Gold / 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.Bibliography1. 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.