US must keep the plight of the Rohingya in mind

by Admin
US must keep the plight of the Rohingya in mind

In our current day and age, it often can feel as though we are being barraged with global crises. Wars in Ukraine, Gaza and Sudan have collectively displaced millions from their homes, all in desperate need of humanitarian relief and political action to ensure their security. While the aforementioned conflicts are surely worthy of international concern, they mustn’t prompt another equally disastrous situation from being forgotten — namely, the plight of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

The name “Rohingya” may very well ring a bell for Americans, as this minority community was subjected to a well-publicized and brutal campaign by the Burmese military in 2017. This violence, categorized as genocidal by the United Nations and the U.S. State Department, forced hundreds of thousands of people into the neighboring nation of Bangladesh, where they now live in inadequately supplied refugee camps. Given that the Bengali state has proved unable to meet the refugees’ needs, nations that are able to provide crucial humanitarian aid, including the United States, should do so.

Additionally, punitive measures should be taken against the junta currently ruling Myanmar. This regime should be met with forceful condemnation from the international community. American officials have taken some initial action, including sanctioning Burmese leaders and organizations, yet more must be done.

One previously suggested measure that could prove to be quite effective is a comprehensive arms embargo against Myanmar. This would prevent the ruling junta from obtaining outside weaponry it could very well use to brutalize the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities. Furthermore, as The New York Times recently reported, militant groups that oppose the junta and express support for democracy have made surprising gains against the Burmese military in recent months. Should an embargo come into effect, it would further aid these groups in their cause to bring about an open and equal Myanmar.

It is reasonable for Americans to feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of news detailing tragedy and death around the world. Yet it would be dangerous to let ourselves become complacent. If the United States is to truly become an advocate for human rights abroad, we must keep in our minds the plight of all suffering peoples, and that includes the Rohingya.

— Thomas Vincent, Chicago

Is a return of peace possible?

On April 23, NPR reported observations from Gaza. Rafah resident Ahmed Barhoum’s wife and 5-year-old daughter were killed when Israelis bombed his house. Saqer Abd el-Aal’s wife and six children were bombed in their home.

What happens when a man loses all his possessions, his wife and his children? His future taken, he has nothing to live for, nothing to build a future for. Perhaps the only thing giving his life meaning is dedication to revenge and retribution.

While Israel’s government contends it is destroying Hamas, it is also creating more enemies, dedicated, with nothing else to live for, to Israel’s destruction.

One shouldn’t conclude that all Palestinians are innocent and only Israel is evil. Hamas’ extreme brutality on Oct. 7 sparked Israel’s overreaction, by design. Now, more civilians are dying, along with some militants. Meanwhile, partisan protesters are polarizing our sensibility.

Can peace and empathy return? Yes! Starting with each of us.

— Bruce Joffe, Piedmont, California

Making United States an island

Millions of Americans and some in Congress think the United States should become an island and let the rest of the world go to wherever. The Japanese prime minister just gave Congress a lesson on why we must stand up to aggression and lead the Allies against North Korea, China and Russia. We know a few other countries rattle their cages, which require us to bang the bars occasionally.

Those people who want us to be an island are unable to see what history has taught us. Remember World War II and how Germany and Japan had plans to conquer the United States. We would not have defeated Germany without Britain and Russia. We need allies in one way or another to keep our enemies at bay.

History shows it is disastrous to be an island, and once an island, it is difficult to break back out.

— Chuck Johnson, Morris

Conservatives who don’t ‘fit in’

As an evangelical Christian, I am grateful for the thoughtful definition of that term by the Rev. Martin Deppe (“What being an evangelical means,” April 23). I add my plea to his, that we as a group of people with specific beliefs not be painted with a broad brush that characterizes us as haters and racists. God is not a Republican, and he certainly does not despise people with positions on issues that differ from mine.

The dilemma faced by many of us who describe ourselves as conservative is that we no longer feel at home in a party influenced by a relatively small number of prominent elected officials. Where are those other like-minded voters like us who don’t “fit in” any more? And how can we make our voices heard?

— Diane P. Verratti, Waukegan

Bird-friendly glass on stadium

Thank you for the honest and thought-provoking comments about the Chicago Bears’ proposed lakeshore stadium (“The Bears may stir Chicago’s blood with splashy pitch for a lakefront stadium. We’re not convinced.,” April 25).

I share the editorial board’s skepticism and have one additional concern it did not address. Have we learned nothing from the debacle outside McCormick Place last October, when at least a thousand migrating birds were victims of window strikes in one night? Chicago sadly has earned the reputation of being the most dangerous U.S. city for birds.

The wall of windows that is part of the proposed stadium presents yet another potential disaster unless the proper steps (such as bird-friendly glass, a more costly option) are taken. While Chicago has a bird-friendly building ordinance in place, it certainly needs to be implemented for any new construction — especially along our beautiful lakeshore, which is a major flyway for our migrating feathered friends.

— Kathi Lieb, Arlington Heights

A Museum of the Unwanted

The city lost out on a George Lucas museum on the lakefront. I propose a Museum of the Unwanted. It would include the Christopher Columbus statues now in storage and the “rat hole” removed but preserved. There could also be a portion of the spaceship located in Soldier Field once a new Bears stadium is built. Although, we can always hope that the spaceship returns to a galaxy far, far away.

— Richard Badger, Chicago

Say no to another costly stadium

Joe Ferguson, president of the Civic Federation, is incorrect in saying that “everybody wants to keep the teams (in the city)” in referring to the Bears and Sox. No. Not all of us. When there are people unhoused, people hungry, people uneducated and citizens being killed on their own doorstep, we do not need to spend a nickel on another multibillion-dollar monument to mediocrity.

Sports economist J.C. Bradbury is 100% correct: If the Bears don’t like being told to build their own stadium, they can “go jump in Lake Michigan.”

— Len Woelfel, Oswego

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