Hollywood star Matt Dillon visits Rohingya refugees — does what many of us couldn’t
Matt Dillon took the pains to undertake a selfless journey to Myanmar and highlight the plight of Rohingya Muslims in the war-torn country. Visiting a hot, squalid camp set up to host the victims of transgression brought upon Rohingya Muslims only on the basis of religion, Dillon was shell shocked and horrified at the worsening conditions and inhumane treatment that had been inflicted on them by Buddhist monks.
“No one should have to live like this, people are really suffering,” said Dillon, one of the first celebrities to get a first-hand look at what life is like for Rohingya in the western state of Rakhine. “They are being strangled slowly, they have no hope for the future and nowhere to go.”
After witnessing the deteriorating conditions and the dismal state of the Rohingya Muslims, Dillon stated that he had traveled to some violence-driven places yet he had never witnessed such devastation or ill conditions anywhere else. “I’ve been to some places where the threats of violence seemed more imminent,” said Dillon, who has also visited refugee camps in Sudan, Congo and elsewhere. “Here it’s something else. It feels more like people are going to be left to wither away and die.”
Although Rohingya Muslims have suffered persecution from several decades, violence and anarchy steeped further when Burma underwent its bumpy transition from a dictatorial regime to a democratic one. The violent Buddhist monks used this newfound freedom and used it to their nefarious designs; killing hundreds of Muslims and displacing thousands of the Rohingya community. Machete-wielding mobs slashed hundreds of Muslims to death or forced them to flee by boat or worse, live in apartheid-like conditions in camps.
Dillon also spoke to two boys who had tried escaping but were eventually caught by human traffickers. Though heartbroken, the Hollywood actor was glad he had arrived in the country to see the sad state of affairs.
“A lot of people are suffering,” he said. “I’m really glad I had a chance to come, to see for myself what’s happening here.”