By Hannah Whobrey
This message was written and sent to Congressman Adam Smith during the October 26 write-in. Visit www.tinyurl.com/mimyanmar for a list of resources and contact information if you want to write a similar letter to take action against this horrific genocide.
I am writing to you because I feel that it is important that Washington state take action in Myanmar against the horrific ethnic genocide against Rohingya Muslims. This ongoing issue has already directly caused the forced exodus of more than 400,000 Rohingya people, and an uncountable amount of unforgivable murders. As the powerful nation that we are, we must act.
I know that most people in America are unaware, or don’t care personally, about this issue, but with so many refugees coming to America to escape Myanmar’s government, I strongly feel that our government should be doing more to acknowledge the crimes of the military and Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration. Already labeled an ethnic genocide by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights (Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein), I see no reason for us to further stall.
I was inspired to get involved with this issue after meeting an amazing fellow student at my high school, and Rohingya refugee, Mohamad Imran. He fled Myanmar when he was just 12 years old to escape the brutal, discriminatory military campaigns against his people. He was forced to survive alone in the Thai jungle, and was held in Malaysian jail for a year (because he had no passport, as Myanmar’s government took away citizenship for Rohingya Muslims in the 1980s), before he finally achieved refugee status and came to America thanks to the UN. Our school paper interviewed Mohamad as a student feature, but I believe that the issue is far greater than my local community.
Mohamad told me that when he received his U.S. green card, he was so grateful and happy to feel like he finally belonged somewhere. However, one success story does not change the fact that the Burmese military is routinely murdering Rohingya people. It would greatly help if our government officials were to take an official stance on the situation and pledge aid. I know that there are many issues facing our world today, but I believe that if our government has the ability to save the human lives that are at risk in Myanmar, we should be doing everything in our power.
Thank you so much for your time,