“can a human being live without really living at all?”
I feel soulless I feel as if I should give up. I thought about death more than any human should. Death gave me hope that if I took my life I would finally be at peace. I looked around and the smell of our own stench became too strong to bear. The more I looked the more I heard the whispers of a better life. Fools they are I thought we are the forgotten people, no one will save us or grant us refugee status.
It not easy to be a refugee but at this point my options were death or being a refugee. Days seem to pass slower and slower and I pray everyday not be raped. Ayesha was always the pretty one and with that the same guard rapes her almost every second day. I pray for her ,for the shimmer her eyes once had to return and to hear her soft voice but words are barley spoken and her eyes once filled with love now look out into the world with a pained hatred. As much as I want death I know she must be praying for it daily. I sit next to her braiding her hair, her smell once sweet smells of sweat and semen. I do not blame her for giving up hope, looking at her was like watching a zombie. Ayesha has died and this shadow with the distant look in her eyes is someone else.
Many more people were sent to the camps. One day we heard a helicopter overhead and we all rushed to see who has graced us with their presence. Maybe the media had come to shed light on what was really going on here. A white man climbed out of the helicopter, we look at him with hope in our hearts and tears in our eyes, finally I say to myself it will be over he probably is an international journalist here to tell our story. We surround the man hoping he had come with good news. The old man from the other day who cried that he was not Bengali went up to the man and shook his hand. I saw a small paper exchange hands and I prayed the guards hadn’t witnessed this because the consequences would be dire. The man took the paper and tucked it in his pocket. He did not address the crowd or ask us any questions, he took a walk around and then left. My heart sank.
I walked over to the old man and I asked him what he had written down on the paper. At first he denied it, I don’t blame him because here it is fight or flight. You talk to no one and you don’t share details about anything to people you don’t know. I nagged him until he could take it no more. He told me that the paper said: “help us tell the world our story”. I didn’t know what to say or how to react. What fascinated me was that the old man could write English. Like I said before education was somewhat limited to us and the older generation caught up in tradition tend to not like change and learning English for many is seem as not so important. With the new generation education is limited, Ayesha and I learned English because my father would be fascinated with the English scriptures found I have no idea where he learnt English from but as a child we were told stories from books my father would find in hotel dumpsters nearby and he would read them to us. My mother would laugh and say that our English was better than our Rohingya. My dad always told us that one day we would make it to Malaysia and we would need to know English to study because we were destined to change the world. The memory had brought me to tears and I longed for my parents. I thanked the old man and began to walk away.
He called me back, handed me an empty book and a pencil and told me to write my story in English. He asked me to write what was happening and when I was finished with it to give it to one of the doctors to smuggle it out of the country and show it to the world. That was the day I began to learn that the pen is mightier than the sword.
The day the old man handed me a pencil, he liberated me and I decided that I would tell the story of each person I met so that they would be remembered. I will write this story and one day when my people are free they will read the book and recognise how difficult it was to achieve freedom and how much we sacrificed for it. This was the day that hope sparked in my heart and I will stand and say I AM ROHINGYA!