When a lot of people hear about a genocide in Sudan or ethnic cleansing in Burma, they think of the violence. Human beings are capable of terrible things, and the types of things they do to each other in these situations rightfully make the headlines. Recently, Burma’s offensive toward their own Rohingya people has meant various brutal fates for many Rohingya civilians — killing 1,200 children in the first month, using rape as a weapon and burning homes with people in them. The violence has caused well over 650,000 people fleeing across the border and into neighboring Bangladesh.
This is the type of thing that people think about in the context of a genocide, and justifiably so. These are fates that many wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
However, there are other fates that befall these victims of widespread violence, beyond the violence itself. A genocide knocks out any and all infrastructure along with any semblance of society that was left behind. This includes wiping out whatever levels of healthcare they had, and that can also prove to be a great danger to many.
Dr. Jack Chamberlain has been working in Burma with the Karen people for approximately 15 years. The people he works with suffered a similar fate as the Rohingya are facing now (from the same government), but they have since managed to form a tedious cease-fire with the Burmese military.