Exclusive Interview with K. M. Asad Talking about Rohingya Crisis

Rohingya refuge has became an international issue in terms of humanity, safe living environment and peaceful world. It has to say that despite efforts being made on the ground, the massive influx into Bangladesh seeking safety is outpacing the capacity to respond. And the most important problem is that many of those recently are traumatised although being in temporary safety.

Different people who saw Bangladeshi photographer K. M. Asad's project "Rohingya crisis" may have different view about this issue, but it is believed that many still hope this kind of things never happen again and pray for a harmonious planet.


Global Phtoography: The photos you shot were hard for people to hear about. At what point did you decide to focus on Rohingya crisis?

K. M. Asad: As a documentary Photographer, most of the time I need to find out something new and always I try to capture the photo such a way which can help the needy people. And as a Professional photographer, I have a responsibility to my society; so while finding any news or issues, I try to go there and do something through my camera to find out the actual story behind the issue.

In 2012, I got the news for the first time from the local news channel that The Myanmar Muslim people (Rohinga) were being tortured Rakhain people and Army. For this reason, the rohingya people started to come in Bangladesh Teknaf border by crossing Naaf River. In this circumstance, I decided to go there and find out actual fact what was happening there. And finally, I went there and captured those photos what I actually observed.

In my work “Rohingya Crisis”, I try to portray their feelings and emotions.

GP: What are some of the images that you can't get out of your mind in this series?

K. M. Asad: It is a big challenge for me to work on this issue, because one side it is very difficult to get permission to access on the camp; and the other side, as a human being, it is very hard to see this homeless people who are fighting every second with death.

In this Rohingya project, the toughest part to me was to capture the photos of 6-month-old baby whose name is Jamal Hossain. When I saw this baby, I was thinking and it touched my mind that such a cute 6-month-old boy who was suffering from coldness, lack of food, lack of warm cloth and finally he left this earth.

Then one thing came to my mind is that how people can be the cause of others’ death. Hopefully, I may continue this project, but I cannot forget the death of the small boy Jamal.

GP: I would despair of us thinking of the Rohingya just as refugees without knowing anything about their lives before we get to know them in your pictures and the scenes of suffering. Did they talk to you about in their old lives?

K. M. Asad: The Rohingya are often described as "the world's most persecuted minority".

They are an ethnic group, the majority of them is Muslim, and a group of people who has lived for centuries in the majority Buddhist Myanmar. Currently, there are about 1.1 million Rohingya in the Southeast Asian country. The Rohingya speak Rohingya or Ruaingga, a language that is different to others spoken throughout Myanmar. They are not considered as one of the country's 135 official ethnic groups and their citizenship have been denied in Myanmar since 1982, which has effectively rendered them stateless.

Nearly all of the Rohingya in Myanmar live in the western coastal state of Rakhine and are not allowed to leave without government permission. It is one the poorest states in the country, with ghetto-like camps and a lack of basic services and opportunities.

GP: When you’re trying to capture a shot, what are the main elements that you focus on?

K. M. Asad: When I capture a shot I always try to make me invisible and wait for a moment which something different, which moment connect every people in this world without any caption.

GP: How do you see the role of the photographer in reporting on disaster zones and crisis situations?

K. M. Asad: In reporting on disaster zones and crisis situations, I think a photographer made a very important role. As a photojournalist, I always try to capture the real situation in a disaster zone and try to publish my work as soon as possible. Because I don't have any power to change situation, but I believe my pictures have the power to do something and sometimes to change the cruel situation, helping people in a disaster zones and crisis situations.

GP: What are your upcoming shooting plans?

K. M. Asad: “Rohingya Exodus” is my ongoing project and I wish I will cover and see what happen in last.

But now this time, I am planning and research for my new project, which is based on Environment.

(All photos copyrighted K. M. Asad)

>> Learn more about the Project "Rohingya Exodus" at this PAGE.

>> With this series "Rohingya Exodus", Bangladeshi photographer K. M. Asad was awared the "Top Ten Photographers of the World” in the 2017 "Sente•Antu Cup" International Photo Contest.

>> To explore more information about photographer K. M. Asad HERE.

>> Click two titles "Rohingya Exodus I" and "Rohingya Exodus II" to view all photos of this series.

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