Imtiaz Ahmed's "The Plight of the Stateless Rohingyas: Responses of the State, Society and the International community" is a wide ranging response to one of South East Asia's most intractable problems. Published in 2010 by Bangladesh's University Press ltd, the book received a second impression in 2014, as befits one of the foremost works on this difficult topic. In a concise 219 pages, the book manages to cover the history of their situation, both recent and historical, examining its causes and effects, as well as conducting a searching examination of various agency responses and offering some thoughtful conclusions as to what is to be done to resolve this almost impossibly thorny issue, which keeps resurfacing at tremendous human cost.
A Concise Introduction To A Difficult Subject
The book opens with a concise and clear overview of the reasons behind the Rohingya's stateless situation, as well as detailing their status as refugees from Myanmar inside Bangladesh. Ahmed is even handed in tone, not proselytising but simply detailing and letting the facts speak for themselves. It is both interesting and instructive to see the explicit links drawn between the traumatic experience of being stateless and the reactions of those who are explicitly of a state.
There are searching questions asked about trauma, about how an entire race can be brutalised, as well as an unflinching look at how state actors respond. Ahmed's examination of both the Bangladeshi State and the wider Civil Society is unsparing without being hectoring. He deals entirely in sober analysis. He recognises that this is not an issue which can be solved solely by a state, and the responses of the wider international community are detailed, as well as non-state actors. This is a multi-faceted problem, and Ahmed rightly highlights that it requires a multi-faceted solution; no one actor is capable of dealing with a situation this intractable.
Reasons For Optimism?
The book voices optimism however, that a co-operative effort, with government acting in concert with civil society as well as the wider international community may yet yield a fruitful response. This is a densely argued and fine-grained analysis: Ahmed's command of the complexity of the issue leaves the reader at once informed and better educated.
About Imtiaz Ahmed
Imtiaz Ahmed's mastery of this topic is a result of his role as Professor of International Relations and, even more pertinently Director of the Centre for Genocide Studies at Dhaka University. A widely respected expert in the field, he is the author of a number of other volumes, including People of Many Rivers: Tales from the Riverbank (UPL: 2015) and The Construction of Diaspora: South Asians living in Japan (UPL: 2000). With a special interest in human rights, his is a voice which demands to be heard, and this magisterial volume should be read by anyone with an interest in the intricate politics and statehood of South Asia.
Plight… is one of the finest examples of political journalism to have come out of India in recent years. This and many hundreds of similar books are available through our book ordering service, giving your readers access to sharp analysis on all the political issues affecting modern South Asia. To find out more about stocking Indian books, please click here for a free copy of our Independent Bookseller’s Guide To Buying Books From India.
9789845060158, Hb, £19.99
Available from Amazon.com, The Book Depository (online), The Wordery.