A Global Humanitarian Crisis Through the Eyes of a Child
Baladas Ghoshal
FIRST, THEY ERASED OUR NAME: A ROHINGYA SPEAKS by Habiburahman with Sophie Ansel Penguin Viking, 2019, 244 pp., 499.00
September 2020, volume 44, No 9

The blurb of the book claims: ‘Here, for the first time, a Rohingya speaks up to expose the truth behind this global humanitarian crisis. Through the eyes of a child, we learn about the historic persecution of the Rohingya people and witness the violence Habiburahman endured throughout his life until he escaped the country in 2000.’ Habiburahman’s account is undoubtedly heart-wrenching as there is sadness, emotion, sufferings and separation from the family ingrained in his narration aimed towards attracting the attention of the international community and human rights groups. Sufferings of the Rohingyas are fact and cannot be ignored, for they deserve justice. But truth cannot be discerned only from the so-called victim’s account. It has to be examined also from the perspective of the perpetrator. Myanmar’s case of ill-treatment of its minorities is nothing unique, there are innumerable cases of other countries in South and Southeast Asia where the minorities get a raw deal, but they have not received as much attention as the case of the Rohingyas as they do not have the support of international lobbies like the Organization of Islamic countries, the Amnesty International or other western lobbies who target selective cases and vilify a country of their choice.

Continue reading this review