Escaping ethnic cleansing, the Rohingya of Myanmar flee to Bangladesh
Thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing from Myanmar walk along a muddy rice field after crossing the border in Palang Khali, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, on October 9, 2017. Well over a half a million Rohingya refugees have fled into Bangladesh since late August during the outbreak of violence in Rakhine state causing a humanitarian crisis in the region with continued challenges for aid agencies. (Photograph by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
In Paula Bronstein’s photographs of the Rohingya exodus from Myanmar, there are no shoes. Men, women and children trudge wearily along the embankments of rice paddies, wade muddy rivers, or pick their way across flimsy bridges of lashed-together bamboo poles, all in their bare feet and carrying almost nothing but the occasional bundle of clothes, and their infants.
Bronstein, who has covered wars and refugees from Afghanistan to Sudan to Lesbos, Greece, has been photographing the Rohingya, an essentially stateless Muslim minority among the Buddhist majority in Myanmar, off and on for years. She was drawn back there after a clash with the Myanmar police in August touched off a swift and brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing that in less than two months has driven more than a half-million people from their homes and villages to refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.