We cannot close our doors to people fleeing ethnic cleansing
The persecution of the Rohingya by the Myanmar government is one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time.
As such, it has become imperative that, since no one else will, Bangladesh opens its borders to the fleeing Rohingya.
We understand that Bangladesh is already overpopulated and under-resourced. We know that with the recent flooding, we have our own problems to deal with.
And we know that we have already done more than most in providing shelter both now and in the past to the Rohingya.
We also understand that the current crisis has put our government in an unenviable, no-win situation, which would tax anyone’s ingenuity and goodwill to resolve.
In addition to the estimated half million who are already here, we have already taken in, by the latest count, some 90,000 in the past month.
\What more, the government may reasonably ask, must we do?
\The difficult answer is that we must open our borders fully to the Rohingya and continue to provide a safe haven for every one of them fleeing death and destruction in their native land of Rakhine.
It will not be easy, and it will not be without severe costs, economic and otherwise, both in the short-term as well as the long. Nor can it be a permanent solution to the crisis.
But simple humanity dictates that this is what we must do. We cannot close our doors to people fleeing ethnic cleansing.
We acknowledge that, in doing so, we are helping the Myanmar army and government in their terrible goal of uprooting the Rohingya people from Rakhine. We understand that the Myanmar government cannot be allowed to persist in their inhuman pogrom against the Rohingya, and must be forced to bring an end to the carnage on our south-eastern border.
But neither can we stand by and let an entire people be, surely and steadily, wiped out.
As a nation which has rebuilt itself from the ashes of 1971, as a people who have been subjected to the brutalities of genocide and ethnic cleansing ourselves, we should understand better than anyone what the Rohingya people are going through.
Our history and our humanity require that we let each and every person who is suffering the same fate into our country.
If no one else will step up to shelter the Rohingya, then it falls upon us to do so.
Dhaka Tribune, September 5, 2017