My mother gave birth to me,
among the rice fields secretly.
She wished that I did not cry
when I left her
She wished that I had died.
Her worried eyes foreshadowed the future.
I never understood her
until that day in 1962
I saw a man that looked just like me
dead, hands tied behind his back, floating in the river.
I ran home in tears,
screaming that if this is what my people do to my people,
then I do not want to be Arakanese.
I do not want to be Burmese.
But I still found myself standing in front of the mirror
bleaching my skin and pulling my eyes further apart
and telling Allah that He will have to forget me for a while
because I do not want to die in the hands of the Burmese military.
The way I look does not please them, so it does not please me.
My mother walked in and wailed when she saw my burning skin.
I never heard her make so much noise, I thought I was doing the right thing.
She told me, “We are Rohingya. We deserve a place here.
Do not change your beauty for the persecutor.”
Homes burnt, birth certificates denied
abuse thrown, our identities hide behind their pride.
Mama and I don’t belong here,
so we join the helpless and help them get us away from Arakan.
We hitch a ride to Bangladesh
The guard says, with his fingers crossed behind his back,
“There’s no room at the inn.”
Mama, I’m sure I saw him grin.
She holds me tight. There’s nothing left for us to do.
Looking right, I see a country I refuse to submit to.
Looking left, I see a country I’m not allowed to belong to.
Looking forward, I see Suu Kyi sugar coating our broken bones.
So all we have left to do is float on this river
hoping that a land will allow us to call her our home.
A land that will see Mama and I grow old.
I recently looked into the ethnic cleansing happening in Burma right now. This is my way of spreading the word. Please reblog and spread the word. I’ve copied and pasted some information so you can catch a glimpse of what is happening in Burma.
“Over the past 4 weeks, the Rohingya, a community numbering nearly 1 million in Burma’s Arakan state have been under siege by local Rakhine community also living in Arakan.
The UN have described the Rohingya as ‘the most persecuted community in the world’ and have referenced the Rohingya as the Palestine of Asia. It is reported that the Rohingya have been living in Myanmar from as far back as the 8th Century, yet in 1962, the Burmese military junta began a programme of ethnic cleansing. Starting by denying birth certificates and citizenship to the Rohingya, right now, the community are in a perilous situation where they are being targeted because they are not of the same race and religion of the Buddhist majority Rakhine. Looking darker and closer to the South Asian race as opposed to the more oriental looking majority, and being Muslims as opposed to Buddhist, the Rohingya are being targeted by state sponsored ethnic cleansing.
In recent weeks, villages belonging to the Rohingya have been burnt to the ground, whilst refugees fleeing to other countries have been refused entry left to fend for themselves on board rickety boats on rough seas.
The Myanmerese Government refuse to accept Rohingya as citizens and as such have no rights in a country they call their motherland.
This issue is much larger than a Myanmar only problem, it is fast becoming one of the worst cases of ethnic cleansing alongside the likes of Rwanda, Bosnia and even the holocaust of the Second World War.”
“… The Rohingya have been sidelined to the fringes of society and as far as they are concerned, they believe that Burma is far from reform to democracy as the state ignores the fundamental needs of its ethnic minorities. The Rohingyas are constantly labelled as foreigners, unwelcome Bangladeshis or Muslim terrorists.” (Taken from RestlessBeings website.)
If you have read this poem and want to find out more about the situation in Burma, please visit www.restlessbeings.org. They have direct news coming in from bloggers in Burma.
If you want to take action now, RestlessBeings have started a petition to lobby the British government, which you can find here: http://www.restlessbeings.org/petitions/2-lobbying-the-british-government-ethnic-cleansing-of-rohingya-in-myanmar#signatures
Thank you for taking your time out to read this post. A little can go a long way, maybe?