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Will this mother's grief move Aung San Suu Kyi?

Last updated on: September 19, 2017 09:07 IST
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Death pursued this Rohingya family as they fled the violence in Myanmar.

IMAGE: Hamida thought she and her family would be safe if they fled the violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar.
Members of the Rohingya community, Hamida, her husband Nasir Ahmed and two young children risked it all, leaving their home behind, when they took a boat to Bangladesh.
The journey ended in tragedy when the boat capsized.
Hamida survived, but her 5-week-old infant didn't.
Photograph: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters

Hamida cradles her five-week-old son's body and weeps.

The infant is now another statistic -- among the hundreds who have died as members of the Rohingya community make their way from the violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state to Bangladesh by boat and over land.

 

Hamida, her husband Nasir Ahmed and their young children were among 18 Rohingya refugees on a small fishing boat crossing the Bay of Bengal to the Bangladesh village of Shah Porir Dwip.

IMAGE: The anguish on Nasir Ahmed's face: Will it persuade Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to end her government's brutal repression of the Rohingyas?
Photograph: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters

As the family touched shore in Teknaf, Bangladesh, the boat capsized. Hamida survived, but Abdul Masood, her 40-day-old child, drowned.

Reuters Photographer Mohammad Ponir Hossain was taking photographs of exhausted refugees on the beach when he heard an autorickshaw driver shouting that a boat had capsized.

"I rushed to the spot and found people crying over the dead body of a child," Ponir was quoted as saying.

IMAGE: The family's grief isn't theirs alone. Thousands of families have experienced the same sorrow, heartache and tragedy, losing men, women and children to the senseless violence and its cruel aftermath.
Photograph: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters

Hamida and Nasir Ahmed's personal tragedy mirrors the tragedy thousands of Rohingya families have experienced in recent weeks following the Myanmar government's brutal repression of the Muslim community in Rakhine state.

Around 400,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine in three weeks, risking death over land -- the Myanmarese army has been accused of planting land mines to prevent the Rohingya from fleeing -- and on the ocean, to live in inhuman conditions in refugee camps on their arrival in Bangladesh.

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