Headlines from the New York Times for Friday, September 29, 2017
In Grim Camps, Rohingya Suffer on ‘Scale That We Couldn’t Imagine’
(Below are excerpts from long article about a major humanitarian crisis that most American’s don’t know exists. If you have access to the Times, I highly recommend reading the entire article.)
BALUKHALI, Bangladesh — Up to their ankles in mud, hundreds of Rohingya refugees fought to the front of the crowd outside of their makeshift camp. An open-bed truck full of Bangladeshi volunteers was passing by, tossing out donated goods at random: small bags of rice, a faded SpongeBob SquarePants T-shirt, a cluster of dirty forks.
Entire families sloshed through the rain hoping to grab whatever they could. One boy, no older than 6, squeezed his way to an opening where a pair of oversize men’s jeans came hurtling off a truck. He had to fight off an older boy before he could run off with the prize.
There were already more than 200,000 ethnic Rohingya migrants stuck in camps like this one, Balukhali, in southern Bangladesh. But over the past month, at least 500,000 more — more than half of the Rohingya population thought to have been living in Myanmar — are reported to have fled over the border to take refuge, surpassing even the worst month of the Syrian war’s refugee tide.
For decades, the Muslim Rohingya of Myanmar, a minority concentrated in the western state of Rakhine, have faced systemic repression by the country’s Buddhist majority, and particularly by the military. But what happened in August, when the military and allied mobs began burning whole Rohingya villages, was so much worse that the United Nations is calling it ethnic cleansing.
“I see that the host community here has been incredibly positive,” said Karim Elguindi, head of the World Food Program’s office in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. “I’m still surprised by the humanitarian response of the government and the community.”
So far, the bulk of the aid effort has fallen to groups of Bangladeshi volunteers. Touched by the stories they have seen on local television, many across the nation have started donation campaigns and driven long distances to give what they can to struggling refugees.
“We couldn’t just sit at home,” said Abul Hossain, a volunteer who lives six hours north of the camps. “Last week we asked everyone in our village to donate. We drove all night to bring it here.”
Readings from the Prophet Hosea for Friday, September 29, 2017
As we end the week, we have a superb exhortation from Hosea.
Hosea 12.6 – But as for you, return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.
Prayers for Friday, September 29, 2017
Dear God, we pray for the thousands the Muslim Rohingya of Myanmar who have been forced to settle in Bangladesh.