History and Victimhood: Engaging with Rohingya Issues
January 1, 2018
Since the late 1990s, the public representation of the Muslim minority of Rakhine State (Myanmar), widely known as Rohingyas after the 2012 communal violence, has focused on their status as victims of state oppression following an extended track record of human rights violations. As Rohingyas form huge migrant and refugee communities in several countries of the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, victimhood has increasingly come to define their identity as a persecuted minority. The present article argues that, while victimhood does not preclude the agency, the hegemonic role of a postulated passive victimhood invariably posits one community (and the state) against the other and hampers the possibility of open conversations about rivaling perceptions of the past and ultimately the prospect of political dialogue.