A Letter from Barack Hussein Obama and half-past-six Burma

A Letter from Barack Hussein Obama

and half-past-six Burma 

  • Originally by_ Dr Azly Rahman
  • I copied from the website of_ DYMM Raja Petra   
  • Based on that core, I have added alot of my remarks and facts about Burma.
  • This is what I will bring to the office of the Presidency of the United States . I will deal with Muslims from a position of familiarity and respect and at this time in the history of our nation that is something sorely needed.

    Even the Burmese opposition leaders and activists wish to maintain the status quo with the excuse of secularism, even refused to allow the Muslims to highlight their sufferings, Racial Discriminations and Religious Suppressions.

    The Muslim heritage of my family

    Barack Hussein Obama

    There has been a lot made in the recent weeks about the Muslim history of my family. Some of the things that have been said are true, others are false, so I am writing this letter to clear up the misunderstandings on this issue.

    Yes, it is true that I have a name that is common amongst Kenyan Muslims where my father came from and that my middle name is Hussein. Barack is a name which means “blessing” and Hussein is a masculine form of the word beauty. 

    Continue reading

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II

 

    

 

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part II

 

2. History of Burma

The History of Burma (or Myanmar) is long and complex. Several races of people have lived in the region, the oldest of which are probably the Mon or the Pyu. In the 9th century the Bamar (Burman) people migrated from the then China-Tibet border region into the valley of the Ayeyarwady, and now form the governing majority.     

 

‘Bamars are descendants of Sakyans who are of the Aryan Race or of some other descendants of Aryans’.

Though there is ‘scarcely any race that can claim descent from exclusively one original race’, nevertheless, Burma’s proximity to India permits the claim that the Burmans have ‘an ornamental Aryan superstructure on the existing Mongoloid foundation’, resulting in some historians proclaiming that ‘Myanmars were descendants of Aryans’.

The history of the region comprises complexities not only within the country but also with its neighbouring countries, China, India, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Laos and Thailand.

 

Artefacts from the excavated site of Nyaunggan help to reconstruct Bronze Age life in Burma and the more recent archaeological evidence at Samon Valley south of Mandalay suggests rice growing settlements between about 500 BC and 200 AD which traded with Qin and Han dynasty China.

India has been particularly influential in Burmese culture as the cradle of Buddhism, and ancient Hindu traditions can still be seen in brahmins presiding over important ceremonies such as_

  1. weddings
  2. and ear-piercings
  3. but most notably in Thingyan, the Burmese New Year festival.

    Traditions of kingship including coronation ceremonies and formal royal titles as well as those of lawmaking were also Hindu in origin.

    In the defence of its realm, the Konbaung dynasty fought four wars successfully against the Qing Dynasty of China which saw the threat of the expansion of Burmese power in the East.  

    1. In 1769, despite his victory over the Chinese armies, King Hsinbyushin sued for peace with China and concluded a treaty in order to maintain bilateral trade with the Middle Kingdom which was very important for the dynasty at that time.

     2. The Qing Dynasty then opened up its markets and restored trading with Burma in 1788 after reconciliation.  3. Thenceforth peaceful and friendly relations prevailed between China and Burma for a long time.    

     Early history of Burma

    Humans lived in the region that is now Myanmar as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Mon. The Mon probably began migrating into the area in about 3000 BC, and their first kingdom Suwarnabhumi (pronounced Suvanna Bhoum), was founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC. Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC, though definitely by the 2nd century BC when they received an envoy of monks from Ashoka. Much of the Mon’s written records have been destroyed through wars. The Mons blended Indian and Mon cultures together in a hybrid of the two civilisations. By the mid-9th century, they had come to dominate all of southern Myanmar. From that time, Northern Burma was a group of city-states in a loose coalition.

    The ‘King’ of each city-state would change allegiance as he saw fit, so throughout history,

    much of the Shan-Tai north has been part of the_

    1. Tai countries of Nan Zhao (now Yunnan and GuangXi, China),
    2. SipSong Panna, Lanna (Chiangmai in Thailand – Siam), Ayuttaya (old capital of Siam)
    3. and even affiliated with Laos.

    Even U Pyu, one of the three founding brothers of Shwe Bama village was believed to be mixture of three groups;

     

(i) one local inhabitant since Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age,

(ii) another came from Ko Kala’s village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism along with their cultures and literatures successively

(iii) and the another group believed to came down from north, Tibeto-Burman group.

 

Daw Daw Mon was also rumoured to have two groups of ancestors:(i) One came down from above like Daw Daw Shan,

(ii) and another from U Kala’s village tract , Orrisa village and Talingna village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism to our land.

Ko Ta Laings originated from the Talingana village of Ko Kala’s village tract and arrived to lower Shwe Bama village part, met and married with Daw Daw Mon’s children, who came down from Ko Yu Nan’s village, spreads through our village up to Ko Thai, Ko Laos and Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

They give us the Buddhism arts, culture, literature etc. You see Nan, our Shwe Bama spoken language was from Tibeto-Burman family and there are a lot of similarities with Chinese spoken language.

But our Shwe Bama writing language was from U Ka Lar’s village, Brami Script we took not from our native Daw Daw Mon but her cousin U Mon resided in U Thai Land’s village.

I am revealing this to you so that my dear Nan could accept our whole Shwe Bama villagers as the same family. Instead of dividing into numerous weak small countries we could even plan for the Future Federal Union of Burma working with ASEAN+++ formula, I proposed to you in my first letter sent together with my Valentine Music DVD.

Dear Nan, when I wrote in formal style, you complained that it was very dull, not attractive, you have to skip some lines and paragraphs, and you admitted that you even fell asleep before finishing my letter.

Now what? When Daw Khin Myo Chit wrote “The Heroes of Pagan” historians said she was playing with the history books like a child with a crayon. Now if you accuse me of attempting to imitate her, I would be glad and would felt honoured and reply with pride, “Thank you with my pleasure.” But I have to admit that my English could not even touch her toes’ level.

And in the Story of Myanmar told in pictures by the famous historian Dr Than Tun, he had attempted to simplify the Burmese History.

Dear Nan, you have to understand me that I used to and need to quote the famous personalities frequently because I have an inferiority complex. I am afraid you would not be serious if I cannot support my words or the style of writing with the world accepted great persons’ works. I have to use them at least as an excuse for my deeds or words. You know I am just a graduate and were forced to waste my precious time with my business matters but you had already got two post graduate degrees, a Master and a PhD. So I hope my darling Nan is not sneering at my letter as a show off.

Please kindly let me continue to enjoy with my false sense of grandeur by quoting those famous persons.

You see Nan, with the growing age and fading memory, I used to sway away from my primary target of answer your question.

The recent discovery of the Genetic DNA researchers’ claim of the finding of the Chinese to be migrated from Africa or “Out of Africa theory” may reveal the longer and winding trail of our great ancestors. From Africa to China and then continue to Burma. If we consider the origin of the Southern Indians from Africa and Arian Migration from the north or tall blue or brown eyed and fair people proved to be genetically related to east Europeans, some of our ancestors had endlessly marched quite a long distance.

Actually if I am allowed to sum up the above:

  1. U Pyu, U Kan Yan and U Thet were my ancestors.
  2. Most of the U Kan Yan’s descendants stayed along Chin Dwin River and between Chindwin and Irrawady rivers.
  3. As I had stated above, few groups of villagers came down from northern Ko Yu Nan’s village, one of them went and established Daw Tibet’s village.
  4. One group went further west to Ko Ya Khines village and some went further into Ko Kala’s territory.
  5. One group stayed along our mother Irrawady and formed my ancestors.
  6. One group stayed in Ko Ka Chin’s village.
  7. Actually Ko Ka Yin, Daw Mon and almost all our ethnic brother villagers came down the same path.
  8. Dear Nan, no wonder your great grandmother Daw Daw Shan was the elder sister of Ko Thai and Ko Laos’ great grandfathers. Because of the same language and culture you even cruelly planned to divorce me and go and marry with one of them. I know, I know, you just wanted to hurt me because you were angry with me and never really intended to do so.
  9. Dear Nan, because of that, there are larger number of cousins of Ko Ka Chin , Ko Chin and Ko Na Ga in Ko Ti Bet’s village and Ko Kala’s village than in Shwe Bama village.
  10. And there are a lot more of Ko Ka Yin and Daw Mon’s relatives in Ko Thai, Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

Dear Nan, it is too late tonight to continue my letter as you know, I need to wake up early to prepare to go and work intime.

Your loving hubby

(Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN

 

 

History of ASIA

 

  • Alexander the Great conquered an area from Turkey to India in the 4th century BC.

  • The Roman Empire would later control parts of western Asia. The Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian empires were based in Ancient Persia.

  • Many ancient civilizations were influenced by the Silk Road, which connected China, India, the Middle East and Europe.

  • The religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, which began in India, were an important influence on South and East Asia.

        Middle Ages

  • The Islamic caliphate and other Islamic states took over the Middle East starting in the 7th century, and later expanded into India and Indonesia.

  • The Crusades would be fought from the 12th century, in Christian Europe’s attempt to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims.

  • The Mongol Empire conquered a large part of Asia in the 13th century, an area extending from China to Europe.

        Modern period

 

Ethnic and Religious Minority Groups of Burma

Ethnic and Religious

Minority  Groups of Burma

 

The greatest threats to global security today_

  1. come not from the economic deficiencies of the poorest nations  
  2. but from : 

  • religious,
  • racial (or tribal)
  • and political dissensions 

raging in those regions where principles and practices which could reconcile the diverse instincts and aspirations of mankind have been_

  •  
    •  ignored,
    • repressed
    • or distorted….
  1. Diversity and dissent need not inhibit the emergence of strong, stable societies,
  2. but inflexibility, narrowness and unadulterated materialism can prevent healthy growth.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Burma is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. This reflects its strategic position between the borders of modern-day Bangladesh, India, Tibet, China, Laos and Thailand.

Throughout history settlers from many different ethnic backgrounds have migrated across the great horseshoe of mountains which surround the central Irrawaddy river-plain.

Today ethnic minority groups are estimated to make up at least one third of Burma’s population of 45 million and to inhabit half the land area.  The 1974 constitution (which is now being revised) demarcated seven ethnic minority states – the Chin, Kachin, Karen, Kayah (formerly Karenni), Mon, Rakhine (or Arakan) and Shan – and seven divisions, which are largely inhabited by the majority Burman population. Such a map, however, is a political simplification. Over 100 different dialects and languages have been identified in Burma, and many unique ethnic cultures have survived late into the 20th century. These vary from the Kayan (Padaung) on the Shan/Karenni borders, where the ‘long-necked’ women wear extraordinary brass necklaces, to the Salum sea-gypsies of sub-tropical Tenasserim and the once head-hunting Naga along the India frontier.  The State Law and Order Restoration Council, which has ruled Burma since 1988, itself refers to the ‘135 national races’ of Burma, but has produced no reliable data or list of names. In general, the different ethnic sub-groups in Burma have been loosely simplified by anthropologists and linguists into four main families: the Tibeto-Burmese, Mon-Khmer, Shan (or Tai) and Karen.

Under General Ne Win’s Burma Socialist Programme Party government (1962-1988), ethnic minority languages were openly downgraded and a tacit policy of ethnic, cultural and religious assimilation was instituted by the state.

A theory was developed of the ‘Burmese family of races’ -a family sharing one blood and historic origin. This view still continues and was summarised by the SLORC/SPDC chairman, Sr General Than Shwe, on the 46th anniversary of Burma’s Union Day on 12 February 1993:

“In the Union of Myanmar where national races are residing, the culture, traditions and customs, language and social systems may appear to be different, but in essence they are all based on the common blood of Union Kinship and Union Spirit like a hundred fruits from a common stem… There can be no doubt whatsoever of the fact that our national races have lived together unitedly in the Union of Myanmar since time immemorial.”  

Clinging firmly to the policy of Burman chauvinism, they muffle the basic birth rights of the indigenous races and absorb them of their cultures and traditions. Despite their shoutings of national unity, they ignore the equality of races.

In the present political climate, any substantial redrawing of Burma’s borders is unlikely. But several ethnic groups are found on both sides of the land frontiers surrounding Burma: notably,

  1. the Chin (Mizo) and Naga are also present in India;

  2. the Kachin, Wa and Shan in China;

  3. the Karen, Mon and Shan in Thailand;

  4. and the Buddhist Rakhine and ‘Rohingya’ Muslims in Bangladesh.

  5. The smaller hill communities of the Lahu, Akha and Lisu are even divided across four modern-day borders, being split between Burma, China, Laos and Thailand.

Only the Naga are represented by cross-border political movements of any significance, but the importance of inter-ethnic ties should not be underestimated. The idea, put forward by governments in Rangoon, that Burma is a homogenous island that can be successfully isolated from the outside world is a Burman-centric view which most other ethnic groups reject. It is also a view which has been a major impediment to the natural development of local economic and cultural ties between indigenous peoples on both sides of post-colonial borders.

Far from being a peripheral frontier problem, the ethnic minority crisis is one of the most central issues facing Burma and its neighbours today. All the regions along Burma’s 4,016-mile-long land border are inhabited by ethnic minorities, often with historic ties in neighbouring states, and armed ethnic opposition groups still police many of Burma’s frontier crossings and trade routes.

Historical Background

  1. The Mon and their distant hill cousins the Wa and Palaung in Shan State are usually described as the earliest inhabitants with descendants in Burma today.

  2. Ethnic Karen and Chin were probably the next to move down into central Burma

  3. before Burman migration accelerated into Upper Burma in the 9th and 10th centuries AD.

  4. Ethnic Shans also began migrating into south-east Asia at around the same time,

  5. followed by different Tibeto-Burmese hill peoples,

  6. including the Kachin and Lahu.

In general,

  1. hill-dwellers, such as the Chin and Kachin, practised slash-and-burn cultivation,

  2. while those who settled in the valleys and plains, notably Burman, Mon, Shan and Rakhine, formed larger communities where they turned to sedentary wet-rice farming.

There were many wars and political power changed hands frequently. Only in the late 18th century was the Burman ruler Alaunghpaya able to achieve control over most of the territories which subsequently came to constitute British Burma.

Nevertheless, despite these wars, there was cultural and ethnic inter­change throughout the centuries. This raises serious doubts over the wisdom, or indeed the relevance, of interpreting Burma’s history too literally in racial or nationalist terms. Many local communities and societies in Burma have, historically, been multi-ethnic. This suggests that there are many important precedents for inter-ethnic tolerance and understanding which could be drawn upon to reach a new consensus today.

During the British Colonial times, the ethnic minority Frontier Areas, in contrast, were governed quite separately from Ministerial Burma and, for the most part, left under the control of traditional rulers and chiefs.

Much to the resentment of the Burman majority, the Karen, Kachin and Chin were also preferred for recruitment into the colonial armed forces, and ethnic regiments were formed.

While Burma’s national liberation movement, led by Aung San, at first fought on the Japanese side, most minority peoples, including the Karen, Kachin and Muslims, stayed loyal to the British.

As a result, there were many bloody communal clashes and retaliatory killings during the war in which the minorities, for the most part, came off very much the worse.

Ethnic minority leaders have frequently said that the war massacres made them resolve to take up arms after independence if their political demands were not met.

As a symbol of equality and voluntary union, Aung San famously promised: “If Burma receives one kyat, you will also get one kyat.” But the Karen, Mon, Rakhine and several other ethnic minority groups were not represented and, amidst many other errors, were critically overlooked by both the British and the coalition Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL), which was to form Burma’s first independent government.  Following elections to a Constituent Assembly, these principles were incorporated into the constitution of September 1947, which was federalist in principle. The new constitution instituted a bicameral legislature, with a Chamber of Nationalities and a Chamber of Deputies. On ethnic rights, however, it was riddled with anomalies. The Shan and Karenni were awarded the voluntary right of secession after a 10-year trial period, whereas the Mon and Rakhine ended up without even a state of their own. And while in the Karenni and Shan States the traditional royal Sawbwa or rulers were allowed to retain their near-feudal rights, the complex rules of representation determined that ethnic Burmans would predominate in both houses of parliament. Equally inconsistently, the much-promised Karen State remained undemarcated, and, right up until independence, arguments continued over the different merits of ‘nationality states’, ‘communal seats’ in parliament and special ‘ethnic minority rights’.6  As a gesture of conciliation, the figurehead positions in the new Union were shared on an ethnic basis in keeping with Aung San’s philosophy of ‘Unity in Diversity’ (see box). After U Nu, a Burman, was elected as prime minister, Sao Shwe Thaike, a Shan, and Smith Dun, a Karen, were appointed as president and army chief-of-staff respectively. But such measures came too late. By the end of 1947 the KNU and several other nationality parties were already boycotting the political process. Across the country storm clouds were clearly gathering with many ethnic Burmans, especially in the communist movement and the army, equally unhappy about the AFPFL government of U Nu. Burma’s independence was born out of bloodshed. The country’s second-largest political party, the Communist Party of Burma (CPB), went underground in March 1948, and the KNU followed at the beginning of 1949. In quick succession, many ethnic Burman and Karen units in the army mutinied in sympathy, reducing government authority at one stage to just six miles out of Rangoon. AFPFL reasserted urban control, but throughout the late 1940s and 50s various other ethnic groups, including the Karenni, Mon, Pao, Rakhine and Muslim Mujahids, took up arms in the countryside.

Acknowledgements: Extracts from Martin Smith’s Ethnic Groups in Burma.