Refugee cri­sis in Myan­mar in­cludes Bud­dhists and Hin­dus

Sunday Tribune - - LETTERS -

IS IT not in­trigu­ing that the Ro­hingya refugee cri­sis in Myan­mar is be­ing pro­jected as a Mus­lim one? The me­dia in South Africa, es­pe­cially cer­tain pub­li­ca­tions of In­de­pen­dent Me­dia, are guilty of this bias.

Rakhine State’s Bud­dhists and Hin­dus in their thou­sands fled their homes when Ro­hingya Mus­lim mil­i­tants at­tacked their vil­lage on Au­gust 3. They sought refuge in Bud­dhist monas­ter­ies in other parts of the coun­try.

When re­tal­ia­tory at­tacks against the Ro­hingya started, Hin­dus (and per­haps some Bud­dhists) came un­der at­tack again.

Since the be­gin­ning of the month, many over­seas pub­li­ca­tions have men­tioned the Hindu refugees, but not in South Africa.

Safm dis­cussed the is­sue in Sak­ina Kamwendo’s The Fo­rum@ Eight on Septem­ber 19. The Hindu vic­tims were air­brushed out of the dis­cus­sion.

Pre­sum­ably vic­tim­hood is the pre­rog­a­tive of one par­tic­u­lar group in this coun­try. Cer­tainly the ca­coph­ony of callers to the dis­cus­sion thought so. Even the Dalai Lama came in for a bash­ing. For the record, His Ho­li­ness fol­lows Ma­hayana Bud­dhism, while Ther­avada Bud­dhism is pre­ferred in Myan­mar. To ex­pect him to com­ment on Myan­mar is akin to hold­ing Iran’s Ay­a­tol­lah Khamenei ac­count­able for what Saudi Ara­bia’s cler­ics do.

In the lat­est round of vi­o­lence, more than 500 Hin­dus from Myan­mar have crossed to Bangladesh and are housed in Hindu­para, a Hindu area in the Ku­tu­palang camp. They told of gun-tot­ing masked men un­leash­ing ter­ror for six days in their vil­lage. Vic­tims were hacked and houses looted and burnt. Women were raped and mur­dered. Eighty Hin­dus were killed, some be­headed.

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