I decided to take up the offer and assist the doctors who came to camp as an interpreter. If I saved up my wages I would have enough for Ayesha and I to make it on to a smuggler boat in a few months. So after a long hard talk with Ayesha, we decided that we would not die in the country we love. We will leave behind the memories of growing up in Arakan and one day, far away from here we would talk about the lush lands and green pastures. Hopefully by then things would have changed for the better.
It had been a week since I broke the news of the pregnancy to Ayesha. I was pretty sure she would want an abortion but the news changed something for her and despite this child being conceived in so much hate and anger she was beginning to care about it. I could not understand this and then one night she explained to me that her new philosophy was that there was a good side to every bad situation. She explained that she can’t have an abortion because the baby had not wronged her and that this life inside her was a gift from god. She transformed before my eyes from depressed and broken to the graceful light of the camp. I admired her for her courage and the light burning inside her gave us all hope.
Darkness has a way of creeping into the camp. A group of men from Thailand came to the camp. They were well dressed and I could see doctor Steven with them. I smiled at him , hoping this was a big break for the camp but he refused to make eye contact with me and just shook his head. I couldn’t comprehend the gesture at all, this warm, friendly man was suddenly cold and unapproachable. My gut told me to be weary for what came next but my heart raced wondering whether today would bring freedom?
Doctor Steven called for me saying he needed my help to interpret for this group. He took me aside and for a while we stood so close that I could smell his perfume, it was woody with a hint of cinnamon. For the first time I noticed his eyes, bluer than the ocean. He pulled me closer and told me to hide as dest as I could and to take Ayesha with me. These men from Thailand were human traffickers. I refused to believe him especially because these men were accompanied by guards.
“Listen to me!” Steven implored, I’m telling you the truth. I am so disgusted that they’re here but if I refuse the government will refuse to let me work here. If I refuse one of the guards will file a complaint against me and that will be the end of it. I looked at him closely. Those blue eyes always made me feel a bit dreamy but I had been through enough to know he had an ulterior motive. I was not going to be this perfect blue eyed boy’s little rape doll. Yes at this point I was pretty clear that every man who was nice to me wanted to rape me and I refused to trust anyone but myself.
One of the Thai men walked up to me. He looked at me and then touched my face and smiled. He asked me whether I would like to work on a fruit farm in Thailand. I nodded my head. Ayesha smiled and said she wanted to go as well but she was pregnant. The man looked at us and said, ‘My God sisters, how wonderful.’ He then told the guard to bring us into town tomorrow and paid him $20 for each of us and left. Finally life was about to change.
That evening the guard who raped Ayesa repeatedly dragged her out of his tent by her hair. He kept screaming about how was it possible that a revolting Bengali could carry his child. Then he beat her. I ran towards him screaming and began to hit him. The guards began betting on a whether he could beat us both. He threw me off him and I hit my head against a rock. I could feel the warm sticky blood running down my face. Ayesha was being kicked in the abdomen over and over. I got up slowly and suddenly out of nowhere my crush Noor ran towards the guard and began to beat him a sense of relief rushed over me.
For every injustice there is justice in the guard’s world. Out of nowhere a loud bang echoed. The world stood still as if it was confused as well. Noor fell to the floor, the blood running out of his chest and collecting ina pool on the ground. The dusty surroundings made the sunset ominous. Today my Noor lost his life, Ayesha lay on the ground motionless and I got up and stumbled towards them. Ayesha was not breathing, I could not find a pulse, she had blood staining her pants and on the floor next to her. The dusty sunset was a witness to both the death of my sister and the man I dreamt of marrying.
If this is not a holocaust then what is? We are in the same place today where the Jewish people were during the rule of Adolf Hitler. Only our Hitler is known by another name and I vow to tell the world about the many Rohingya Anne Franks.
I wanted to save them all these were my people, this was my family and we are Rohingya.
by mumtaz saley