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History haunts Myanmar's 'triangle of death'

Buddhists, Muslims, central government in three-way struggle in Rakhine state

Sunrise in Mrauk U, an ancient town in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine. In recent years, the state has been wracked by fighting between Rakhine Buddhists and Myanmar's military regime, with the Rohingya Muslims trapped in the middle.   © Reuters

CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- It was the Golden Age of the Kingdom of Arakan. The capital of this 17th-century state was described by one visiting poet as a "matchless place on Earth" where merchants from far away traded in riches, while its kings erected soaring temples and its Buddhist and Muslim inhabitants supposedly lived in peace.

"Revering the sword of justice, the lamb and the tiger meet peacefully and drink at the same [reservoir]," wrote the Bengali poet Alaol of the region and its capital of Mrauk U at the kingdom's height of magnificence and might.

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