As one of the Rohingya, I can say that each passing year seems to be a step back in time for us. In the course of the past 35 years, we have gone from a people with a sense of belonging and security in our homeland, to a people who are now called ‘the world’s most persecuted minority’. Whereas once we were a thriving culture, now we have been effectively disowned by our own state and scattered to the four corners of the Earth. The passage of each year is now a reminder of how our collective dignity is becoming a distant memory.
This has been much international uproar over the recent round of persecution in Rakhine since the middle of 2017. Yet this is nothing new for the Rohingya. Over the past several decades, and in particular over the past five years, such violence has become almost a routine spectacle for our people. What has received significantly less attention over this time, though, is the condition our people face in between these outbreaks of repression. The world knows well the Rohingya as victims of conflict, but they know far less of what hardships the Rohingya experience as a stateless people.