The Arakanese, also known as the Rakhine people, are the majority people of Rakhine State. They live primarily in Rakhine, but also have smaller populations in Bangladesh, India, and other parts of Myanmar. They are, alongside the Rohingya, often hated by many people in Myanmar.
A well-known saying in Myanmar goes, “If you find a poisonous snake and are bitten by it, cut the banna type of tree which is called ‘Rakhine’ first and use it as an antidote.” People in Myanmar who hate the Rakhine have changed the meaning of this saying to slander the Arakanese: “If you are in the jungle and you encounter a poisonous snake at your right hand, and at the same time, a man from Rakhine on your left, you must first kill the man from Rakhine. Then, and only then, deal with the snake.”
The Arakanese have been oppressed by foreign militaries for nearly 200 years. They were ruled over by the British for over 100 years, then placed within the “unified” Burma under the power of its Myanmar army. They have been fighting against the Myanmar military ever since, indefatigably pushing to return to their former state as the independent Arakan Kingdom. They are staunchly Buddhist, and claim to be one of the first groups to become followers of Gautama Buddha in Southeast Asia. They are considered one of the four main Buddhist ethnic groups alongside the Shan, Mon, and Bamar peoples. Buddhism is closely associated with the cultural identity of the Rakhine people. A mere 0.1% of Arakanese people are Christian, and 0.05% are evangelical Christians according to the Joshua Project.
1. Pray for the salvation of the Arakanese, dearly beloved by God.
2. Pray for the hearts of the people of Myanmar to soften towards the Rakhine and Rohingya peoples, and the hearts of the Rakhine people to soften towards their Rohingya neighbors.