My family and I spent a week in Bangladesh visiting Rohingya survivors of Myanmar genocide.
We just got home in UK last night. This is my little reflection on what we witnessed. I came home with a long list of "To-Do's".
Natalie, my wife, and I work as a two-person team of researchers and writers. We use each other as a sounding board and we teach each other on the Rohingya. She is the one who initially helped me overcome my own anti-Muslim racism and my own ignorance about Rohingyas.
So naturally, I wanted Natalie and Nilah to bear witness to my country's Buddhist genocide - note no quotations marks - of the most vulnerable segment of our society, the Rohingyas.
Here is my 8-year-old Nilah and Nat meeting with Rohingya children and moms.
I interviewed 2-dozen survivors, the majority of whom were mothers between the ages of 18 and 35. The youngest survivor I interviewed was a 10-year old Rohingya boy who was shot in the leg.
The most sadistic tale I heard a survivor recount was this:
Her father was shot in the head in front of their house as he ran to the house where her daughter , 16, was tied up and gang-raped by a group of Burmese government troops, wearing red scarfs (light infantry unit commandos, as far as I know).
The father's head got blown open, and one soldier picked up bits of his brain and fed them to the chickens.
This IS an act of genocidal and sadistic killing, seen against the backdrop of what else has been done to the Rohingyas as a group by Myanmar over the last 40 years.
The Burmese society is brainwashed to hate the Rohingyas for no real reason: the Tatmadaw's (Burmese Army’s) racist, pathetic generals have adopted the institutionalized threat perception - that Rohingya’s are a threat to national security and that their presence is a part of Bangladesh's cold war of population transfer from Chittagong to Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine State.
The Burmese military (Tatmadaw) have accordingly manufactured and propagated lies after lies over 40-years.
I know every influential figure personally who has been involved in this genocide.
I view them as evil as the Nazis. They consider me a "national traitor" and "enemy of the state".
I identify with the survivors of my country's genocide despite our differences in ethnicity and faith background.