/ 2018 / Press / Other_PJ

I am Rohingya

  • Prize
    Gold in Press/Other
  • Photographer
    Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

The Rohingya is a minor Muslim ethnic group who has been living in
Myanmar for centuries. However, due to the racism and many other
socio-political issues accelerated from the majority in Myanmar, they
became a victim to a categorization of themselves as Bengali
descendents, the recent migration of whom began on August 2017,
from Myanmar to Bangladesh. These people are deprived of their
ethnic rights by their own country, which includes non-enlistment with
other 135 official ethnic groups, as Myanmar government has regarded
them as stateless refugees from Bangladesh [1]. Over one million
Rohingyas used to live in Myanmar, and they are the most persecuted
people in the world and their current exodus has made more
vulnerable.

When God remains silent even when there is a war or genocide,
or humans are in a terrible condition, we seek for help, but there is no
one who can rescue us from the dying humanity. I have spent around
thirty days to cover the exile of Rohingya Refugees coming from
hundreds of miles away in bare foot, and holding hands of reaming
beloved ones, there were tears in eyes and fears in heart – as just to
save their own lives. Many children were half-naked; they couldn’t
manage time to get dressed or their outfits lost its utility of providing
coverage, during the long journey to seek for a refuge in Bangladesh.
I saw an old man named Ahmed, who carried his ninety-year old
mother, walked miles after miles under hot sun, and lost his family
members during the attack of Myanmar Army. Sometimes words are
not enough to articulate the horrific experiences of people who have
been through such devastation when the state declares war to clean
up their own people, barely reserving any sympathy. After the World
War I and II, many Europeans started renouncing the existence of
God; no worship, devoted or indifferent, helped diminish the horror of
the war. As a matter of fact, everyone will die one day or the other;
death is inevitable and final destination for all living beings. And
Rohingyas are no exception to it. These people are Muslim, and they
are not terrorists in any way possible, rather most of them are
farmers, who just had a simple life, and wanted to live it peacefully on
their own terms with respect, dignity and their own identity. Everyone
has the right to live, to perform their own belief and religion.
Buddhism teaches ‘Ahimsa’ (Non-injury) of other living beings.
However, Myanmar is a country consisting of a majority of Buddhist.
How ‘Himsa’ (injury) has led them to kill and rape many Rohingyas as
an attempt of genocide and ethnic cleansing is a burning question. I
have spoken to many Rohingya people, and everyone has one or more
stories of losing one or more from their families, many are raped, and
many got killed by Myanmar Armies. There are reports of many
women being captivated for sex slavery and a lot more are missing.

It was not an easy condition at all for a conscious photographer
to listen to the stories, and taking the photographs to produce the best
aesthetical piece of art. It was more like documenting the horror of
truth. I went to the local hospitals for several times to see the victims
who entered into Bangladesh with injuries brought by the Myanmar
Armies during the time they were fleeing. Or perhaps, the army just
wanted to loot the belongings of these people. The Nobel Peace
Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, might not have pondered to go against
the elite Army Generals for the sake of material happiness of life, but
there are great chances reserved for the owner and creator of
everything and this universe, and He can bring justice for once and for
all, before it is too late for innocent human beings.

Bibliography

1. Al Jazeera. 2017. Myanmar: Who are the Rohingya? [ONLINE]
Available at:
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/08/rohingya-
muslims-170831065142812.html. [Accessed 27 January 2018].

Mohammad Rakibul Hasan is a documentary photographer and visual artist. He has is currently pursuing a Certificate of Higher Education in History of Art at the University of Oxford and also studying an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. Hasan holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Photojournalism from Ateneo de Manila University and also graduated in Film & Video Production from UBS Film School at the University of Sydney. He was nominated for many international awards and won several photographic competitions worldwide. His photographs have been published and exhibited internationally. He is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh and represented by Redux Pictures, USA.

Awards Photography Awards

Year 2018

• Lucie Award – “Discovery of the Year” for “I am Rohingya” series at International Photography Awards 2018, USA
• Finalist for "I am Rohingya" series in the photojournalism category of the Frontline Club Awards 2018, UK
• 3rd Prize at My Language, My Culture Photo Contest, Poland 2018
• Global Photography Exhibit Winner, Organized by Clean Water Here, 2018 USA
• Solo Exhibition selection for “I am Rohingya” series at Belgrade Photo Month 2018, Serbia
• Honorable Mention for “I am Rohingya” Series in the photography genre, student category, of the International Image Contest 2018 Festival de la Imagen (FINI), Mexico
• Finalist under student category for “I am Rohingya” reportage at World.Report Award | Documenting Humanity 2018, Italy
• Gold Award under Fine Art/Abstract category for “Human Species” at Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3), 2018
• Gold Award under Press/Student for “I am Rohingya” Series at Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3), 2018
• Honorable Mention under Photojournalism category at MonoVision Photography Awards 2018
• 10th Place on FIBA's Foundation, the International Basketball Foundation (IBF) Photo Contest 2018, Switzerland
• Honorable Mention at 2018 Best of College & High School Photography Contest sponsored by FUJIFILM, organized by Photographer’s Forum Magazine, USA
• Honorable Mention at International Photographer of the year (IPOTY) 2017
• the Best Top Ten Photo Award from Dhaka South City Corporation, JICA and Seeds Asia Japan Photography Contest & Exhibition on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018