Fleas We Greatly Loathe

Francis Wade on the Rohingya

Since last summer, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled western Myanmar to Bangladesh. The Myanmar military began its sweep of villages on 25 August in response to attacks on police outposts by an insurgent group aligned to the Muslim minority, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. Those who escaped to Bangladesh have recounted that soldiers, often accompanied by Buddhist civilians, encircled villages under the cover of darkness and sprayed bullets through the latticed wooden walls of houses, cutting down people who tried to flee and torching what structures remained. Satellite images show hundreds of razed villages. The military’s campaign has produced the most concentrated outflow of refugees in the world since the Rwanda genocide in 1994, and the camp the Rohingya now reside in across the border in Bangladesh is the largest anywhere.

The full text of this essay is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in