Myanmar’s political reform programme was just a year gone when old animosities came to the surface. In May and October last year, Buddhist mobs went on a rampage in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, burning Muslim homes and displacing more than 125,000 people. As if that was not enough, anti-Muslim riots broke out in the central town of Meiktila in March this year.
In Myanmar, the word “kular” is an insult that you hear shouted at Muslims. You can see it printed in vicious pamphlets about the Rohingya, Myanmar’s largest Muslim ethnic group, calling for them to be kept away from towns, kicked out of the country or murdered.
Kular is a slang word for “dark-skinned” — a form of abuse I know something about. And I, like millions of South Africans, know that such abuse can never last. God did not create us for such hatred.