By: Kara Haselton
When people think of mass ethnic genocide, their minds usually wander to the Holocaust, but is it possible that a similar event is taking place right now? And with very little being done about it?
An ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people has arisen in Myanmar, previously known as Burma.
But very few people even know about it.
The Rohingya people are an Islamic ethnic group that reside inside the Buddhist country of Myanmar as a social minority. They were the original land dwellers but are viewed as illegal immigrants and social outcasts. They’re denied citizenship rights, basic services, and are inaccurately, with intent of offense, referred to as ‘Bengali.’
This group of about 1.1 million people has always been disliked by their Buddhist majority counterparts, and have even had horrible crimes committed against them in the past. However, they’ve experienced a huge spike in these crimes over the past year. In the past month, over 420,000 Rohingya people have fled the country according to The Washington Post.
Their homes and villages have been burned.
Their possessions raided.
Their women raped.
Their people slaughtered.
The social outcasts have now gained the title of refugee.
The Guardian reports that this specific development is due to major conflict between the Myanmar military and Rohingya militias. Supposedly, the ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) attacked multiple Myanmar border posts, enraging the country’s military and government. In response, they have declared a full out “cleansing” of these people that they only see as a problem. They just want them gone.
The Rohingya are now being forced to leave the only home they ever knew. They’re fleeing to Bangladesh, a country dealing both with overpopulation and the aftermath of a monsoon. They have very little resources that can meet the needs of all these people, so they’re not very empathetic about the arrival of these refugees. Many of the border police won’t let the Rohingya people in, so they’re stuck, limiting their chances and resources even more.
If the large number of people fleeing continues to rise alongside the number of deaths caused by this ethnic cleansing, this issue could turn into a immense humanitarian disaster.
We are humans. We are all living in this world. If a humanitarian crisis is occurring, we should care. Why does it matter to us? Because we’re born with rights just like they are.
The Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, Rwandan Genocide, Bangladesh Genocide, Kurdish Genocide, Yazidis Genocide (by ISIS), these are all genocides, considered to be some of the worst crimes to happen in recent history.
Why are we not talking about this one?