They were interviewed separately, come from a variety of villages in Myanmar and now live spread across several refugee camps in Bangladesh. Yet their stories were hauntingly similar. The military has denied its soldiers raped any Rohingya women.
The little boy was standing in their living room in rural China with his tiny chest puffed out, brown eyes beaming as he watched cartoons on TV. She wanted to remember him this way — smiling, playful, innocent. Just three years old, he had no idea his mother was facing a heart-wrenching choice that would change their lives: stay with him and the family holding her hostage, or leave him behind and be free.
As is so often the case, it was an artist who sounded the warning. His name is Barbet Schroeder and the alert that he issued came in the form of his fine, sober film "The Venerable W. That should come as no surprise.
It took more than an hour to paddle the old wooden boat across the River Naf, the remote mile-wide body of water that now lies between fear and freedom. Its cargo: three water buffalo and three goats, plus half a dozen brutalized women and dozens of their half-naked children. At the same time, other boats in the refugee flotilla were putting similar wretched groups ashore near this isolated border crossing one recent afternoon.
Ask foreign visitors to Myanmar what literary works they associate with the country and the chances are that most will cite Rudyard Kipling's iconic poem "Mandalay," or George Orwell's novel "Burmese Days. These include children's stories, plays, travelogues and memoirs. Most of these works have painted a mental picture of Myanmar as a remote land of golden pagodas, gilded Buddhas and picturesque villages.
A pack of soldiers stepped toward a petite young woman with light brown eyes and delicate cheekbones. Her name was Rajuma, and she was standing chest-high in the water, clutching her baby son, while her village in Myanmar burned down behind her. In the next violent blur of moments, the soldiers clubbed Rajuma in the face, tore her screaming child out of her arms and hurled him into a fire.
The use of rape by Myanmar's armed forces has been sweeping and methodical, The Associated Press found in interviews with Rohingya women and girls now in Bangladesh. Here are the accounts as told by 21 women and girls. They agreed to be identified in this story by their first initial only. One day in late August, 10 soldiers barged into R's house.
As a gay man in Yangon, there are very few places for me to meet fellow gay men. The city has no gay bars and hardly any public gay events. I started dating online about four years ago at the insistence of a close friend.