I wanted to take a break from the scenes of murder and destruction in Gaza so I grabbed the latest edition of TIME magazine which I bought last Saturday. The contents page gave me a rough idea about the magazine's features this week but it did not prepare me for the shock that was awaiting me. A photo of Abdul Kadir (65 years old) was published on a two-page spread. He lay on the floor as the terror in his eyes stared straight at me. It's as if I was now in his shoes. The headline above the image read: "The Rohingya, Burma's Forgotten Muslims." The photo's caption clarified that Abdul Kadir is one of the 140,000 minority Rohingya Muslims who have been forced to live in camps where disease and despair have taken root.
TIME magazine is one of the few prominent, global journalistic magazines which are objective when it comes to humanitarian cases and don't discriminate between one man and another on the basis of religion or race. It allocated 10 pages for shocking photos taken by James Nachtwey. The photos reflected the terrifying and bleak situation of Myanmar's Muslims in refugee camps. The least that can be said is that this is a disgrace tarnishing the military junta that has held power in Burma for nearly half a century. Commenting on Nachtwey's photos, Hannah Beech wrote: "Sittwe, a drowsy town in western Burma, is a shattered place. I was first here five years ago, back when ethnic Rakhine Buddhists sold vegetables next to Muslim Rohingya fishermen. At the time, a Buddhist abbot and a Muslim cleric blessed me in whispers, as both spoke out against the repressive junta that had ruled Burma — also known as Myanmar — for nearly half a century. Today, Sittwe, like much of the surrounding state of Rakhine, exists in virtual apartheid."
Buddhists' discriminatory resentment caused the misery of 140,000 Rohingya MuslimsBakir Oweida