Trigger warning: Mentions of rape, genocide, and death.
The Rohingya Muslims are an ethnic minority of people that live in Myanmar, a prominently Buddhist state. Records say that around 1 million Rohingya Muslims resided in Myanmar up until recently. Although the history of this group can be traced back to the fifteenth century, under Myanmar Citizenship Law 1982 they have been denied citizenship and therefore are commonly referred to as stateless people. In 1944, the government stopped issuing birth certificates to children to fell under this ethnicity.
The discrimination faced by the Rohingya people has been happening for years as they are treated as illegal immigrants by the people of Myanmar. This hatred is not solely targeting their legal rights, it is taking countless lives and displacing so many others. It is real, violent and disgusting.
In 2012, a Rakhine woman was gang-raped and Rohingya men were accused of being behind this. This story led to mass outrage by the Buddhist majority and riots broke out that that resulted in the burning of home and displacement of thousands of people. More than 280 people were killed during this time and allegations of ethnic cleansing.
In August 2017, the attacks have returned with a vengeance and we are now witnessing a massacre of horrific levels occur, while most of the world is just watching. They have now been described as one of the world’s most persecuted people. Imagine that.
It is said that Rohingya militants attacked the government, who responded with violence and cruelty. There are reports of mass massacres, village after village burnt to the ground and those lucky enough to survive, left with nowhere to go. The government, however, claims that the Rohingya people are burning their own homes and villages to the ground. The Human Rights Watch has obtained satellite evidence of large fires in at least 10 areas, in line with what would be expected during mass burnings.
The government is currently denying most of these claims, admitting that they’ve killed solely 400 people who were militants through counter-terrorism measures. But there are countless reports from eyewitnesses who claim otherwise. 270,000 Rohingya Muslims have tried to flee, whilst thousands are still stuck at the border trying to escape.
Aung San Suu Kyi’, Nobel prize winner and leader of Myanmar has denied claims of genocide. Whereas UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has written a letter declaring his concern about what is happening.
Myanmar has also currently blocked all United Nations Aid, thereby blocking all medicine, water, and food to people who are in dire need. The mainstream news has under-reported this and sadly nothing is happening. We read about Hitler and said never again, we saw what happened in Armenia and Bosnia and said never again. How many times will we say never again and remain silent when it happens?
Silence, refusal to report, a lack of outrage – we have become too cruel in our complacency. Millions of people are dying, and every single one of us who remains a bystander will be just as responsible as those who took their lives directly.
The stories that are emerging are one of the nightmares, mass murders, systematic rape of women and girls, innocent people. Women are watching their children shot dead and then raped for days until discarded like useless objects. If that doesn’t make you sick to your stomach, then what will?
We are watching the death of humanity with the death of every child of Rohingya.