The Bangladesh Society hosted an event for the Rohingya

‘To turn a blind eye to the situation is an injustice in itself’

On Tuesday evening, a member of King’s Bangladesh Society organised an event bringing light of the military crackdown in the Rohingya. We spoke to her to find out more.

In a nutshell, what is happening?

For a number of years the Rohingya people have been facing discrimination and persecution at the hands of the Myanmar government. However, since October 2016 there have been reports of escalating brutalities: rape, public executions being committed in Myanmar.

Why did you organise the event? 

After reading articles about what was happening, I realised that this is not the kind of issue we can ignore. It frustrated me that there was not enough coverage and discussion on the topic and I didn’t understand why.

In short, we wanted to bring to light some of the organisations working on the issue. I said something at the beginning which I feel encapsulates why the committee decided to hold the event: what is happening to the Rohingya people is an injustice, but to turn a blind eye to the situation is an injustice in itself.

What do you hope to be achieved by the event?

We hope that more people have gone away with an increased knowledge of he Rohingya people. We also hope that those who attended will get involved with organisations and campaigns working on the issue. During the Q&A, someone made a good point about collective action: campaigners and supporters, regardless of organisation, need to mobilise and show that this is an issue that we care about.

It can be so easy to let an issue fade into the background, but it is harder to do so when a large number of people are talking about it, and taking action against it.

Do you think institutions have given platform to this situation

Not enough are talking about it especially mainstream media. We go to an amazing university, with individuals and groups who are always willing to speak, fundraise and take action for a good cause. This made it all the more disheartening when we found that the issue was not being discussed at King’s. To my knowledge, only one other university in London had actively participated in campaigning.

Are you planning to do some more events, maybe fundraisers?

Definitely! We want to begin a campaign which involves collective action with a number of organisations and individuals working on the issue. This is still something we’re exploring and need to finalise.

A fundraiser is probable and something that could take place in the near future, to raise money for the Rohingya people living in refugee camps in need of basic necessities such as clothes, food and water.