Marcin Zaborowski: exhibition and presentation about the Rohingya people

We have the pleasure of inviting you to Marcin Zaborowski’s exhibition and presentation within the Curious about the World festival!

exhibition: Newcomers

Forum cinema, 5 Legionowa Street
exhibition opening: October 26th, 6 PM
free entry
exhibition open until November 19th

presentation: Rohingyas. A Life of Burma’s Muslims

Forum cinema, 5 Legionowa Street
October 26th, 7 PM
tickets: 10 PLN, available at the Forum cinema’s box office, BCC/LZC’ box office and on bilety.bok.bialystok.pl

The Rohingya people are a Muslim ethnic minority group. They live in the Burmese state of Arakan (Rakhine) located in the west of the country and adjacent to Bangladesh. They give way to the Buddhist Arakans, with whom they have been in hostile relations for several decades. Under the Act on Nationalities from 1982, the Government of Burma officially does not recognize the Rohingyas as a separate group. This stance was supported by the controversial and methodologically questionable official list of 135 “nations” of Burma, which eventually ruled out Rohingyas from the society. As an unrecognised ethnic group, they are treated by the Burmese government as illegal immigrants, and consequently, on the land they have been living for generations, they remain stateless.

The Rohingya persecution is systemic, and the last exodus, in which 630,000 Rohingyas fled from Burma to Bangladesh, is a recurring chord in the drama that has been going on for four decades.

On Friday, August 25, 2017, a group of partisans attacked police and army posts in Burma. 59 guerrillas and 12 members of Burmese security forces were killed in the operation. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a newly formed organization, led the attack, led by Atta Ullah, born in Pakistan. At one moment, the spectre of the pogrom spread over Rohingyas.

The retaliation of the Burmese forces led along with the support of the Buddhist villagers was immediate and conducted on a scale unprecedented for years. The Rohingya villages were surrounded and shelled with mortars. Women were raped, adults and children were killed, people were beaten, their arms and legs were broken. All the settlements were set on fire, and were later torn down. The assets, from rice to gold, have been looted. The Rohingyas, escaping to nearby Bangladesh, saved their lives. The attack was directed mainly at civilians and was referred by the United Nations as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Here the next drama started for many families. Boats crowded with people sunk and the land roads were mined by Burmese forces. Those who succeeded found shelter in the newly created camps. According to ISCG’s estimates, there are currently around 834,000 refugees living in them. In two months, the hills turned into abstract “cities” reaching to the horizon. Rohingya’s has become one of the largest humanitarian disasters of the last 20 years in the world.

“Newcomers” is another edition of the documentary project named “Rohingyas”, which the author began in 2013. The project is a record of the history of the heroes and fates of the persecuted Rohingya community, cruelly ruled out from the society.

Marcin Zaborowski is a documentary photographer cooperating with National Geographic Polska since 2009. His works has been published in El País, The Guardian, National Geographic Polska Magazine, Magazyn Pismo, doc!photomagazine, Angkor Photo Festival&Workshops and Transylvania Photo Festival. On the air of Polish Radio Szczecin, he reported a trip to Tibet and India, where he photographed the 14th Dalai Lama. Graduate of the Sputnik Photos Mentoring Programme (2018).

Marcin is a laureate of the Grand Press Photo (2014, 2018), for years he has also been honorable mentioned, i.a. at International Photography Awards (2014-2017), Moscow International Photo Awards (2014-2018), Siena International Photography Awards (2018), Prix de la Photographie Paris (2018). He is the author of individual photo exhibitions “The Monk”, “Tibet”, “The Unregistered” and “Newcomers”.

Currently, he is working on a long-term documentary project about a persecuted Muslim minority in southern Asia, known as the Rohingya people.

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