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Rohingya refugees walk through the mud
Rohingya refugees walk through the mud
Rémy Ourdan

TEKNAF — They ran, they walked, they stumbled, then they ran again. They're exhausted, starving, some are wounded. They fled with fear and death chasing from behind. They are also carrying with them the memory of those who have died and an endless list of the missing. There is, in the forced exodus of Myanmar's Rohingyas, an end-of-the-world feeling.

Two weeks after the Rohingyas started to arrive in southern Bangladesh, on the other bank of the Naf river — which runs along the border with Myanmar — there can be no more doubt about it: the Rohingyas aren't facing yet another persecution, part of an ongoing series of deadly cataclysms to have marred the tragic history of this Muslim community from the Arakan (the Rakhine state, for the Burmese authorities). This time, the Myanmar Rohingyas are the target of a systematic deportation campaign, the goal of which seems to be its totality and finality. An end of their world indeed.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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