“Is humanity subjective?”— highlighting the Rohingya crisis, a search for the answer to that question became the focal point of a DLF session titled “Rohingya: Humanity in Despair” on the opening day.
Held at the Vaskar Novera Exhibition Hall, the session moderated by young researcher and writer Sherif Al Sire was attended by columnist and political analysts Bakhtiar Uddin Chowdhury, Bangla Tribune's Head of News Harun Ur Rashid and former Vice Chancellor of Assam University Tapodhir Bhattacharjee.
Stressing that humanity has never been the same to all people, Harun Ur Rashid said, “If you look at the Rohingya crisis, you will understand why. The Rohingyas have elicited our empathy because they are Muslims. If they were of a different religion, things might have been different.”
The same people who are empathetic to the Rohingyas, he said, have no problem in remaining nonchalant towards the oppression against the minorities in our own country. “I am not saying this just happens in Bangladesh. This happens everywhere. The Yemenis are being killed by the Saudis but many of us don’t think about that.”
Tapodhir Bhattacharjee thinks that in principle “humanity is above all” but in practice humanity is measured in selective manners by different parties. “Views towards humanity are even different for different individuals and state organs,” he said. He pointed out that the world powers like the USA, China or Russia have always seen any humanitarian crisis through their own looking glasses. “While many countries have called the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya community in Myanmar genocide, countries like the US or China still refrain from terming it so.”
Bakhtiar Uddin Chowdhury talked elaborately about the history of the Rohingya. Shedding light on the history of the Rohingya people who had settled in the Arakan state in the 14th century, he said,“All of a sudden you cannot deprive a group of people of their citizenship who have been living there for more than 650 years.”
Moderator Sherif Al Sire referred to a study of the Pew Research Center and said that one in every 100 people in the world “is now a refugee.”
“This staggering statistics reveal the calamities amidst which we live in,” he said.