Myanmar — A Geography of Events Surrounding Rohingya in Rakhine State

Reprinted from City Wellness Atlas.

Myanmar’s current leader Aung San Suu Kyi may be a Nobel Peace Laureate, but within recent memory she was also a prisoner inside her country. Many in Myanmar, employees of the bureaucracy, small business owners and students lived through both phases of the country’s change. The Rohingya villages attacked are not even on any official maps, which hints at the crux of the issue.

Now as the world is presented with an “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, every point of view on the subject has a piece to claim. Myanmar is 90% Buddhists and is a developing nation. Many Burmese work overseas in low wage jobs. They see little interest in their own poverty stricken plight. In 2014 there was prolonged protest in the conviction of two Burmese workers sentenced to death of a British couple (Reuters).

The military campaign against the Rohingya village in Rakhine State alludes to border security, illegal immigrant occupation and criminality. The Rohingya claim “ancestral roots” to the land they occupy though this has never been made official. Part of the exodus and repatriation process alludes to a rooting out of terrorist elements hidden within the unofficial Rohingya villages.

Click the map to view the situation from three different perspectives (the Rohingya, the military and Myanmarese in big cities away from the fray).