Modern day ethnic cleansing


The Mirror reporter

Ethnic cleansing is a true horror and is difficult to discuss let alone comprehend. Though many people are interested to know the history of it, as many Stevens Point Area High School students have taken Holocaust, Genocide, and Human rights.

It may come as a surprise to students living in the United States that ethnic cleansing is happening right now.

In the country of Myanmar, the majority of the population are practitioners of Buddhism while the minority of people consists of those who practice Islam, known as the Rohingya. Not only are they not recognized by their government but they are also denied citizenship within the hostile country.

There are reports of Myanmar soldiers raiding villages and burning them to the ground, forcing the Rohingya to flee on foot to reach aid camps. Many attempt to enter Bangladesh for refuge.

Aid groups are now currently seeking over $400 million dollars to provide aid for an estimated 1.2 million refugees and their temporary communities over the next six months. Their needs include food to support one million people and 100,000 emergency shelters. As many as half of the refugees are children with 24,000 women also in need of maternity care.

In response to the ethnic cleansing, the Myanmar government denies any wrongdoing and claims they are fighting the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a militant group responsible for an attack on 30 police posts and an army camp.

The De Facto leader of Myanmar and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to acknowledge the killings as ethnic cleansing and instead called for investigations into allegations and counter allegations.

Though Kyi may be the leader of Myanmar, the country is still lead by its military, which is what Kyi fought so hard against, earning her awards and recognition for.

It has since been reported that she will lose the Freedom of Oxford, a key to the city like an award, through Oxford University where she is a former student and where she received an honorary doctorate in civil law. Many wish to see her stripped of her Nobel peace prize. However, the Nobel Institute has claimed once the award is given is cannot be withdrawn.

The plight of the Rohingya is recognized by the UN as “textbook ethnic cleansing” with officials condemning the violence and calling for action despite Myanmar’s objections; which also signify genocide as Myanmar denies the systematic persecution of Rohingya.

So why should the students of SPASH care? Though we may take classes to learn of such events taking place throughout history we’ve never had to experience it ourselves. We’re lucky to spend our time worrying about trivial things in comparison to the thousands of children worrying if they’ll be killed or if they do survive, who will provide for them?

Bergen Jackson who is a student currently taking Holocaust and Genocide said, “I saw the Rohingyas on the news and I swear, I’ve never felt so blue.”