A new Dunkirk
For thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the little boats brought deliverance this week. In a re-enactment of the Dunkirk rescue 77 years ago during World War 2, Rohingya fleeing indiscriminate attacks on their villages were rescued by rickety wooden fishing boats and taken across the Bay of Bengal to relative safety in Bangladesh. The Rohingya are a minority in Myanmar and have long been persecuted by the state, which refuses to recognise them as citizens and regards them as refugees from Bangladesh. Violence against them, by the Myanmar army and ordinary Myanmar people, has escalated in recent weeks. Unlike at Dunkirk, the little boats charged Rohingya refugees the equivalent of about R1 600 per person for the crossing to safety.