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Myanmar: Rohingya Troubles

Perception and Realities

As ever, the Western press are keen to jump onto a bandwagon and present a complicated issue in a remote part of the world as black and white. We asked our regular correspondent, Dr Thitinan Ponsudhirak, Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, to comment on the troubles in Rakhine Province. Dr Thitinan is a frequent visitor to Myanmar and visiting professor there.

In this brief country report taken from Asianomics Wealthy Nations market commentary, Myanmar: Rohingya Troubles, he looks not only at the excessive response by the Burmese military and government to the current troubles but at the genesis of the problem in a country of 135 recognised ethnic minorities, none of which are the Rohingya. As usual, there is much more to this issue than meets the eye.

The ongoing global outrage over the Rohingya crisis in the northernmost region of Myanmar’s westernmost Rakhine State (formerly Arakan) is both justified and oversimplified. No doubt hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine – the latest number now exceeds half a million – have been driven out of their homes and displaced into makeshift shanty camps inside Bangladesh along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. At the same time, victimhood in global headlines should not be seen as a Manichean binary between Myanmar’s predominantly Buddhist army and Aung San Suu Kyi-led government against desperate and helpless Rohingya Muslims. Disaggregating perceptions and realities and intractable dilemmas in between is instructive for a more balanced perspective.

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iScot Magazine December 2017 116 jam packed pages of the best craic in Scotland from the only truly independent pro Scottish magazine.