Sarkar Publishes OpEd in WaPo on WWII Origins of Rohingya Crisis

March 11, 2019

Jayita Sarkar, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, recently published an Op-Ed on the historical origins of the ongoing refugee crisis in Myanmar involving the Rohingya Muslim population. The essay is an examination of the origins of the ongoing violence in the War and its immediate aftermath.

Sarkar’s Op-Ed, entitled “How WWII Shaped the Crisis in Myanmar,” was published in The Washington Post on March 10, 2019.

From the text of the Op-Ed:

The virulent attacks on the Rohingya people, who are Muslims with a distinct language of their own, have surprised outside observers, who remain confounded by the nature of this violence. But the conflict has deep historical roots. Declassified records from British archives reveal that the origins of the current plight of the Rohingya people can be traced to their participation in World War II, notably the communal violence that broke out between the Muslim Rohingya and the Buddhist Rakhine communities during and after the war. Until they understand the World War II origins of the current violence, and the way that violence is embodied in the Rohingya language itself, members of the international community will continue to struggle to devise effective policies to address the contemporary political and humanitarian crisis.

Read the rest of the op-ed here.

Jayita Sarkar, an historian by training, is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies. Her expertise is in the history of U.S. foreign policy, nuclear proliferation, the global Cold War, South Asia and Western Europe. Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in the Journal of Cold War Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, Cold War HistoryInternational History Review, and elsewhere. Dr. Sarkar has held fellowships at MIT, Harvard, Columbia and Yale universities, and obtained a doctorate in International History from the Graduate Institute Geneva in Switzerland.

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