The guilt of coming home to my own three- and five-year-old left me unable to sleep at night. Why should their lives be of more value to the world than those of the Rohingya children, brutally slaughtered and left without a dignified burial?
The Independent Voices
It has been two years since the wave of violence in Myanmar which saw Rohingya refugees fleeing over the border into Bangladesh. Two years ago there were regular images on our television screens of women and young children making treacherous river crossings; now there is barely ever a mention of their ongoing plight.
This is a protracted crisis, there is no denying it. While the acute phase may have abated, the Rohingya are not yet safe. They face a potential move to Bhasan Char – an island in the Bengal Bay, cut off from the mainland during monsoon season – or repatriation to Myanmar, where they would likely be forced to live in detention centres. It is our duty to ensure the Rohingya are not forgotten by the world.
The stories I heard on my two medical visits to their refugee camps have stayed with me.
Humaira, whose young son was murdered when the army stormed her village, told me how she wanted to kill herself but was kept alive by her desire to locate her son’s body and bury him. She still lives with the pain of not being able to find his body and bury her son. Subara, meanwhile, told me of the day the Myanmar military snatched her baby from her arms and knifed him to death in front of her eyes. The guilt of coming home to my own three-year-old and five-year-old, safe in their London home, left me unable to sleep at night. Why should their lives be of more value to the world than those of the Rohingya children, brutally slaughtered and left without a dignified burial?