Women Peace Network is thrilled to announce the launch of “We used to have picnics together: Memories of friendship and peace among Rohingya and Rakhine Women in Rakhine State, Myanmar.” The goal of this report is to demonstrate that the memories and stories of Rohingya and Rakhine women reflect the historical interconnections and similarities between the two ethnic groups more than they reflect differences or distance between them.
WPN interviewed both Rohingya and Rakhine women about their memories and experiences growing up in Rakhine State. Practices of mutual aid, play, shared food and picnic culture, and, most importantly, peace, offer new tools for questioning dominant knowledge about “Buddhists” and “Muslims” in Rakhine state, as well as new understandings of the structures naturalize the subjugation of Muslim women in Myanmar as well as the exclusion of Rohingyas more broadly.
The findings from this report also highlight the importance of centering the experiences and memories of diverse women in Rakhine when designing peacebuilding solutions for the region and Myanmar more broadly. Through stories of both Rohingya and Rakhine women, it is also evident that women participation is necessary to bring about peaceful and effective change in Rakhine State.
Rohingyas and Rakhine Buddhists both belong in the Rakhine region, which is itself characterized by the hybridity, fluidity, and mobility of people, ideas, and practices.