Medieval historians in the Middle East often used the memory of particularly great disasters as a label for a year or even a whole epoch under study. The original model came from pre-Islamic Arabia with such well known examples as “The Year of the Elephant” remembering the year in which the Abyssinians invaded the Tihama, or the Year of the Locust in which swarms of famished insects wiped out crops across a vast arc spanning from the Peninsula to the Mediterranean.
Last year we used the formula by designating 2016 as The Year of Aleppo to mark the destruction through carpet-bombing of a great Islamic city by the Russian Air Force, pushing the Syrian tragedy further down the abyss of inhumanity.
At the time we couldn’t imagine that 2017 will witness an even greater crime against humanity in the shape of what the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has dubbed “the genocide” of the Rohingya people in Burma (Myanmar).
Aleppo was crucified by a foreign power using its superior military force against a defenseless population pushed to the edge of collective nervous breakdown by years of starvation and conflict.
MORE: The Year of The Rohingya