Sold dream 17
The night was calm and serene and I managed to finish my Esha prayer outside under the stars. I made dua for my parents, I prayed for their safety and in the midst of my conversation with God I began to cry thinking of little Mahi and hoping she was safe.
I finished my prayers and soaked in the night before I rushed in to clear the dinner table. I lowered my gaze as I entered because I had been warned against making eye contact, I was to remain invisible as a good slave should.
I cleared the table and began washing the dishes. The old man walked into the kitchen and sat down in the corner closest to the sink. I asked if he needed anything but he was silent. His presence unsettled me and he watched my movements eerily. Suddenly he came towards me and pinned me against the sink, he lifted my dress and began touching me.
I begged him to stop, he slapped me hard and told me not to make a sound. I would not let this happen , I could not let this happen. I summoned all my strength and pushed him off me. He fell against the table breaking it. He was clearly shocked at my reaction but regained composure quickly. His eyes were dark and his teeth were clenched as he began to beat me. I fell to the floor in agony. He dragged me by my hair screaming that I should know my place, that I was here to serve him in any way he ordered.
I fought back as hard as I could. I would not allow my self to be raped again, not this time.
I hit and scratched his face, he broke a glass vase on my head but I would not give up. I would not be his victim. My mind was strong but my body could no longer move.
The commotion must of alerted the old lady and she came down. She looked at me and asked what happened. He told her I had tried to force my self on him and he fought back. She called in few of the security guards who dragged me and tied me to the tree out side. She ripped my dress of and began to beat me. With each strike of the whip the sound cut into my flash, the pain was unbearable. Again and again she beat me until I lay there drenched in my own blood. She left me there naked for all to see.
Ahmed came to me when they had left. He covered my body with one of his sarongs and gave me water. I begged him to leave, I didn’t want anymore trouble. But he stayed with me , slowly making me sip the water. He asked if he could wash the wounds, he didn’t want to disrespect me, Muslim women do not show their bodies to strange men. I refused. My body was mine and no matter how noble his intentions were right now I didn’t trust any male.
He sat beside me telling me I was not the first but I was the only one to fight him off. I asked Ahmed how long he had worked here and he replied about seven years. In these years he had been beaten mercilessly on numerous occasions , at times for no reason at all. He lifted his shirt to show me the scars.
He reminded me that we are slaves not employees. He was right we had no rights and no remedies. Just slaves nothing more. We had no names, no identities and no histories. Why did I think that this would be better than home? I had to ask him if he had ever tried to escape and he told me that those who tried were shot by the guards. He told me how he felt like a coward for never trying to escape but he hoped that one day soon he would be able to go home and see his family and the land we were forced to leave behind. This was the only reason slavery was better than death. What was it about humans and hope? He told me that the one worker who was allowed out would bring any bits of information he could find about home.
The latest was that the border guards were torturing people in the camps to see if ISIS was present and whether a resistance was forming. I began to cry, our people were much worse off than I was. Those being questioned would be tortured to death even though they knew nothing, mostly because nothing was allowed into the camps. Everyone had forgotten us why would ISIS be any different.
I asked Ahmed what it was like for him in the camps. At first he refused to speak and just cried but as the night wore on he admitted to me that the notorious Burmese border guards often raped Rohingya men and how at times they were tortured and forced to do sexual acts with other men while some guards watched. I was shocked I didn’t know what to say to him.
He told me about his father and how he was tortured because he went in search of his father. When I asked him about his grandfather, I realised that it was the same old man who had given me the book and pencil and told em to write my story, our story. I slowly sat up and told him every thing from the time I met the old man up until the time he suffered a heart attack and was left to die. He wept like a baby. He was summoned by the guards and he walked away muttering about how he could have and should have done more for his grandfather.
I sat tied to the tree, howling in anger. It wasn’t my pain that broke me but rather the story of Ahmed’s rape. I looked up at the stars and promised myself and my people that no matter how impossible things got. I would be one of those who broke our silence.
by mumtaz saley