Why didn’t we do more?

Published 11:55 pm Friday, October 13, 2017

Until a couple weeks ago, I had never heard of the Rohingya people. I’m guessing you might be in the same boat.

But after reading a story about the atrocities committed against these people, it is hard not to know about them. Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted people groups on earth, according to the New York Times.

It is easy to see why they have that designation.

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“The soldiers clubbed Rajuma in the face, tore her screaming child out of her arms and hurled him into a fire. She was then dragged into a house and gang-raped,” the newspaper reported. “By the time the day was over, she was running through a field naked and covered in blood. Alone, she had lost her son, her mother, her two sisters and her younger brother, all wiped out in front of her eyes.”

Survivors reported seeing government soldiers stabbing babies, cutting off children’s heads, raping girls and burning entire families to death.

More than 500,000 refugees have fled Myanmar and into Bangladesh. The crisis began when a Rohingya insurgent group launched attacks with rifles and machetes on a series of security posts in Myanmar on Aug. 25, prompting the military to launch a brutal round of “clearance operations” in response. Those fleeing have described indiscriminate attacks by security forces and Buddhist mobs, including monks, as well as killings and rapes, The Associated Press reported.

While the international community has condemned the violence, it has done little else.

I am no international expert, and I won’t pretend to fully understand what’s happening. But I understand evil when I see it. I understand that people shouldn’t be tortured, raped and killed. I understand that no human should be treated the way these people have been treated.

I also understand that the world should not simply condemn the violence and then turn a blind eye.

Something must be done. There is a push to pull America back from international affairs. The idea that making America great again requires ignoring the world’s problems has become popular. But America is great because it has chosen to get involved. We have chosen to take a stand when the world risked falling to evil forces.

The world — and especially America — is not at risk from Myanmar. It’s a country that has practically no effect on our day-to-day lives, which makes it easy to ignore. But these are humans suffering in ways no human should suffer. America cannot solve all the world’s problems, but it can help solve some of them. No matter your political views on international affairs, no matter if you have no views because you don’t care about international affairs, we can all agree that the slaughter of innocent people is unacceptable.

This horrific situation will join the list of atrocities that the world will one day look upon and ask: “Why didn’t we do more?”

Publisher Luke Horton can be reached at luke.horton@dailyleader.com.