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Identity and the Sense of Belonging
Tuesday | 29/03/2016 - 09:42 AM

president of the Rohingya News Agency

The Rohingya were forced out of their country, Arakan, in fear of the genocide committed against them. Thus, they had to resort to many countries in the west and in the east, and settled in different places and grew in number. With time, a new generation has come, a generation that has lost its national identity. Identity means, here, to possess the sense of belonging to the homeland, Arakan, to love it, to learn its customs and traditions, and above all, to learn the authentic native language. However, this identity has been lost, either on purpose, or by way of being integrated or assimilated by the communities in which these Rohingyas were born and brought up.
Nonetheless, with many countries implementing the no naturalization law, and the new generation of our people still residing in those countries, there has been a kind of schizophrenia comparing to their original ancestry and bitter reality. This schizophrenia is a result of being totally influenced by the cultures of these countries where they have settled, and forgetting the cultures of their country of origin, making those interested wondering: Do we need to fashion a national identity for the new generation of  the Rohingyas ?!

If it is so, then it is an urgent need now to sensitize the new generation that was born and brought up in Diaspora, introduce them to the indigenous culture of our country, Arakan , and teach them the customs and traditions that have been wiped out from their memory, becoming a part of a forlorn history. In addition, it is necessary to work on restoring their lost identity, starting from the family. Indeed, the family is the basis for founding the society, and then comes the school; the factory of men and future leaders. Even the Quran memorizing groups and the social gatherings are of a primordial importance. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Rohingya elite to strive in all seriousness and perseverance to bring about the desired change in that short period of time, for it is extremely important and it cannot be delayed further. We have been unwaveringly certain that our people has become presently in a desperate need to claim back its identity and adopt it fully in order to generate in them the feeling of injustice suffered by our people there, and to awaken their conscience which now does not differentiate between the native country and the host one…
It is acknowledged that shaping the identity and the sense of belonging of any generation is a difficult task, and it is even more difficult to change the culture of a generation who has been wholly absorbed by the culture of the Other. This makes it even harder than we imagine. Furthermore, there exists another dimension: facing those who benefit from this alienation from the indigenous culture and the genuine belonging to the motherland. These beneficiaries will make sure to keep the people alienated from their indigenous culture, as a result of being utterly convinced by the idea of “integration” and being led to believe that loyalty is not to the original homeland…
Let every free and proud Rohingya ask himself sincerely: what do we need to shape that original identity for our children? The answer lies before us: to join efforts and to consecrate all capacities in the foundation of a national identity, armed with the belief that this task is fated to succeed. Patience, perseverance and seriousness are the traits that must be displayed to relish at the sight of that generation, brandishing a genuine national identity and possessing a true sense of belonging to its country, its people and its nation.

Moreover, they have to use every available means to insufflate the new generation with this identity, with a special focus on establishing programs, meetings, and facebook groups which is considered today one of the most important and most prominent educational methods that is easy to use and does not cost a lot of money. They have also to benefit from the pulpits and activities available in the neighborhood, and consecrate some courses in the charity schools – after acquiring the authorities’ permission – to teach the Rohingya language and to introduce students to the culture and traditions of their country that are rooted in the genuine Islamic Sharia. Also, they should organize extra- curricular school activities with rewards at the end, and make some time for the Quran memorizing groups in order to instill the identity and the sense of belonging deep in the hearts and minds of our students. This will result later on in the formation of a generation that holds a pure national identity, concerned with working for the sake of his people and his nation, defending its cause and striving to grant them back their identity.

Undoubtedly, the homeland is so dear and lofty that we cannot recognize its sweetness and enjoy its security and bounty unless we strive with all our capacities to claim it, and scarify to free it from the offenders, giving our properties, ourselves and all we have in that pursuit. Let us realize this fact, and let us strive to restore the identity of the late generations, for Man cannot life without a homeland. Nay! Man does not exist without a home land.

Comments published does not reflect the opinion of the agency, but reflect the opinion of their owners

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