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Back to Roots --- Unheard songs of landless people

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Nearly 1 in every 100 people worldwide are now displaced from their homes, the highest share of the world’s population that has been forcibly displaced since the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees began collecting data on displaced persons in 1951. According to a new report from the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, 65.6 million people are currently living as refugees or as displaced people.

One million of them are from the Rohingya community; pushed away by the Aung San Suu Kyi government in Myanmar and respectfully sheltered by Bangladesh, despite the country’s multiple internal issues. 

Rohingyas are ethnic minorities and have historically been excluded from the mainstream. Exclusions acted as humiliation such as prejudice, discrimination, stigmatization, derision and deprivation. These consequences compelled them to escape from their stateless motherland. Now it has become a burning international issue which touches us as individuals and as world citizens. 

I have my roots in Chittagong, with a close connect to the Chittagong hill tract. From my early age I have been listening to various heart-wrenching tales about this community. Hence, Rohingyas happen to be a community, I seem to know since childhood.

Moinul Alam is also from Chittagong, Bangladesh, and has been visiting the Rohingya camps for months after their influx started in 2017. He has been a photographer for the past 20 years and excels in people and community as subjects. There is nothing much to write about the several images he captured. They speak for themselves and show us the way this community is struggling to survive in 10x10 ft bamboo shelters.

These photographs give us an insight of a landless community coming back to its roots appealing to the world community for empathy.

I sincerely hope they are heard someday.