected for violations based on laws and regulations,” he said.

The DHRP is preparing to appeal to the UEC within seven days, although it has not filed yet, said Kyaw Min, a Rohingya candidate who himself was rejected, although he was a member of the parliament elected in 1990 elections.

If the UEC rejects the party’s appeal, the DHRP, which was founded by Muslim politicians and activists, would be deregistered under a provision in the country’s Political Parties Registration Law that requires a party to put forth at least three candidates or face disbandment.

By law, the DHRP cannot replace the rejected candidates, Kyaw Min said.

“If rejected, our party will be forced to disband due to [an insufficient] required number of candidates needed to survive after the elections,” he said.

Terms of disqualification

So far, the UEC commission has rejected nearly 50 candidates in total—24 candidates from Rakhine state, including the ones from the DHRP, and 25 from the Yangon division.

The candidates rejected in Rakhine state’s Maungdaw district, where the majority of people are Muslim Rohingya, were disqualified based on two sections of the election law — section 8(e) which bars people from running for office if their parents were not Myanmar citizens at the time of their birth, and section 10(e) which requires candidates to have lived in the country for the past consecutive 10 years, according to local media reports.

All the candidates from Rakhine state are Rohingya, whom the Myanmar government views as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and refers to them as “Bengalis,” although many have lived there for generations.

Kyaw Min, however, pointed out that all the rejected DHRP candidates have citizenship cards or national registration cards.

“The rejection is based not on law; they don’t want to give us [political] space,” said Kyaw Min. “If it’s in the law, they why could we stand in the past? We could stand in the 1990 elections as well as the 2010 elections.”

“We are discouraged by the decision, and we don’t see this is a good sign,” he said. “I think the words like ‘all-inclusiveness’ and ‘transparency’ are not that right here in this case.”

NLD voices disagreement

The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party has called the UEC’s rejection of candidates based on the election law’s citizenship requirements “unconstitutional.”

“It is not constitutional [because] according to the constitution, every citizen has equal rights,” NLD spokesman Nyan Win told RFA Tuesday after political party leaders met with UEC members in Yangon. “The rejection of candidates based on the citizenship of their parents is in my opinion an infringement upon the equal rights of citizens.”

One of the NLD’s own candidates, Tun Min Soe who had planned to run in Rakhine state, was rejected because he lived in Bangladesh in 2006, according to a report in The Myanmar Times.

Last week, officials rejected an application from Shwe Maung, a Rohingya lawmaker from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), to run for reelection because his parents were not citizens when he was born. He was planning to run as an independent candidate in the Nov. 8 elections.

Shwe Maung, who denies that his parents were not citizens, tried to appeal the decision on Tuesday before the Rakhine state election sub-commission in Sittwe, but was further disqualified, according to a report by the online journal The Irrawaddy. He plans to appeal to election commission in Naypyidaw.

Myanmar remains the most racist and bigotry-ridden country in our time. Its discriminatory practices against the Rohingya and other Muslim candidates who were born and raised inside Myanmar once again underscores its savagery and intolerance.

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