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Flight of the Rohingya


Flight of the Rohingya

Daniel P. Sullivan

This article is a joint publication of Foreign Policy In Focus and TheNation.com.

The names of the refugees below have been changed to protect their identities.


Thanks for posting this harrowing report.

We need to get to a place where each of us learns that the divisions and separations of race and nationality and ethnicity and culture among humans are false.

And, that the demonization and exploitation of these different identities is a powerful tool of divide and conquer, used by the worst exploiters among us to hurt all of us.

We need to nurture the reactive and instinctual human solidarity that is surely part of each of us.


Make no mistake. What is happening in Myanmar is a genuine, bona fide genocide. All the benchmarks that needed to be checked off before a wholesale extermination commences have been checked off. Daniel Goldhagen produced a book about 5 years ago titled ‘Worse than War’ for those of you who want to expand your knowledge of how such things come to pass and there have been a shocking number of genocides in the past 100 years on which to study and make some assessments. First, I spend a significant part of my time I that region. I can tell you that the forces at play are extremely complex but regionally, every government involved knows perfectly well what is happening. There are particular economic rewards that accrue to every government to turn a blind eye without any consequences as the Rohingya have become, by design, the most despised group of people in the region. There are I believe about 1 million in Myanmar and their origins are somewhat unclear other than they have been there for many generations and had been encouraged or compelled by the British to immigrate there from Bengal or to work as agricultural labor in the early 19th century. Some evidence also exists to suggest that they are in fact native to that region. Nevertheless, they are culturally Muslim now resident in a resurgent militant Buddhist society. Since the end of the colonial era, the Rohingya have been loosing their legitimacy as either subjects or citizens of the evolving national entities and in 1982, the then government of Burma (now Myanmar) denied and removed their citizenship in the only country most of them had ever known. The current government has covertly and now overtly encourages the harassment of these people as does a significant and vocal part of the Buddhist Monkhood. These most recent and hostile developments signal the last validations needed for the majority population to commence a genocide. I would hope that some or at least one of the ‘essential’ powers can take some time off from bombing and droning people to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of INNOCENT men, women and children.