When you think about the words genocide or ethnic cleansing, you think back to a time in WWII, or the days of slavery where these things seem like a distant part of our past, however, there is a current war being fought under our noses in Southeast Bangladesh near Myanmar. The military rule of Myanmar has not been without a great deal of controversy. From child soldiers to this recent atrocity, people are wondering when the genocide in Myanmar will end.
Imagine for a moment a baby girl crying. Her name is Suhaifa. A soldier grabs her by the leg and tosses her into a raging bonfire. Or perhaps a 15-year-old girl who is locked in a hut that is quickly set on fire afterward. These are just some of the atrocities happening in what many are calling an ‘ethnic cleansing’ against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Over the past 7 weeks, over 500,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled to escape the violence in Myanmar and arrived in Bangladesh.
One woman, Hasina, described how soldiers took her baby from her arms that she was trying to hide and tossed her into the fire. They also assaulted her next to the bodies of her children. After she was slashed in the skull with a machete and left for dead, the smoke from the fires woke her up. She managed to escape with her Sister-In-Law Asma, and together they ran into the woods toward the Bangladesh Border. It took them 3 days to reach the border. They were naked and begged for clothing from another Rohingya Muslim home.
Former UN general Romeo Dallaire describes the events happening in Myanmar as “very deliberate genocide.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described everything happening in Myanmar as ethnic cleansing and stated that “the world cannot stand idly by and be witness to these atrocities.” Myanmar generals have concluded that the operation was a success, having eliminated half of its Rohingya population. There are several organizations lending hands to help the refugees and survivors of this atrocity, including Doctors without Borders, Save the Children, and the Hope Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh. As for the survivors of Myanmar, they have been left badly scarred emotionally and physically.
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