I was in Sittwe, Rakhine State in Burma recently, the site of serious communal riots between Rakhine people and Muslim Rohingya who have been living in the state for generations and are currently the victims of a hate campaign instigated by politicians, ordinary people, Buddhist monks and government officials. I spent three weeks in Burma in late Augustand eartly September, talking to as many people as possible. I did not meet a single Burmese who had any sympathy for the Rohingya, a community the UN calls the most persecuted people in the world. Since I left Rakhine State, Sittwe has been closed to foreigners and apparently Rohingya and other Muslims are prevented from shopping in the municipal market.
In the little time I had between curfews and flights, I walked around town in the pouring rain, took some photos of gutted buildings and tense people, though I avoided pointing my camera at security forces who were in evidence everywhere and who checked what had photographed. The few pictures I did take, I post here – market scenes, ruins tense expressions, heavy rains.
Read my story on the Rohingya – Hell in our Time.