THE BLOG

It's Time To Be Outraged: The Rohingya Crisis

04/09/2017 17:16 | Updated 05 September 2017
Farid_Ahmed via Getty Images

I am proud to lead a student movement that has behind it a history of fighting for global peace and justice. A National Union that so often speaks out even when "society isn't ready."

But right now, our silencing on the violence against the Rohingya is deafening.

You wouldn't be an exceptional case for not knowing of the crisis facing the Rohingya Muslims. I didn't. We don't talk about it. It's not in our news cycle.

Often quite accurately described as the most persecuted minority; the Rohingya Muslims have lived for centuries in the Buddhist majority country of Myanmar.

Most of the Rohingya community live in the western coastal state of Rakhine, where they have been left stateless since a citizenship law in 1982 refused to recognise them as one of the country's 135 ethnic groups.

The violence and persecution has only intensified since then. Locals are not allowed to leave their areas without government permission, the region is one the poorest states in the country with ghetto-like camps, and there is a severe a shortage of basic services and opportunities. This combined with systematic violent crackdowns on the citizens has caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homeland - land that their people have lived in for centuries.

While Rohingya spokespeople and civilians have consistently reported the systematic rape of civilians, torture, arson and murder by Myanmar officers, their cries have fallen silent on the global stage.

Well now, it's time for outrage.

Over the past week we have seen reports of a concerning shift in the scale of violence across the region. Eyewitness accounts of children being beheaded and others burned alive are emerging at alarming rates. Many of us have seen streams of social media videos accounting the crisis in real time.

So doing nothing and saying nothing is no longer an option. The times of the Rohingya people being the forgotten minority has long since passed.

It's time for the outrage of those who always lead in cases of global injustice - students.

For all the ridicule we receive, students lead. We lead the progressive arch of society, stand up for things that others refuse to. Fight the causes that aren't mainstream. And we win - eventually.

It's high time the student movement stood up for the Rohingya.

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