(Rebloggable version here)
I’m glad you’re trying to educate yourself about issues in Burma, but unfortunately it isn’t anything I can sum up in a single post. (Therefore, prepare for reading through linked articles and such). Nor would it be fair, really, since I keep getting aggravated at people for oversimplifying issues in Burma, there is no way I can sum it all up in one post myself.
What I can tell you here and now is that people keep confusing the issue. It is not a matter of religious discrimination but nationalism. As in, there’s this whole government conflict with a lot of ethnic minorities, not just the Muslims, over recognition as Burmese. It’s like this: when Britain came in and colonized Burma, they… changed the country’s original name to Burma, actually, that’s what they did. The issue there is that Burma then became only for the Bamar, which is one ethnic group*, and they were the only ethnic group “recognized” as Burmese, when the reality is that on Burmese lands, although the Bamar are the major ethnic group, they do not make up all of Burma. General Aung San was, after the British left, in the process of giving the other ethnic groups their own power back that had been denied then. Then he was assassinated, and Ne Win came to power, a nationalist dictator that wanted Burma for the Bamars, which means he wanted everyone else out, since he didn’t recognize them as being “true Burmese”. Or whatever. Racist, internalized colonialism, that’s what it is. By this point the other ethnic groups don’t really want their ‘own power’, they just want to be recognized as citizens and allowed to live on their land. There’s many ethnic groups that are currently locked in a civil war with the government. The Rohingya happen to be a majority Muslim group, and they’re the one that’s getting the most attention right now because of recent conflicts that sprung up in Arakan/ Rakhine area. This is not, however, the whole situation. You’re going to want to read this. And, specifically on the Rohingya issue, this article. And on Muslims in Burma in general, this one. That would be the minimum amount of reading you could do. What I’d suggest if that you go through the Burma or Myanmar tag on this blog, for a start, and read things there, and remember to read through the stuff in the links in the posts, because I link them in for a reason.
But. It’s not a matter of religion. And people keep politicizing it that way for their own agendas and they all need to stop and go away because they’re making things worse. The issue in Burma isn’t “no one’s talking about the Muslims”, right now the only people anyone’s talking about is the Muslims, but for all the wrong reasons, because they’re exploiting them for their own agenda. (Which means all the petitions going around right now are horrible because they totally miss the point. Also it’s laughable to expect the Burmese government to end a centuries long civil war on one ethnic group because people on the internet said so.)
Hope this helps.
*Edit: The Bamar- one ethnic group. The term Burmese, though, refers to all the citizens of Burma, and include all the other ethnic groups too (or should, because they should have citizenship). The two terms ought not to be confused.
Edit 2: there’s also fake pictures (tw: violence, gore, death) circulating around the internet about the Rohingya/Muslims. Again with the misinformation and politicizing an issue for people’s own agendas.