At the time of writing, over 500,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State in a period of just over six weeks, most of them heading for the Bangladeshi border. It is the most rapid exodus of a people from anywhere in the world since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
Considering there were only about one million Rohingya in Rakhine at the start of the year in the first place, the brutal, pitiless army of Myanmar, mainly responsible for driving them out, is well on its way to eliminating them from the country – a final solution to what it regards as the Rohingya problem. Much will now depend on the 300,000 or so Rohingya left in the middle of the state. They are further from the border than those who have left already, and so any trek out of the country would be even more arduous for them. Some may try to stay, although the army will make this as hard as possible.
This tragedy has unfolded in plain sight, almost nightly, on our television screens, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages. Yet once again, the world seems to have been powerless to prevent what even the useless UN has called a ‘textbook ethnic cleansing’.