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After two years, another Rohingya man came to the fields.

BLEAK HORIZON «Early Black»

Together they conspired to leave and, late one night, walked away with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They ate what they could scrounge off the streets until they forded a river to Malaysia, where Mr. Arif found work teaching the Koran. But Malaysia was hardly the promised land. He was living illegally, making him terrified police would find him — and he noticed that other Rohingya had spent two decades there, with no path to leaving. There was no future in Malaysia.

He wanted to go somewhere he could truly be free. He dreamed of Australia and in a smuggler brought him to Indonesia, where he boarded a boat heading south. Two days later, the boat broke down, and the smuggler abandoned them to the open sea. That night, he said, whales helped push the boat toward shore. The miracle was short-lived. Police found the boat and handed the Rohingya off to immigration authorities, who locked them in a detention centre. Sixteen months later, Mr. Arif was sent to one of the Medan hotels. The hotels are run by the IOM, with funds provided by the Australian government, which pours money into other countries to care for people it does not want to arrive on its own shores.

He spends more than 10 per cent of it on a gym membership, one of his sole activities away from the hotel.


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His arms ripple beneath his T-shirt. Barred from work by restrictions on refugees in Indonesia, he has a fixed daily routine: Still, by scrimping Mr. Arif is able to save for the dream he still holds of going to Australia — even if that may be a fantasy. They, too, are not havens: Refugees at the Nauru centres have rioted and sewn together their own lips in hunger strikes.

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Australia has offered to bring some to Cambodia instead, but so far only four refugees, including one Rohingya man, have accepted a transfer to a country virtually as poor as the one they left. Arif, it all means there is little he can do but wait, and attempt to keep hope alive. There are things I am capable of doing. I can teach the Koran. At the heart of the conflict over the Rohingya is whether they are entitled to occupy the land where they live in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

What is clear is that Buddhists have lived for millennia in what is now Myanmar, while Muslims are more recent arrivals, with the first coming perhaps in the late 15th century. Rakhine state, where they are concentrated, includes territory that was part of the ancient Buddhist Arakan kingdom and where Muslims also lived. Arakan once stretched from what is modern-day Bangladesh deep into what is now Myanmar, with a capital that was a cosmopolitan centre rivalling London and Amsterdam.

Bleak Horizon - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives

It bridged Muslim and Buddhist cultures and lasted for centuries, before falling in to a Burmese king who looted the capital, torched the royal library and enslaved Arakanese men, who today are known as Rakhine. Both Buddhists and Muslims were affected by the upheaval, but stranded Rohingya migrants in Indonesia believe their subjugation began on that distant date. In their home villages, they say, there are year-old mosques that are evidence that Muslims lived in Rakhine state for centuries.

Other Burmese see it differently: Many claim that most Rohingya are not native at all but are descendants of Bangladeshis who came as workers and settlers to Burma during the time of British colonial rule.

Afghanistan’s bleak horizon

Further complicating matters, both the Rohingya and the Rakhine peoples feel oppressed by the Burmese and also bear ill will toward each other. Myanmar is also a political tinderbox, in part because Muslims are regarded with suspicion in a deeply Buddhist country. The government has instituted new rules for inter-religious marriages. Even among the educated Myanmar cultured elite, the Rohingya are offered scarce sympathy.

One book the government has published is called The Rohingya Hoax and accuses Bangladeshis of masquerading as Rohingyas to fraudulently win sympathy. UN workers have decades of experience in sorting out Bangladeshis from Rohingya, using linguistic and geographic clues, and even differences in how they tie their longyi saris. As Afghanistan is handed back to theAfghans, many are straining to see around the next corner. Whichever way you cut it the radical change of direction that transition represents is a high-risk strategy. It brings great economic and political pressures to bear on the fragile Afghan polity that has developed on the back of the first Bonn Conference in The strength of the medicine, some fear, may finally kill off the patient: Given the negative trend lines in security and difficulties facing the Afghan economy, it is hard to see how a transition to Afghan ownership can reverse this situation.

In transit to nowhere: Rohingya move from one bleak horizon to another

The intense pressures and side effects of the transition will be felt at all levels of the country. The risk that declining aid flows will affect subnational governance service delivery by adversely affecting the ability of the Afghan government to attract and retain qualified staff is further increased by the intensifying Taliban assassination campaign targeting government officials. The underlying strategic calculus may be that a collapse of the Afghan government would not necessarily prove catastrophic to the security concerns of the West.

If the strategic focus of the United States has already moved on, as some believe, conceivably the consequences could lock the West further in to a country and region in a way that ultimately makes departure, from a Western viewpoint, an impossible option to take. From to she was deputy and senior political advisor to the EU Special Representative for Afghanistan. Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola. Major Laurentius 21 The Imperial Sardaukar. Diddy Picard Caracal Pandemic Horde. Rixxi 23 Did he say Jump. Zont Dober Caracal Pandemic Horde.

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Gomorrah - Another Bleak Horizon

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