Fishers of boat people

Originally published in The Christian Science Monitor, June 8-15, 2015.

By the very nature of their profession, the fishermen of Southeast Asia are often quite low in social status. Now in recent weeks, a number of them have led a quiet revolution in the region. 

With an empathy born of their humility, they have rescued hundreds of people fleeing persecution or acute poverty in Myanmar (also known as Burma) and Bangladesh. And by their example, they helped force Indonesia and Malaysia to stop turning away the endangered boat people and to provide temporary shelter. Thailand, too, has been forced to change its anti-migrant stance.

“Looking at these people, me and my friends cried because they looked so hungry, so skinny.…[H]ow can we not help destitute people like this? It would be a big sin,” Indonesian fisherman Muchtar Ali told Agence France-Presse after he rescued some 400 Rohingya asylum seekers in the Andaman Sea.

'To Bless All Mankind'
The humanitarian within each of us
November 2, 2015

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