So it's been a trip, but Reverb is coming to an end after it's 9th event. This last session has been co-organised with Dr Tasleem Shakur to seek awareness for the Rohingya refugees and I am immensely proud of how this has all come together. It's a great end to a great experience.
Amnesty International describes the Rohingya as “one of the most persecuted minorities in the world”. They have fled from Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh, with almost 60% of the refugees being children, who are all now being faced with deportation, even though they remain stateless, with uncertain futures. It has been observed that there has been very little awareness of this catastrophic human disaster in the Western world.
Following on from the success of Dr Shakur’s Festival of Ideas event, ‘Who are the New Boat People’, and coinciding exhibition from photojournalist Fojit Sheikh Babu, we have invited a collection of local artists to demonstrate some of the lost voices of the Rohingya. From transcribed folk songs, to translations of poems from the camps this will be a dynamic evening of music, poetry, art, film and discussion.
This will be the first in a series of events around the UK which Taz and I will curate together.
Speaking on his activism Taz said:
“Rohingya refugees, particularly the women and children, need urgent and worldwide attention and support. The Rohingyas are experiencing torture, rape and genocide and I wanted to help raise awareness of this to help alleviate this desperate situation.”
The event will feature performances from James Byrne, Dr Joaquín Cortés, Shehzar Doja, Francisco Carrasco, plus more.
Speaking on the event, James Byrne said:
“The systematic violence enacted on the Rohingya people is barbaric. How long must the refugee camps last? Each month I phone up a poet I work with in the camps and he has told me me how important art is a vital source of hope among a people who remain stateless and traumatised. I am presently editing a feature on Rohingya poetry for Modern Poetry in Translation. Events like this one at Reverb are crucial in raising further awareness so action will be taken. Nobody in the modern world should live like this, not least the Rohingya after what they have been through fleeing the brutal hands of the Tatmadaw.”
Reverb 9: Raising the Voice of the Rohingya will be held at The Arts Centre on Monday 19th November at 7pm. The event is free and requires no booking.
For the full line-up and more information about this event please visit the Reverb website.
To learn more about the Rohingya and how to get involved, please visit: Friendship's non-governmental organisation.