‘Is the world listening?’: the poets challenging Myanmar’s military

It has now been a year since the military coup, and the breeze of democracy has become a dead wind in Myanmar. People breathe the air of fear and pass nights of rage and despair as men and women are shot or burnt alive at the hands of the Myanmar military. Villagers leave their loved ones at home and take refuge in the forest. Once-vibrant city streets have become rows of haunted houses. The whole country is trapped in a shadowland.

As Rohingya refugees, we are all too familiar with the military’s capacity for violence and destruction. Over the past year, Rohingya people have watched with terror and anguish as the same military forces that perpetrated genocide against us now unleash their atrocities across the country.

The soldiers who once burned us alive and razed our villages are now burning people and villages across the country; the bullets that killed our parents and siblings are now taking the lives of people from all ethnicities and backgrounds.

Poem – Terrifying Night

As we listen to new reports of airstrikes, mass killings and incarceration, and see images of people burned alive, tortured or subjected to other unimaginable abuses, we ask again if the world is listening or taking action to stop the military.

We also wait for the world to hold the military accountable for the decades of violations of international law it has committed against the Rohingya, Kachin and other ethnic minorities, along with further violations it has committed indiscriminately against the people of Myanmar since the coup.

As people across the country make incredible sacrifices to end military dictatorship, we Rohingya people stand in solidarity. We share a desire for freedom, safety and equal rights.

Cox’s Bazar

In August 2017, the military’s horrific killings, rapes, arson and other atrocities against Rohingya in Rakhine state caused more than 700,000 people to flee to Bangladesh. The UN described the military’s attacks as bearing the “hallmarks of genocide”, and Myanmar…

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