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Talks to save two GP surgeries at risk of closure in Moray branded a ‘mere tickbox exercise’

A public consultation over the planned closure of two GP surgeries in Moray was a “mere tickbox exercise”, according to campaigners. They say internal emails obtained under freedom of information legislation reveal that plans for the closures were being discussed as early as June 2021 – months before public consultations began. The FOI request – made by The Northern Scot newspaper – also showed health chiefs offered guidance on how to avoid a community backlash about the proposals. Campaigners say they will continue their quest to have their local GP services reinstated. Doctors’ surgeries in Burghead and Hopeman failed to reopen after closing down during the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many patients forced to make difficult journeys to a centralised health centre in Lossiemouth. Objectors say the internal emails revealed in the FOI request spell out a “done deal” about the surgeries’ future prior to a public consultation. Messages between Health and Social Care Moray, the region’s health board, and Moray Council focused on guidance to Moray Coast Medical Practice on how to avoid a community backlash – and a consultation did not materialise for months. The Save Our Surgeries group accused the health and social care partnership of “ignoring the voices of our communities” with 85% of the local communities voting to keep the clinics open. The group urges the health and social care partnership to “step up and do the right thing as a matter of urgency.” A statement to STV News read: “This FOI document confirms clearly the intent to lead the consultation to the direction they want. “It is a mere tickbox exercise, to make people believe that they were engaging and consulting the communities. “They should have listened. These communities have been wronged and misled for long enough.” Ness Tunggal of the Save Our Surgeries campaign said: “Things were done in the wrong way. There is still a chance for them to rectify and correct it for our communities. “We do not need another ‘Mr Bates versus the Post Office’ to make things happen. “The FOI clearly confirms there had been an intention to lead the consultation to the direction they wanted it to. “The sad fact here is when such direction is not achieved, instead of stopping and listening to what people are saying, they ignored and carried on anyway. “It looks liked everything goes back to the same document, with the same intention, to pretend they are engaging and consulting with people. But the final goal has already been decided five years ago.” Betty Slater, a 92-year-old Hopeman resident, said: “It’s been devastating, really. It’s so difficult to get an appointment at the doctors and, of course, you need transport to go to Lossie. It makes things quite difficult.” The campaigners have raised their concerns with local politicians, including a visit to Holyrood, and have gained cross-party support. Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “They deserve an apology from the health board and Health and Social Care Moray for the way they conducted this consultation and their engagement with the community when, really, they had already made up their minds and weren’t interested in what the community had to say.” In a statement, Health and Social Care Moray said: “We consider the documents released in response to the freedom of information request show our genuine efforts to follow best practice in relation to the engagement and consultation process. “This includes the learning points identified by a neighbouring Health and Social Care Partnership around the closure of a branch surgery. This was discussed openly with the steering group of community representatives and practitioners who advised on the engagement and consultation process. “An independent review of our approach to engagement and consultation has already been carried out at the request of the Scottish Government and we look forward to the publication of the final report and any recommendations made. “We continue to seek to work constructively with SOS group through our locality planning process to achieve improved health and wellbeing for our communities.”

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Ava Bolton’s parents hopeful after raising £300,000 so their daughter can receive treatment for stage four cancer in New York

Ava Bolton is rarely seen without her toy bunny in her hand. Like many other children her age, the four year old loves Frozen, singing and dancing, and playing in the garden. But Ava’s life is far from normal. ‘It really does devastate you‘ At the end of 2022, on her third birthday, Ava fell unwell. Initially, her parents put her symptoms down to a lingering virus. Her mum Natalie told Scotland Tonight: “All the way through December and into January, she was not getting any better. The lethargy developed more and she became quite pale. She had a limp in her leg. Then she started to get bruises around her eyes.” Natalie and her husband Scott took Ava straight to the GP, who referred them to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock. Following three nights of tests and scans, specialists told Natalie that they suspected Ava had neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Natalie said: “I had to phone and tell Scott, and it was one of the most difficult phone conversations I have ever had. To tell my husband that our daughter had cancer was awful.” “You feel empathy for others, but you never, ever think it’s going to be you. And when you’re faced with that situation, it’s completely unexpected. It really does devastate you at the time.” Cancerous cells were found in 53 areas of Ava’s body – and that her neuroblastoma had reached stage four. Neuroblastoma mostly affects children under the age of five. It develops in early nerve cells, which would ordinarily grow into working nerve cells, but with neuroblastoma, they become cancerous, and form a tumour. Those cancer cells can then spread elsewhere in the body. It affects around 100 children up to the age of 14 every year in the UK. Ava was immediately put on a treatment plan at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. Over the past year, she has undergone intensive chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, 13 rounds of radiotherapy, and immunotherapy. Juggling Ava’s treatment, while still caring for her six year old brother Lucas, has been an enormous challenge for the family. Dad Scott said: “We’ve both been off work for about a year. I’m self-employed. So that was a big burden. “We’re always in the hospital with Ava and then someone is home with Lucas.” Ava has been responding well to treatment, but even if her cancer is brought under control, she will still face a long road to recovery. Natalie said: “Survival, I believe, is 50% for the stage four that Ava has. But there is a 60% chance that the cancer will return later and that she’ll relapse. “And it’s when they relapse that it becomes exceedingly difficult to fight, and the prognosis is then extremely poor, and the survival rate drops to less than 5%.” To give Ava the best possible chance of avoiding any future relapse, her family have been fundraising to secure her a place on a pioneering clinical trial in New York. Specialists there have developed a vaccination which helps the immune system to fight any return in neuroblastoma. But it comes at a huge cost. Natalie said: “We have to spend quite a long time out there. And between four and six weeks initially to start with, but we will have eight subsequent trips out after that.” Scott added: “It can range from £250,000 up to £700,000. We really don’t know. So our goal is to make sure we have enough money to get her well.” The Boltons launched an online fundraiser last year, which has already collected more than £300,000. Scott said they have been totally overwhelmed by the support. “The amount of people from the local villages, strangers just reaching out to us wanting to do various events, and just wanting to help.” Despite the uncertainty about what lies ahead of them, Ava’s family are taking comfort from other families’ stories. Scott said: “There are families who are further down the line who are currently in New York going through the treatment plan. “One family has been through it all and their daughter is now well past the five year survival and living a normal life. “So there are the good stories, which are the ones we’re trying to focus on and be positive about, and hopefully Ava can be one of those stories.” View Ava’s GoFundMe page here. Watch the full report on Scotland Tonight: Ava’s Story, at 8:30pm on STV and the STV Player.

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Maharashtra Lok Sabha Election 2024: Narayan Rane Named BJP Candidate For Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri Constituency

HomeMumbaiMaharashtra Lok Sabha Election 2024: Narayan Rane Named BJP Candidate For Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri Constituency Maharashtra Lok Sabha Election 2024: Narayan Rane Named BJP Candidate For Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri Constituency The BJP made the announcement in its 13th list of candidates for the Lok Sabha election. Rahul MUpdated: Thursday, April 18, 2024, 11:41 AM IST Union minister Narayan Rane | PTI The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced Narayan Rane as it candidate from the Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri constituency, effectively putting a stop to the tussle between Rane and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena. The BJP made the announcement in its 13th list of candidates for the Lok Sabha election. At a press conference, Uday Samant, state minister of indusrties said that his brother Kiran Samant gave up his claim on the Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri seat and that Rane would contest instead. Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg has been under undivided Shiv Sena’s control for years. Vinayak Raut has been the representative from here for the past two terms. However, following the split in the Shive Sena, voters have turned to the BJP. Rane himself is a former member of undivided Shiv Sena. Read Also Maharashtra Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Lost Glory V/S Modi’s Word The announcement puts an end to the speculations surrounding the Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri seat. There were talks that the Shinde Sena had locked horns with Rane over the Ratnagir-Sindhudurg constituency. Rane’s son Nilesh was defeated by undivided Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Raut in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Follow us on RECENT STORIES Maharashtra Lok Sabha Election 2024: Narayan Rane Named BJP Candidate For Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri… Maharashtra Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Lost Glory V/S Modi’s Word Mumbai News: Central Home Ministry Official Loses ₹79,000 After Complaining About Cooler on X Mumbai: Couple Allegedly Cheats Man Of ₹55 Lakh In Property Deal, Victim Forges Sale Deed In… Mumbai: IDFC First Bank BKC Branch Reports ₹26 Lakh Online Loan Fraud, Six Booked

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Scotland’s minimum pricing increase for alcohol approved for September launch

Newsall Most ReadMost RecentPropertyScotland’s three most expensive streets named and two are in GlasgowTwo of the the three most expensive streets in Scotland are located in Glasgow according to new figures by RightMove, which revealed the priciest streets across the country.Vietnamese mum who couldn’t speak English after moving to Glasgow set up three successful businessesGlasgow City CouncilThe entrepreneur from Vietnam has established two food venues as well as a nail salon.Meet ‘handsome’ Glasgow pup Frankie looking for his forever homeanimalsThe little Lhasa Apso is super adorable and is looking for a loving family to take him in. He is 11 months old and gets along with other dogs and children aged 12 and over.Bishopbriggs couple ‘ordered’ to tear down house extension or face £50k finePropertyGordon and Katie Maxwell extended their detached property in Bishopbriggs. East Dunbartonshire Council have hit the couple with an enforcement notice after they ruled the rear extension had been erected without proper permission.Still Game star dead at 64 as tributes flood in for ‘talented’ Glasgow actorStill GameVincent Friell rose to fame after starring in the legendary film, Restless Natives. He then went on to play Diane’s father in Trainspotting before returning home for a role in the popular sitcom.NHSLanarkshire man faces 11 hour wait at A&E while ‘shaking and unable to stand’ with painSami from Newarthill was rushed to Wishaw A&E after experiencing a sudden bout of pain in his stomach which left him unable to stand and shaking – but waited almost a full day for treatment.Glasgow social worker who threatened takeaway staff with cleaver struck off for hiding convictionsHealthPeter Beard was struck off by the Scottish Social Service Council after lying about convictions for drink driving and offensive weapon charges. He was also found to have placed residents at risk of harm.Scotland’s minimum pricing increase for alcohol approved for September launchScottish GovernmentThe Scottish Parliament voted on Tuesday to approve plans to continue the Minimum Unit Pricing MUP) and increase the MUP from 50p to 65p in line with inflation.Glasgow RBS branches to close as hundreds of jobs across Scotland at riskIn the News18 of RBS’s 86 local branches are to be shut down in September, with the bank confirming 105 people would be affected by the closure. Seven of the earmarked branches are in the Greater Glasgow area.Boy, 15, stabbed at Dumbarton train station as three teenagers charged in connectionBritish Transport PoliceThe 15-year-old boy was attacked shortly before 8pm on Thursday, April 4 after a group of teenagers were seen running into the station towards platforms 2 and 3 at Dumbarton Central station. Most ReadMost RecentPropertyScotland’s three most expensive streets named and two are in GlasgowTwo of the the three most expensive streets in Scotland are located in Glasgow according to new figures by RightMove, which revealed the priciest streets across the country.Vietnamese mum who couldn’t speak English after moving to Glasgow set up three successful businessesGlasgow City CouncilThe entrepreneur from Vietnam has established two food venues as well as a nail salon.Meet ‘handsome’ Glasgow pup Frankie looking for his forever homeanimalsThe little Lhasa Apso is super adorable and is looking for a loving family to take him in. He is 11 months old and gets along with other dogs and children aged 12 and over.Bishopbriggs couple ‘ordered’ to tear down house extension or face £50k finePropertyGordon and Katie Maxwell extended their detached property in Bishopbriggs. East Dunbartonshire Council have hit the couple with an enforcement notice after they ruled the rear extension had been erected without proper permission.Glasgow social worker who threatened takeaway staff with cleaver struck off for hiding convictionsHealthPeter Beard was struck off by the Scottish Social Service Council after lying about convictions for drink driving and offensive weapon charges. He was also found to have placed residents at risk of harm.NHSLanarkshire man faces 11 hour wait at A&E while ‘shaking and unable to stand’ with painSami from Newarthill was rushed to Wishaw A&E after experiencing a sudden bout of pain in his stomach which left him unable to stand and shaking – but waited almost a full day for treatment.Glasgow social worker who threatened takeaway staff with cleaver struck off for hiding convictionsHealthPeter Beard was struck off by the Scottish Social Service Council after lying about convictions for drink driving and offensive weapon charges. He was also found to have placed residents at risk of harm.Scotland’s minimum pricing increase for alcohol approved for September launchScottish GovernmentThe Scottish Parliament voted on Tuesday to approve plans to continue the Minimum Unit Pricing MUP) and increase the MUP from 50p to 65p in line with inflation.easyJet launches huge sale on package holidays across all beach and city breakseasyJetThe easyJet holidays offer is valid on all holidays departing up to October 31, 2025, using the code ORANGESALE, across a string of city and beach destinations.Glasgow RBS branches to close as hundreds of jobs across Scotland at riskIn the News18 of RBS’s 86 local branches are to be shut down in September, with the bank confirming 105 people would be affected by the closure. Seven of the earmarked branches are in the Greater Glasgow area.

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Ukraine at War Update for April 18: ‘All Lives Have the Same Value’

US House of Representatives Speaker to introduce new Ukraine aid bill which must then survive likely Senate Republican filibuster Defying hardliners within his party in the US House of Representatives, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) on Wednesday announced he would put forth a long-awaited bill to provide aid to Ukraine. Rather than putting a Senate-passed bill to a vote that included $61 billion in assistance for Kyiv, the House is devising three separate bills of its own, one of which extends $10 billion of that sum to Ukraine as a loan to help keep its government running, while the rest would come in the form of military support. Introducing an entirely new bill in the House means the bill must also pass the Senate where a predicted filibuster by Senate Republicans would bring further delays. To halt the filibuster, according to self-imposed Senate rules not required by the US Constitution, 60 votes would be required. This would mean 10 Republicans in addition to the 50 Democrats would have to favor immediate passage for the entirely new bill to proceed to a Senate floor vote. If it gets to a Senate floor vote the bill would have to be passed without amendments before making its way to President Joe Biden for signature. If any changes are made in the Senate the bill would then have to return to the House where it would have to make its way to another House floor vote, which Speaker Johnson could again block. The lower chamber is set to vote on the measures on Saturday. The three bills, totaling the same $95 billion in procurement originally proposed by the Senate, if passed would then be sent to the upper chamber for approval, but would likely arrive there in the form of a single bill, policy analysts have said. “After significant Member feedback and discussion, the House Rules Committee will be posting soon today the text of three bills that will fund America’s national security interests and allies in Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and Ukraine, including a loan structure for aid, and enhanced strategy and accountability,” Johnson wrote in a communication to colleagues. A fourth bill would address the sale of frozen Russian assets and impose stricter sanctions on Moscow. Restructuring the Ukraine aid to include a loan (an idea favored by former president Donald Trump) was designed to appease some more right-wing Republicans in Congress. Still, flooring any vote on assistance to Kyiv has angered a small hardline faction of Republican representatives who since have called for Johnson’s ouster. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), one of the most vocal and flamboyant opponents of America’s financial support of Ukraine, has filed a motion to vacate the Speaker’s post. Washington insiders believe the proposal is unlikely to go anywhere in the House, which is still reeling from the chaos caused by the removal of Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy of California. Taylor Greene’s allies, especially Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Chip Roy (R-TX), similarly expressed outrage that the relatively new speaker would bring to the floor any foreign-aid bills supported by Democrats.

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‘It just spiralled’: Meg Lanning opens up on struggles that led to cricket retirement

Former Australia cricket captain Meg Lanning struggled with “an unhealthy relationship” with exercise and food leading up to her shock retirement. A self-described private person, Lanning has finally decided to share why she ended her international career last November at the age of 31. The Victorian took an extended break from cricket in 2022, returned to lead Australia to a Twenty20 World Cup title in February 2023, but suddenly pulled out of last year’s Ashes for undisclosed medical reasons. Lanning has revealed she was grappling with an identity crisis outside of cricket that not even her teammates and closest friends knew about. She was often only eating two “not significant” meals a day despite running up to 90km a week. Lanning did not label her relatively insignificant food intake as an eating disorder – but admitted she was in denial about needing help. “It sort of just spiralled,” Lanning told The Howie Games podcast. “I was not in a place to be able to go on tour and play cricket and give the commitment levels required for that Ashes series, mentally and physically. “I got down to about 57kgs from 64kgs. The ratios were out of whack a lot. It was just all out of whack and I kept sliding. At some point, it’s got to stop. I felt very out of control in terms of what my future looked like: ‘If it’s not cricket, what does life look like if I am not playing?’.” At her lowest, Lanning only slept for a “couple of hours” every night. “I dreaded night time because I knew I would go to bed and not be able to sleep,” she said. “That would make me so mad. I would just get more angry with myself. If you can’t sleep, you can’t do anything.’’ Privately dealing with health challenges, Lanning was still able to perform on the field, but could no longer commit to being captain of Australia and touring regularly. “No matter what was happening, I was always able to perform,” she said. “[But] it had become a bit of auto pilot.” The star batter has continued playing in the Women’s Big Bash League, the National Cricket League and the lucrative Women’s Premier League in India, but has decided against representing Australia again. She led the nation to a record five T20 World Cup crowns after becoming the Australia’s youngest skipper in 2014, at the age of 21. A three-time Belinda Clark Medal winner, Lanning scored 8352 runs from 241 international matches after debuting in T20s in 2010.

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Taylor Swift opens Tortured Poets Department installation in Los Angeles

Spotify’s Taryn Lacroix, who worked on the project, told magazine Elle: “With poetry being a touchstone of this album, we wanted to create a campaign as thoughtful and ornate to immerse fans in the world of TTPD. “There were a few concepts that we discussed – creating a bedroom, a creative office, a stack of books – but ultimately we all landed on an album-themed open-air library, in which lyrics would be revealed over the course of the week leading into the album. This felt the most creatively inspired by Taylor’s project. “It’s going to be an incredible experience for those on the ground, but fans globally will be able to join in the momentum leading up to the release on the album’s countdown page with special moments happening throughout the week.” The art project opened on Tuesday (Apr 16) and will change every day up to the album’s release. One of the main features so far is a library card unit with 72 boxes. Fans have speculated it represents her relationship with actor Joe Alwyn because it lasted for 72 months before their split last year. Some of the boxes are open and filled with flowers, which some say may represent key dates in the romance. The installation also features a large book which is opened to a page inscribed with lyrics to an unknown song.

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Moving Towards Understanding and Reconciliation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

In discussions of Myanmar’s intricate ethnic tapestry, the discourse around identity, particularly the term Rohingya, remains highly charged and complex. The controversy was reawakened last month, when the United League of Arakan/Arakan Army (ULA/AA), an ethnic Rakhine insurgent group fighting for autonomy from the central state, used the term Bengali in an official statement in lieu of the term “Rohingya.” This was then echoed in social media posts by Twan Mrat Naing, the leader of ULA/AA, sparking significant controversy among both domestic and international observers. Nothing is wrong with calling Bengalis ‘Bengalis,’” he wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on March 26. “They have been our neighbors, our friends, and fellow citizens for centuries. Let’s be honest and embrace this reality to build a better future. This debate over the use of the term “Bengali” is more than quibble over semantics. Rohingya community and its supporters argue that the term implies that the latter is foreign to Myanmar, and that its use accompanied the Myanmar military’s forced expulsion of Rohingya from northern Rakhine State in 2017, a campaign that some experts have described as genocidal. The issue touches on deeper questions of recognition, history, and the fundamental right to self-identify. By exploring the myriad perspectives that animate the discourse around the term Rohingya, I intend to unravel the complexities of this debate, acknowledging the diverse perspectives that contribute to the discourse without sidelining the rich historical and emotional depth that underlies it. Central to the Rohingya identity controversy is one of the most polarizing questions in contemporary Myanmar politics: the clash between the right to self-identification – a cornerstone of international human rights norms – and claims by some Rakhine nationalists of identity theft. Some in the Rakhine community, including some political figures and historians, posit that the term Rohingya was historically associated with the Rakhine people themselves. This narrative asserts that the term “Rohingya” is the result of a linguistic misinterpretation. Individuals from Bangladesh reportedly struggle with the pronunciation of Rakhine, articulating it as Rwa-haing. The suffix -gya in this context translates to inhabitant or native. Thus, Rwa-haingya, which over time has evolved into “Rohingya,” initially referred to Rakhine inhabitants, not the Muslim group known today as Rohingya. This interpretation posits the term’s adoption by the Muslim community as a form of identity appropriation, a notion that stirs considerable debate and is perceived by some Rakhine individuals as an erasure of their historical and cultural legacy. Conversely, the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group, assert their right to self-identify, pointing to their generations of existence and heritage in Arakan, presently Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Moreover, international standards on self-identification underscore the right of every individual and group to define their own identity. Thus, the controversy transcends Myanmar’s borders, engaging with worldwide debates over rights, recognition, and the politics of identity. Adding complexity to the issue is the claim by some Rohingya activists that their history in Rakhine State predates that of the Rakhine, potentially going back thousands of years. While this perspective is not universally accepted among Rohingya activists and the populace at large, and is disputed by academic sources, it has nonetheless intensified the dispute. It challenges the long-standing history of the Rakhine people and their connection to the land, a narrative integral to Rakhine identity and the Rakhine claim to sovereignty that the ULA/AA is seeking to realize. Such claims are taken very seriously by figures like Twan Mrat Naing, as reflected in his media interviews, viewing them not only as a denial of the Rakhines’ historical and cultural legacy but also as an existential threat to their ancestry and claims to the land of present-day Rakhine State. Intensified by international advocacy for the Rohingya, especially since the Myanmar military’s ethnic cleansing campaign, the situation presents a challenging dilemma: the international principles of self-identification clash with claims of identity appropriation articulated by the Rakhine community. The debate is complicated, with deep historical roots and significant emotional resources invested on both sides. Twan Mrat Naing’s public refusal to acknowledge the Rohingya identity, even as he acknowledged the community’s historical coexistence with the Rakhine people, has only highlighted the challenges of reconciling two entrenched and conflicting narratives. Complicating matters further, members of the Rakhine community, including some of my friends, often raise a further point: despite being immediate neighbors, the identity of Rohingya does not exist in Bangladeshi, unlike other ethnic groups like the Chakmas, Maramas, and Rakhines, which are recognized on both sides of the border. This point is leveraged by the Rakhines to argue that the term Rohingya is a construct used by Bengalis in Myanmar to claim a distinct identity and as such, that the Rohingya are essentially Bengalis. Such claims are directed at challenging the notion of a unique Rohingya identity within Rakhine, suggesting it is a strategy to appropriate a specific historical and geographical identity. Having grown up in Rakhine, my personal experience with these layers of identity and belonging offers a useful perspective into the discussion surrounding the term Rohingya. As a member of the Maramagri, a smaller ethnic group sharing linguistic similarities with the Rohingya, my understanding of our shared words and phrases has waned over time. Yet, it is important to note that the term Rohingya was unfamiliar to me until the ethnic and religious violence of 2012, despite its historical roots and usage long before this tumultuous period. Since my childhood, interactions with my Muslim friends and neighbors in both my native village and in Sittwe, the state capital of Rakhine, revealed a diversity of self-identification that transcends the binary often depicted in media narratives. For instance, some of my Muslim friends in Rakhine, with whom I grew up, never identified themselves as Rohingya back then. Instead, they referred to themselves with terms that resonate more closely with their personal and communal identities, such as “Mosue Marn,” which I understand to mean Muslim, and “Barñl Zarthi.” While “Zarthi” translates to “race” or “ethnic” in the Chittagonian dialect, a language that also forms a part of my ethnic heritage, I confess that the term “Barñl” eludes my comprehension. Interestingly, it is evident that the designation Rohingya is not uniformly embraced across the Muslim communities of Rakhine State, the main exception being the Kaman, who, despite being Muslim, maintain a distinct identity. This is particularly true in areas like Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, and the southern parts of the state. Such personal observations underscore the nuanced reality of identity within Arakan – a reality that extends beyond the binary rhetoric often encountered in media and political discourse. By sharing these observations and amplifying local voices, it becomes evident that the discourse around the term Rohingya is not merely about political correctness, as Twan Mrat Naing seemed to suggest, but touches on deeper issues of identity, history, and the longing for recognition and respect. It is a reminder of the importance of listening to the diverse voices within Rakhine and acknowledging their varied experiences and perspectives, as we navigate the sensitive terrain of ethnic and political identities. The journey towards reconciliation in Rakhine State has recently taken a perplexing turn. Reports from 2019 and 2020 suggested a potential shift towards peace and acceptance, as Twan Mrat Naing was noted using the term “Rohingya” in international news reports – an indication that the term had been accepted by ULA/AA leaders, symbolizing a move towards an acknowledgment of the Rohingya identity. However, Twan Mrat Naing’s recent posts have cast doubt on this progress. Additionally, in a 2022 interview with Asia Times, he expressed recognition for the human rights and citizenship rights of all residents of Arakan but highlighted that the term Rohingya is not accepted by most Rakhines, as it was seen to deprive them of their history. This ambivalence highlights the complexities of the situation. The lack of clarity – and the possibility that Twan Mrat Naing’s earlier use of the term Rohingya was accurately reported, or perhaps misconstrued by media outlets – underscores the challenges in navigating the intricate dynamics of identity in contemporary Rakhine State. Achieving peace and reconciliation in Rakhine necessitates a deep appreciation for the region’s intricate mosaic of identities and a concerted effort to fostering dialogue and understanding. Key to this process is the acknowledgment of historical grievances and the diverse narratives that shape the identity of each community. For Rakhine’s various communities to move forward towards peaceful coexistence after a decade of tumult, leaders from all communities must engage constructively in addressing the identity issue. The path toward peace and reconciliation will require empathy, respect, and inclusivity, and an approach in which the identities of all peoples are recognized and honored. Achieving this goal requires a collective commitment to dialogue, understanding, and action that addresses the root causes of division while paving the way for a future where every individual can thrive in harmony.

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