I was born in the era of John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural address on January 20, 1961 (before I was born) he called upon his countrymen to commit themselves to service and sacrifice for their country.

“What many consider to be the most memorable and enduring section of the speech came towards the end when Kennedy called on all Americans to commit themselves to service and sacrifice: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” He then continued by addressing his international audience: “My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” {source: JFK Library}

I ponder this as today in Bangladesh we have this massive influx of Rohingya refugees. Many countrymen here seem to expect their government should solely bear everything for these destitute and desperate people. This is a very unrealistic view and, pardon me for saying so, very selfish. These people with no land to call their own, have fled persecution and threats of death and destruction arriving with only the clothes on their backs. Yes, there is more to this narrative but what we as a nation need to focus on is providing for over 400,000 people.

While JFK was speaking to Americans, I am speaking to you Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a strong and resilient country and I am proud to call this country home. Let us all band together to help our country help these people of Rohingya.

From food to every necessity they need our support. For adults, children and the elderly. Let us not allow the death toll to rise any further. Look to our consciences and give what is in our hearts.  If every person gives a little, the burden lessens on all of us.

It is impossible to look at the plight of these people and not feel anything. So, look for the organizations working to provide assistance. Seek them out and help as much as you can.

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