Approximately one million Rohingya people were driven out of Myanmar by the dim-witted, corrupt military regime and misguided Buddhist monks demonstrating a clear pattern of crimes against humanity. Another way to express the reality is that these people were fleeing their homes in order to save their lives. They settled in a miserable refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. If that name is familiar to you, it is because it appears in navigation flight paths as a well-known marker. Approximately one-half of those refuges are children which puts them in a precarious position with a host of risks.
In order to make their lives even more challenging, the Bangladeshi government has chosen to relocate them to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal ignoring concerns from human rights groups and the United Nations. Although Bangladeshi officials say that the facilities were built to accommodate 100,000 refuges, no outside observers have made a visit there. Accordingly, boats such as the one shown below are loaded with refuges to make another journey to the middle of nowhere. As it is most unlikely there is a “checked luggage” locker, it is clear the Rohingya people have few, if any, possessions and little hope.
For once in their recent years of despair, a small ray of sunshine has entered which might put smiles on the faces of the children. The Bangkok Post recently published an article entitled Sesame Street Adds Rohingya Puppets. The familiar faces of Elmo and Louie, shown below, will be joined in Rohingya language videos to promote an identity with the refugee children to help them overcome trauma and the impact of the pandemic in the world’s largest refugee settlement in Bangladesh.
Accordingly, Elmo and Louie will be joined by Noor and Aziz with thanks to Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind the long-running show. These new characters will form the core of the program to provide some measure of education to the young Rohingya children and serve as role models with which the children can identify. For those of you not familiar with the Rohingya language, Noor is the young lady on the left below and Aziz is the young man.
If this effort by Sesame Street does not result in a few tears and a round of applause, we might have to put you in the same category of the miserable Myanmar military. I would hazard a guess that I have spent considerably more time with their leaders in the fanciful capital of Naypyidaw than most of you. Therefore, I believe that I can use the term “miserable” with some degree of authority. What has happened in that part of the world makes our problems appear somewhat insignificant.