Dhaka Lit Fest participants have expressed support for the Rohingya refugees, urging the global community “to stand up and support these refugees, and to hold accountable those who have orchestrated the violence leading to this catastrophe.”
Celebrated Syrian poet Adonis, academy award-winning actress Tilda Swinton, Booker Prize-winning novelist Ben Okri, playwright David Hare, historian William Dalrymple, writer Lionel Shriver, and Bangladeshi literary icons Syed Manzoorul Islam and Kaiser Haq, among over 50 other participants of the Fest signed the statement issued on Sunday.
The statement has now also been endorsed by Dhaka Lit Fest alumni from years gone by, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Vijay Seshadri, writer Nayantara Sahgal, and public intellectual Tariq Ali, among others.
The full statement reads: “Since 26 August 2017, over 600,000 Rohingyas have been exiled into neighboring Bangladesh due to a pre-planned and systematic ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar government and army.
“This is one of the largest forced migrations in recent times, and puts the Rohingyas as a community at risk of extinction from their native Arakan province.
“The participants in the Dhaka Lit Fest express sympathy for the refugees, and wish to keep the news of this unfolding situation at the forefront of global consciousness, as the situation in the refugee camps precipitates what could be an even larger humanitarian crisis due to disease and malnutrition causing the deaths of the vulnerable – the young, the old, the ill and destitute.
“The Dhaka Lit Fest urges the global community, governing bodies, rights groups, and media to stand up and support these refugees, and to hold accountable those who have orchestrated the violence leading to this catastrophe.”
The participants who signed the statement are: Adonis, Ahsan Akbar, Alex Preston, Ameerah Haq, André Naffis-Sahely, Anisul Hoque, Bee Rowlatt, Belal Ehsan Baaquie, Ben Okri, Catherine Lacey, Charles Glass, David Hare, Deepak Unnikrishnan, Dominic Ziegler, Esther Freud, Fakrul Alam, Firdous Azim, Garga Chatterjee, Jesse Ball, John Makinson, John Ralston Saul, Kaiser Haq, Kamila Shamsie, Kazi Anis Ahmed, Kazi Nabil Ahmed, Kelly Falconer, Khademul Islam, Lionel Shriver, Luba Khalili Luke, Neima Mahrukh, Mohiuddin Mohammed, Hanif Manjula, Narayan Nadeem, Zaman Nadia, Kabir Barb, Nandana Sen, Naomi Hossain, Nasreen Sattar, Nayantara Sahgal, Nicole Farhi, Philip Hensher, Roderick Matthews, Sadaf Saaz, Samrat Choudhury, Sandro Kopp, Shaheen Akhter, Shamsad Mortuza, Sharbari Ahmed, Stephen Alter, Sudeep Chakravarti, Syed Badrul Ahsan, Shobhaa De, Tahmima Anam, Talal Ahmed Chowdhury, Tariq Ali, Tilda Swinton, William Dalrymple, Vijay Seshadri, Zafar Sobhan, Zia Haider Rahman and Zulfiqer Russell.