More From Alder's Ledge

February 11, 2013

Life Under Siege

What the Blockades in Burma Look Like
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Rohingya Camp Being Kept Under Blockade By Myanmar)

In previous post Alder's Ledge has told you what life under blockade was like in Myanmar. We explained what it was like to be starved to death slowly by a government that seeks to destroy an entire ethnic group. We explained how and why the radical Rakhine movement in Burma is carrying out their campaign of ethnic cleansing. Yet nothing compares to seeing the destruction yourself. That is why we are bringing you these images (first provided by @jamiliahanan on Twitter).

This Rohingya woman has a skin condition that has been left untreated due to lack of medical aid being allowed through the blockade. The skin condition has left painful blisters on her feet making it hard to walk. There is currently no relief in site due to the endless blockades being maintained by the Burmese government. 

This Rohingya child has the hallmark sign of malnourishment, a swollen stomach protruding from under rigid ribs. During the Holodomor in the Ukraine (part of Stalin's Forced Famines) children became swollen like this from eating thatch roofing materials. It is hard to say what has caused this child's condition. But it is clear from history's lessons that this condition is fatal if left untreated. 

This Rohingya boy has grown rail thin as starvation slowly claims him. Hips, ribs, and joints show through his thin tight draping of skin. This form of death is a cruel form of torture in Burma. It could easily be prevented. If food was allowed to enter the camp this boy would not be in the condition he is in now. If water was allowed, at the least, his strength would not be so rapidly depleted as his organs begin to shut down.

This Rohingya man is emaciated as his body uses up its own muscles to fuel itself on just a few more days. Just as with other Rohingya starving to death, this man is suffering with each passing day. His body is growing rigid as it looses the ability to move limbs. He is basically suffering from the symptoms of death long before death ever claims him. 

Another swollen stomach, another sad face. This Rohingya boy is rail thin everywhere except his stomach. In previous genocides where starvation was used to kill large numbers of people the children were described as "little fat men" due to this symptom. It was a cruel way of describing the children on their last leg before death set in. 

This is a typical home in the Rohingya concentration camps. In the dry season it may be almost bearable. In the wet season there is little between the Rohingya and the heavy rains. What was dirt beneath their beds quickly becomes mud. There is nowhere to flee from the dirt and mud due to the blockades that keep them in and the food and medicine out. 

A beautiful Rohingya girl, starved and hunched over in her tent. Her bones peak through her flesh as she looks away from the camera. Most Americans would have a hard time distinguishing her from any other Burmese or Bangladeshi individual. Yet the Burmese and Bengalis both hate her and her people. They refer to her as "Kalar".

Another symptom of malnutrition, this child's hair is falling out. It is a painful thing to watch as a child waste away right before your eyes. Yet for the Rohingya in Burma this is what life has been reduced to. A long and painful walk from degradation to death. 

This Rohingya man finds it hard to walk as starvation claims his body's muscles. He is frail and thin at a time in his life when he should be living rather than dieing. Instead of enjoying life, this Rohingya man has to watch his family, friends, and community die before his eyes. 

Another child, another swollen stomach. This Rohingya child does not deserve to live like this. He had done nothing but simply be unfortunate enough to be born Rohingya in Burma. That should not be a death sentence. And yet here he is, starved and homeless. 

Sunken eyes, protruding ribs, and thin limbs. These are the hallmarks of Burma's own forced famine. This is what it is like to live under constant siege by a government that is hellbent upon the destruction of the Rohingya people. This is what it is like to be starved to death slowly by a government that is carrying out a campaign of genocide. 

These images came out of Burma so that the world may see the faces of genocide in Myanmar. Now that we have seen them it is our duty to act. It is our duty as human beings to stand as one and fight this inhumanity. We can not remain silent as more and more Rohingya die daily. 

Scream for the Rohingya. Your voice goes much further than you could ever imagine.

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