Shivering in the Sun: Genocide's 11th Stage
Today, August 25, marks the one year anniversary of when the genocide against the Rohingya population by the Myanmar government began. During my time spent with the refugees in Bangladesh I came to the conclusion that this was indeed a genocide as the severity of the crimes warranted this weighty designation—I do not use the term genocide lightly. In researching what a genocide is, it's generally considered that there are 10 stages that determine a genocide all of which apply to the crimes committed against the Rohingya population.
As I walked through the camps and spent hours listening to people in humid and sweltering tents, tents that were as hot as 45C (aprox 115F), I thought that there should be an 11th genocide stage added and that is death due to displacement. Consider that nearly a million people still only are living on the basics to sustain them. Before fleeing, the wounded and traumatized left without food, medicine or clothing (with the exception of what they were wearing) as they were driven into the wilderness, left to die while the perpetrators looked away. Thus, as the victims embarked into the wilderness, the perpetrators embarked on the 10th stage of genocide: denial.
Although the Bangladeshi government and dedicated NGOs have done what they can to aid the those who made it out of the wilderness and across the border, the survivors are still at risk of death due to disease, a harsh monsoon season that has washed away homes perched on de-forested hills and death due to lack of medicine and nutrition—all things that they would not have been faced with had they not had to flee to refugee camps across the border.
While they are not physically there in the camps, the perpetrators' hand still has a long reach. As the 11th stage of genocide slowly continues to unfold, and will for many more years, the killing is far from over.
A note on the photos: these are collected Instagram Posts which were initially shared in March 2018 when I was in Bangladesh, personal photos I took as I worked in the camps. (A second portrait series will be released soon.)