This is what you are looking at:
The wooden boat packed with Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar was a few meters (yards) away from shore in Bangladesh on Thursday when it capsized.
AP photographer Dar Yasin says what happened next will haunt him: a young mother’s horrified discovery that her infant son, Abdul Masood, had drowned in the waist-high waters.
Hanida Begum’s wails filled the air as she mourned her dead boy.
She had given birth to twin boys just 40 days ago. Now one was gone.
“She kept on kissing him. She held him and kept kissing his body,” Yasin said.
And this is why we see it:
Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims have been called the world’s most persecuted minority, a people without a country.
In the last two weeks, in numbers estimated to be nearing 300,000, Rohingya have been fleeing for their lives into already-crowded refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.
It is the third such mass exodus in four decades.
An estimated 1 million to 1.2 million people in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine self-identify as Rohingya. The government of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, refuses to recognize them as one of the country’s 135 lawful ethnic minorities, instead calling them Bengalis, with the implication that their native land is in Bangladesh and they are illegally settled in Myanmar. They are similarly unwelcome in Bangladesh. What has made the situation particularly dire for the Rohingya was the passage in 1982 of a citizenship law that had the practical effect of making most of them stateless and depriving them of most of their civil rights along with economic opportunities. They are legally restricted in their right to travel, to marry and in the number of children they can have. In practical terms, access to decent education and health care, as well as employment, is also limited.
(Associated Press, “Explains”)
Image note: A Rohingya Muslim woman, Hanida Begum, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, kisses her infant son Abdul Masood who died when the boat they were traveling in capsized just before reaching the shore of the Bay of Bengal, in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, Thursday, 14 September 2017. Nearly three weeks into a mass exodus of Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar, thousands were still flooding across the border Thursday in search of help and safety in teeming refugee settlements in Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Associated Press. “AP Explains: What’s behind Rohingya exodus from Myanmar”. 10 September 2017.
—————. “AP Photos: A young Rohingya mother’s horrified discovery”. 15 September 2017.