Night after night our nation sees the damage from hurricanes. I get the enormity of the matter both in places like Houston and the staggering damage in Puerto Rico. I fully grasp how this is a major story and why Lester Holt reports from the scenes. But let us also realize that an even larger and more colossal event is taking place in the world and the major evening news coverage does not report on it to the degree it requires. Not even close. After all, there is mold in homes in Houston!
Today the United Nations reported the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar to Bangladesh since August has topped 500,000.
It also has been reported by the BBC–the only truly engaged news operation in the world that has the numbers of employees and the passion to inform– that Myanmar’s government will manage the redevelopment of villages torched during violence in Rakhine state. The plan for the redevelopment of areas destroyed by fires, which the government has blamed on Rohingya insurgents, is likely to raise concern about the prospects for the return of the refugees, and compound fears of ethnic cleansing.
Meanwhile we are watching folks on the news from Houston with their terraces piled with ruined furniture that will be quickly replaced by insurance. You might sense how I feel. There is once again this notion of some people in the world being more equal than others–even when it comes to how world events are covered.
I get it that in this nation many of the voters have no idea where where Myanmar or Bangladesh are located and I strongly suspect that a fair share might even believe these are places in a far off galaxy. And for many that is where the concern ends. That is why it is most important for the evening news to pound these stories of mass human rights abuses to the same level that we know how Amy and Adam are faring on their once flooded street in Texas.
Human rights groups using satellite images have said that about half of more than 400 Rohingya villages in the north of Rankine state have been burned in the violence. At the same time refugees arriving in Bangladesh have accused the army and Buddhist vigilantes of mounting a campaign of violence and arson aimed at driving Rohingya out of Myanmar. Buddhist-majority Myanmar has rejected UN accusations of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims.