Rohingya: History cannot be undone

A letter to the editor from July 15 titled ‘Suffering of Global Muslims’, has caught my attention (‘Letters: July 15,’ Gulf News, July 15). The writer wrote, “The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group, originally from Bangladesh, who live and make up a minority in the predominantly Buddhist country of Myanmar.”

The fact is that the Rohingyas are not originally from Bangladesh. They are the children of the first settlers of Arakan, which is part of Buddhist Burma, or Myanmar, today. Their ancestors lived in Arakan since time immemorial.

In spite of the extermination campaign against the Arakanese Muslims, when the British occupied the territory in 1824, 30 per cent of the population was Muslim, who are now known as the Rohingya.

After Burma was declared an independent state by the colonial British administration in 1948, sadly, the territory of Arakan, with a sizeable Rohingya population was let to remain as part of Burma. In all fairness, if the British had carved out the Muslim dominated northern part of Arakan to join with the Muslim majority East Pakistan, which is now called Bangladesh, in 1947, probably today’s trouble with the Rohingyas would not have happened.

Through its decisions, the British governance planted the seeds of today’s trouble for the Rohingya people, who had collaborated with the regime during World War II against the Japanese, and were abandoned when the country was declared independent. During the War, it is worth noting that the Buddhist majority Rakhines of Arakan collaborated with the Japanese army, embittering the relationship between the two major groups - Rohingya and Rakhine.

History is history, and what has happened in the past cannot be undone today. The Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted people on our planet simply because of their religion, which is Islam, and ethnicity, which is similar to many of South Asia.

The world community needs to advocate for and restore their integration as citizens of Myanmar on an equal footing, and should not hesitate to penalise the Buddhist government if they fail to deny such human and basic rights to the Rohingya people.

From Mr Habib Seddiqi


Should be arrested

I can’t understand, is it not a criminal act done by this guy in not returning the money (‘Bank clerk’s error makes Kuwaiti 57,000 dinars richer,’ Gulf News, July 16)? In fact, should he not be arrested? This all seems strange that nothing is being done by the authorities.

From Mr Zeid


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Ill-gotten gains

When banks take money from customers and charge 30 per cent interest it is okay. When banking managers earn a much higher salary than the front line staff dealing with customers it is okay. When banks borrow funds from central banks at 0.5 per cent interest and use it to buy bonds and investments that return the bank 20-200 per cent profit it is okay. I think God indeed granted this young man a favour by taking some ill-gotten gains away from the bank.

From Mr Louie Tedesco


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Return the money

Ramadhan Kareem. I think that this money should be returned to the bank. This mistake is from another human. He should return the money and avoid going to jail.

From Mr Hamad

Muscat, Oman

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Not the right decision

The money is not his to splurge so it should be returned to the bank. It was an honest mistake from the clerk. It’s not a right decision to keep it as his own.

From Mr Jeau

Abu Dhabi

Full name withheld by request

Not a blessing

He knew there was a mistake. And if he was thinking that what he did was right, worse, a ‘blessing’, perhaps he should think again. Social media has broadcasted to the world what a dishonest man he is.

From Ms Farah


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A similar case

There was a similar case in the UK recently. An error by the local government, the recipient spent a large proportion of the money, and now the courts have ordered her to pay the money back or a custodial sentence will be imposed.

From Mr Bill


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No right

The young man did not have the right to even withdraw the money from the account, let alone use it on the pretext that he will repay it in easy long instalments. This will probably destroy the life of the bank clerk who made the mistake.

From Mr Mohammad Shabab

Abu Dhabi

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Rescuing the girls

The article by Malala Yousafzai on standing up for women’s rights is thought-provoking for all of us (‘Standing up for the Girls,’ Gulf News, July 15). After Malala was shot by the Taliban, we were all hopeful that the incident would create a spark in the arena of girl’s education. Many were hoping that extremists would not dare to torture girls who wish to study.

Unfortunately, within two years, the women community is again reeling under the threat of extremism. The power of education has once again been challenged by a terrorist group. The world is talking about rescuing those 219 Nigerian girls under the captivity of Boko Haram but till now, there has been no significant progress.

My heart goes to the families of those girls who have no clue of the plight of their dear daughters. Big powers of the world should join hands to strengthen the campaign to “bring back our girls” and give support to the Nigerian government by all means, as rescuing these girls will be a milestone in the progress towards rescuing our society from extremism.

From Mr Manav Jha


Eat what we take

I was very impressed by the article devoted to food wastage, and I would like to express my gratitude to Gulf News for bringing up this socially relevant topic during Ramadan (‘Food waste adds pressure on scarce water resources in UAE,’ Gulf News, July 14). Every 10 seconds that we spend contemplating whether or not to feed our food to the dustbin, a malnourished child dies in an African nation. As we find ourselves struggling with problems of obesity and weight gain, some of our fellow human beings are dying from lack of basic nutrition. It is indeed the need of the moment that we rise to this cause and come together to lay the foundation for a zero food wasting planet so that no one goes hungry to bed.

Let us all thank God for having blessed us with more than enough food and let us lend a hand to others who are not so privileged. Let us all pledge to take what we eat and eat what we take.

From Ms Nanditha Vinod S


Personal versus national interest

The Pakistan federal minister for railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique, said that the government did not want the former president, Pervez Musharraf, to be in jail for the long term. They are telling us this after they insisted on the trial of Musharraf and after months of haggling with the army about the issue. One argument at that time was that if they let Musharraf go, then the idea of justice in Pakistan would be hurt.

Now, apart from the fact that justice is abused frequently in this country, how come now Musharraf should not go to jail for long? There are only two options: either he is guilty and he has to serve whatever the term is for his crime, or he is not guilty and he can go. There is nothing and should be nothing in between.

If the government was worried about the length of the term the former President would have to serve, they should have stuck to the deal they had with the military and let him go. They didn’t do that and thus endangered the relationship between the government and the army with the consequence that the ongoing army operation got delayed and is poorly coordinated with the government.

Our politicians should finally understand that there is a difference between their personal interest for revenge and money making and the national interest of the country. Sitting in the government obliges them to serve the latter and the latter only. But in order to be able to do that, they need to be able to differentiate between the personal and national interest, which they – obviously- are unable to do.

From Mr Ali Ashraf Khan


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