First, I would like to thank Matt Staggs for offering me the chance to bring this story to your attention. I have just been made aware of two massacres of the Rohingya in Burma, and this was first bought to my attention with a brutal photo of a small child hacked to death. I will spare you the image, because my intention is not to shock you, but to ask for your help in raising awareness of a potential genocide in Burma. For the prior two massacres, the US has sanctioned Burma and condemned these attacks, which were spurned on by government propaganda.
However, despite these sanctions Google is still planning to meet with the Burmese government to talk over business plans. Worse, this story is not going anywhere in the social media networks or with mainstream news outlets. Even though we’re told, “if it bleeds, it leads,” the massacres of thousands of Rohingya men, women, and children is not sexy enough to make the nightly news.
I do not feel up to the task of informing you on this, but here is what I know. Through a twitter contact, Jamila Hanan, and her web site SaveTheRohingya.blogspot.com, I’ve learned that the government circulated leaflets to the locals, written in Rakhine, encouraging them to attack the Rohingya and drive them out of Burma. These leaflet say that if the Rohingya will not leave, they will be slaughtered like cattle. People are being armed with machetes, and I have seen photographic evidence that these weapons were used on a child who could not have been more than 3 at most. These leaflets make clear that a third attack is imminent, and will take place this week. So we have very little time to prevent a greater tragedy from occurring.
If you’re asking “why not just flee?” the Rohingya did attempt to leave by boat after their homes were burned to the ground and bulldozed, but no government would grant them sanctuary. There were forced to return to Burma, and now many of the people are starving. The children are affected the worst, and many have already perished from malnourishment.
What can you do to help? If you have a blog, a Twitter account, or a Facebook profile, please direct your friends and followers to SaveTheRohingya.blogspot.com. Or post a link to this YouTube video, which while shocking, is not as graphic as the photo I was shown. It should still get the point across about how dire the situation has become. If you are on Twitter, please follow Aung Aung, a Rohingya who is tweeting live on the ground in Burma as the Rohingya are being herded into tent cities and isolated. If we do not raise awareness and force the media to take note of the situation, thousands will be killed in a genocide, and it will just be business as usual.
I’m sorry that I cannot be more informative about the first two attacks, but I was only made aware of this last night. My own social reach is extremely limited, and so I am trying to appeal to everyone to help get this on social media’s collective radar. We need a strong enough blip to make the government back down from their plans, and we need to embarrass Google for ignoring US sanctions and reaching out to tyrants who have no problems murdering children in cold blood.
I fear we may not be able to stop this, and the Rohingya could very well be slaughtered. But we cannot let this happen quietly, as if these people were just stray animals to be culled. So I’m pleading with you. Do something. Make some noise, and don’t look away. The Ronhingya need your awareness and your anger, now more than ever.