“Burma Inflicted the Worst Horror on Us,” Say Rohingya Teachers

Rohingya teachers say that the Burmese regime tried to destroy their community by attacking educated people.

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As the Rohingya refugees slowly start to put their lives together in camps located in Southern Bangladesh, teachers and elders of the community recall the horror of the atrocities that they went through.

They allege that teachers and the educated lot were targeted in an attempt to erase the history and the identity of the Rohingyas.

They believed religious leaders had an influence on the community. They also thought teachers know the law well. So they thought if they kill, arrest or chase us away it would be easy to eliminate the rest. With that intention, they would single us out and torture us.
Maulana Rahmat Ullah, Teacher

According to AP, their claims have been backed up by an Amnesty International report from November which documented a system of institutionalised discrimination and segregation of the Rohingya that was intended to erase their identity.

Matthew Wells, a researcher from the organisation who has documented crimes against the Rohingya in Myanmar, told AP "the elders in the community, who carry on the tradition of, and the history of the Rohingya people, have been targeted in a disproportionate way in the course of the violence.”

Teachers were often branded as terrorists and detained by the local police.

If we are not educated, we will never know what Rohingya means or the importance of our citizenship papers or our country. That is why they want to erase the educated people. They want to erase us, especially because we are Muslims. They don’t want a single Rohingya child to live in Myanmar anymore.
Arif Hossein, Refugee

The Rohingya refugees believe that teachers are the window to the world. It is through them that the history and identity of the Rohingyas live on and are passed on to the next generation.

But there aren’t enough schools to accommodate the number of children living in the refugee camps.

(With inputs from AP)

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