Why are Myanmar's Rohingya officially and popularly referred to as "Bengali', a racist slur in the Burmese context?

At the heart of Myanmar's official and, sadly, popular use of the term 'Bengali' is a discursive strategy meant to to illegalize, alien-ize and de-tetorrialize the Rohingya one and the same time.

This act is tantamount to the butcher of a verifiable and consequential truth by both the regime and the society, including Burma's 'human rights' leaders such as Suu Kyi, Ko Ko Gyi, etc.

Though the Rohingyas were recognized by the post-independence State in Burma well into the 1970s, after the Naga Min operation the discursively formulated word 'Bengali' was used as a matter of policy by the very military leaders who addressed leaders of the Rohingya as 'Esteemed Rohingya Leaders'. (Dig ex-Brigadier Aung Gyi and his deputies up from their graves and ask them how they called the Rohingya who opposed the Mujahiddeen separatist movement).

Before, the political system was built on official lies manufactured out of the Ministry of Defense Psychological Warfare Department.

Now even the society - un-civil society, I would say - itself is being built on popular lies.

My own alienation as a Burmese by both the State and the society is thus made doubly irreversible.

This double-alienation, among other things, is what enables and empowers me to speak my mind with absolutely no fear of societal and state condemnation and denunciation of me as a traitor.

Here is a contemporary analysis of the earliest wave of State-sponsored Rohingya ethnic cleansing.

This year-end review in the University of California's Asian Survey includes an early and then fresh analysis of the first last scale Rohingya ethnic cleansing operation as part of the general border control operation called Naga Min or Dragon King, launched in Kachin, Shan and later extended to the Rakhine state.


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