Have you ever met people that are so unloved that a whole nation wants them to die? You, know, kind of like the Jews during WWII.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to belong to a people group that is despised, unloved and systematically oppressed? What would it be like to tell your child that she or he are not allowed to go to school because they government has decided that people with their skin color and religion do not belong in their country, and therefore, they have no right to education. What would that feel like if you knew that your people has faithfully served and lived in the nation for several hundred years?
I recently spent days with thousands of such people. The Rohingya of Arakan State, Burma. I have never seen such poverty. I have never seen such despair. I have never seen so many hungry babies whom may already be dead when I write this. I have never seen such filth. Such hopelessness. I have never seen mothers come with tears in their eyes telling me of a flight that lasted days, of beatings, torture, and now of constant hunger.
I looked at their serious children and felt completely overwhelmed and sad. I could do so little. I could only tell them that I would do what I can to help them, but I can promise nothing. Because, actually, the government in Burma makes it illegal to help the Rohingya. They do not allow aid organizations to bring food or medicine to these people. The only way we were able to stay there was because we were small and neutral and not afraid. But the people we helped were so few compared to the ones who need help. Desperately. Never have I seen so many adults, men and woman break down and cry when I talked to them. “Why do they hate us so?” they sobbed. “Why do they want to kill us?”
I am back in Norway now. In the comfort of my own home. Eating chocolate and drinking coffee. But the images are haunting me. I know that many of them will die. Many of the babies I held will not make it. Many of the children that looked seriously into my lens may not make it through the rainy season. Because, children cannot live without food. Sick people need medicine. When thousands congregate in large areas with no sanitation, disease spread like a wildfire.
I am going to post stories of the people I met in the days that follow. When you read them, think of these people as your neighbors. What should we do for them? Pray? Yes. Give? Yes. Speak about them? Yes. Write about them? Yes. Ask about them? Yes. Yes. Yes. The Rohingya have been named some of the most friendless people in the world. Please help me change that! These are people with great worth. And they are beautiful and gentle. They deserve a future and a hope.
I would really like it if you logged on the the Partners websitehere and gave a gift so that we can keep helping the Rohingya. They need us.