While every day is another day away from home for refugees in Cox's Bazar, there are unique and unusual creativity and seeds planted during life in exile.
An Anthology with poetry created by 20 refugees in Cox's Bazar has been collected and published by DRC in Bangladesh with support from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO).
Read here two poems from the Anthology 'Rohingya Dreams' written by inhabitants in the world's largest refugee camp complex, Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, hosting more than 840,000 people (UN Joint Response Plan 2020) from neighbouring Myanmar.
Don’t answer on behalf of me a thousand times
Grant me self-confidence just once
Don’t chide me wrong and right a thousand times
Notify me its dissimilarity just once
Don’t sustain my burden all the time
Let me depend on myself just once
Don’t protect me a thousand times
Teach me self-defence just once
Don’t assume me weak seeing my soft skin a thousand times
Realize my strength
I conceived you once
In this poem, ‘Me’ refers to a woman. The poetess depicts the different opinions of women. It reflects a quest to encourage women’s self-confidence and self-defence.
On the bleak hills with no shades
Huts of refugees are between winds and rains
Sometimes the sun’s heat is extreme
Sometimes it causes floods with heavy rains
Shivering with icy coldness that freezes blood in the veins
Harrowingly experiencing all kinds of seasonal rough pains
All age groups, young, old, male and female
Keeping aside our shame,
We have to go to the food distribution centre in a rush
And there, we have to jostle to stand in a queue as beggars
We have to beg rations to fill a few inches of this stomach.
Fellow human beings inhumanely killed us
Forcibly drove us out of our mother land
So we have to survive by seeking refuge into the other’s land
We have to pass our days
By taking asylum in the confined camps
On the back of other’s land like a burden
As an outcast and that is our refugee life.
Being Rohingya is a misfortune or a fault?
Our future seems to be bleak
While our way back home is uncertain
We no longer want to carry and maintain
The title of the most persecuted community
We really want to live
And with social values
Like other fellow human beings.
Translated by Swe Rohingya