Myanmar's Oppressed Minorities (Preview and Thoughts)

Hard to Swallow
Rohingya Refugees
Whether researching information for my website articles or to creating presentations for classroom lessons, I tend to throw myself into the research.  Hours turn to days, days to hours, and hours to weeks.... 

When the subject of the research is people, emotions come into play. I have heavily researched famous atrocities like the Holocaust, the Armenian Massacre, the Rape of Nanjing, modern slavery and so on.  I have also researched less popular persecutions - such as those against ethnic groups in Brazil and the people of Western Sahara.  Every time it mentally leads me to a depressing commentary on mankind.   It also leads to anger that has no outlet and sympathy towards victims out of my reach.  It leads to feelings of powerlessness.  Of course, this is a common feeling and one of the reasons superheroes are so popular - that burning desire to punish evil and assist the less fortunate. 

My current research subject has been Myanmar's minorities.  The Rohingya Muslims are facing genocidal persecution from a predominantly Buddhist country.  It drew my attention because it defies many Western stereotypes.  And while those stories have dominated headlines, many of Myanmar's other minorities are also facing massacre.  Article after article leads to one gruesome detail after the other:
  • "children hacked to death with machetes"
  • "his legs had been blown off"
  • "her face was white with burn scares"
  • "forced to dance at gunpoint"
  • A political leader saying the Rohingya were lying about being raped because "they are too filthy to rape"
  • A taxi driver: “Well, I heard a cyclone is supposed to hit the area. I hope it wipes out all of the Muslims.”
  • This 2014 quote from the New York Times'Nicholas Kristof: "I wish readers could see the terrified eyes of Shamshida Begum, 22, a mom whose 1-year-old daughter, Noor, burned with fever.
  • This one too, which was the result of Myanmar's expulsion of foreign aid workers - including Doctors Without Borders: "...over the course of three days [she] lost her husband and her twin babies. She doesn’t really know what killed them; all she knows is that first one baby died, then her husband and, finally, the other twin."
It is a tumultuous and disheartening situation and, at the very least, deserves attention. I have tried to narrow down my main articles to just a handful of minority groups because I am only aiming to introduce the people and Myanmar's abusive policies. As a starting point for those desiring to delve further into the subject matter, I have numerous links in the main articles.

Thanks for reading.

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