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Catalonia - Cultural conflicts evolved  as political conflicts

In the aftermath  of the referendum on October 1st, both the Spanish and Catalan governments have continued to adopt a hard line.  A  large  and highly public section of the population of Catalonia demands independence. The referendum saw 90% of 2.26 million Catalans vote in favour of independence.  The region has an estimated 5.3 million voters.  Officials said, 7,70,000 votes were lost due to disruption after polling stations were raided by Spanish police.  Reports  also suggests that a large number of the pro-Spain population of Catalonia could take to the streets.

“I want a fair country, a more social and leftist country, and I believe the best way to achieve that is leaving Spain,” said Marc Becat, a youngster.   “Spain has always looked to me.pretty conservative, not only at the political level but also in terms of thinking.”

“Most families with Catalan roots have never felt Spanish,” added Roser Brustenga, a 62-year-, arguing that an independent Catalonia would preserve its own language and culture, which “the current government is trying to eliminate.”

The Conflict between the Catalans and the Castilians can be traced back to 1714, when Catalonia was first incorporate into the Spanish Empire by King Philip V. Francisco Franco’s fascist regime in the 20th Century which reopened this conflict.  The clear motivatin of Franco’s regime – and his Spanish nationalistic agenda – was the elimination of everything Catalan.  These totalitarian restrictions were combined with the use of force and imprisonment..

Spanish  approach  -  Pro-independence Catalans pointed out that the referendum was authorized by a Bill in the democratically elected Catalan Parliament.  The demands they invoke democracy and the right to vote are corner stones of the modern political regime.  Any demand for independence must come from within the structure of the law, and not beyond it.  Therefore, as it stands, the Catalan referendum is a violation of the rule of law and democratic principles.

Yet, this is the first time in history that a revolution has begun in an established liberal democracy where citizens enjoy a comparatively high degree of personal rights and freedoms.  This highlights the peculiar nature of the conflict and the reasons for discontentment.

Myanmar - Hijacking Sympathy 

A huge humanitarian crisis is playing out in South Asia with barely a whimper, globally. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims are crossing over into Bangladesh with the Myanmar Army having launched an operation in the Rakhine province. They are living in the most precarious condition without adequate food, medicine or basic comforts. The chances of epidemic are increasing by the day.. India is already burdened with nearly 40,000 Rohingya Muslims of whom only 16500 are registered with UNHCR. India has stated that it is keen to deport all of them as they are a security risk.

The Government of India wants a political solution to the ongoing crisis since Bangladesh is facing a terrible strain in accommodating and feeding the refugees on 2000 hectares of land allotted for the Rohingyas by Bangladesh.

The entry of Muslims into Burma was mainly from countries like Turkey, Persia, Arab, China and India particularly from East Bengal. They were mostly travellers, traders, sailors, pioneers, adventurers, and war prisoners. The current Muslim population in Burma is therefore the descendents of Arab, Persian, Turks, Moors, Pathans, Pakistanis, Chinese, Malays and Bangladeshis.

Buddhism, which is professed by about 89% of country’s various ethnic groups like Burmans, Karen, Shan, Rakhine and Mon – has more or less not only become a part of their national identity but it is also the state religion. Various reports suggest that due to certain historical, social, political and cultural problems, the Muslim minority remained alienated from the national mainstream which occasionally led to communal riots.

Myanmar argued, the rohingyas are not rightful citizens of budhist-majority.  Through the power of a globally resurgent Islam falsely trying to hijack the worlds minority sympathy.

Nyan win, one spokesperson said - we ask the international community to acknowledge that these Muslims are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and that this crisis is an infringement of our sovereignty.

MP from Rathedaung township said –   Bengalis Rohingyas are brutally attacked and killed.  It is impossible to live together in the future.                                                        Village in Myanmar(file photo)