03 March, 2021

Not A Kon Tiki Adventure

I understood why Suu Kyi remains silent on the Rohingyas. There seems little hope for them.

Not A Kon Tiki Adventure

In December 2008, eleven badly dehydrated men swam ashore on Little Andaman Island, south of Port Blair. The island has many Bengali-speaking residents, so it wasn’t long before the story of these strange, new arrivals became known. It shocked the world. The marooned men were a mix of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. They had set off in a people trafficker’s boat from Teknaf in Bangladesh, lying just across the Naaf river estuary from Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state, hoping to find jobs in Malaysia. But the endpoint of their perilous sea journey was southern Thailand, from where they were to proceed overland.

They never made it. Instead, they were captured by the Thai military, imprisoned in a barbed-wire camp on a densely forested island near Phuket along with hundreds of other boat people, and tortured, even as touts demanded money to get them released. Finally, around 400 of them were put on a large, engine-less wooden barge that was towed to the high seas and left to drift. Days later, starving and desperately thirsty, their meagre supply of rice and...

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