A Rohingya Refugee

by  Mayyu Ali
A shot from from a hill near Kukupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh of refugees streaming in and out of the camp
View of the Kukupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. / PHOTO: Russell Watkins / UK Department of International Development

“I can be killed here in Bangladesh.
My body can earn a proper funeral.
Sending me back to Myanmar is immature,
Not even the assurance of a funeral there!”

Triggering suicidal ideas in Cox’s Bazaar
While my sisters are trafficked and my brothers kidnapped.
Every refugee wishes to go back home,
Why do I need to deny myself?

Despite the longest-running mind movie,
I still shout for justice.
All I want is to live again in my own home,
A safe life, to enjoy my rights.

The world I knew has gone,
My people were killed and displaced.
It’s the fourth time I have fled Bangladesh,
My life is spent just trying to survive.

I always ask myself during repatriation:
“Is this the last time?”
“Could I be fortunate enough to escape again?”

This time it is different. My heart is asking me.

Editorial note: Read Mayyu’s interview with James Byrne.

Mayyu Ali is a young Rohingya poet, writer, and humanitarian activist who runs the Youth Empowerment Centre in the refugee camp at Cox’s Bazaar, where approximately one million Rohingya refugees are displaced. Mayyu has written many poems and articles, mostly for rohingyablogger.com. His articles have also featured in Al Jazeera, Dhaka Tribune, and on CNN and the Financial Times. Recently he published The Blossom, including some of his early poems, distributed around the camps. His poems have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation (in a special feature on Rohingya poetry) as well as the Best English and Light of English magazines in Myanmar. His poems will appear in a pamphlet of Rohingya poetry and folk songs published by Arc Publications in July 2019.