Most Arakanese address Mrauk-U town as “Mrohaung”, which means old city in Burmese. Mrauk-U is a sacred city of the Arakanese. The city is priceless for all Arakanese people in terms of religion, culture, literature and music.

It is the last capital city of the Rakhine kingdom that existed from 1340 until 1785. After king Amarapura occupied the city in 1785, the Rakhine dynasty ended. However, the city is still alive in the hearts of Rakhine people as a cultural and historical city that reflects their pride and identity. 

Currently, attempts are being made to include the ancient city on the UNESCO’s world heritage list. Unfortunately, ongoing skirmishes in the region are threatening ancient pagodas and stupas, artillery shells are indiscriminately landing on them. Ancient buildings have been destroyed while civilians get injured or killed during fights.

Artillery fire inside the ancient city is tearing apart the heart of all Arakanese. That’s why we strongly condemn such incidents committed by whichever armed group. We believe that it is the responsibility of the group who instigated the outbreak of hostility in the ancient city and destroyed ancient buildings.

Thus, we request all involved parties to immediately cease attacks in Mrauk-U city and not shoot artillery shells at pagodas, stupas and civilians. Besides relevant organizations such as the archaeological department, CSOs and political parties need to set up an effective prohibition on such attacks in the city.

We’d like to urge both Arakanese people and those who love ancient cultural heritage sites to protect Mrauk-U (Mrohaung) anyway they can.

Editorial >>> Issue 106, April 1, 2019, Development News Journal

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