Blog post by Era Robbani, a Research Associate at the Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University
I am writing to you from a place of peace and safety. Although your food, water and electricity are running out, I hope you are doing alright. I hope you still have a roof over your head, even if it’s shredding apart. They say they gave 24 hours to evacuate more than one million people? People with disabilities, people with medical emergencies, people with no way to commute, elders who can’t even stand, children who can’t even sit! Millions of hungry people, millions of thirsty people, millions of people who never in their lives got the favour of luck, or saw peace. Anyway, yesterday was my first day at a new job. My new colleagues were being extra nice to me. I was welcomed with a bouquet and gifts. The office is beautifully decorated, it’s on the 9th floor and I can see the city line from my window. The sky is calm, the air is clear, the buildings stand tall; still.
How will your life be in the future years? Just in case you survive, will you be a rebel? Challenging the status-quo, building resistance, and leading a freedom movement will not be easy when none of your friends are alive to support you. Will you be a dreamer? Being an optimist, embracing opportunities if they ever arise will be challenging. Building dreams on ashes will be very tough as you have to conquer the trauma of an unfair war all by yourself, alone. Will you be a refugee? Living without a home, social security, and insurance will be a hopeless struggle for survival. What’s your plan after the war is over?
Next year, I am thinking of applying to Oxford and Cambridge for my higher studies. All my friends have started doing PhDs; I’ve heard it’s hard. They are fighting to cope with the study pressure, while you fight to live another day. Is the comparison fair to you? Anyway, I am sceptical about a 4 year degree. Maybe I will go for a master’s instead. I have options. I have choices, still.
What are you doing these days? I have started re-watching my favourite sitcom. One of the cast members died recently. Although the sitcom had many inappropriate jokes, I took it lightly. We can’t be serious all the time, right? Like, we are not about the situation in the Middle East, or in the case of dying newborn children. Not everyone has to be interested in geopolitics. We take entertainment seriously; we love comedians because they make us laugh. The death of a celebrity makes us sad while we skip the news of what’s happening in the real world. We are blessed to be crying over someone we do not know—someone who isn’t a relative or has a family tie with us; still.
We’re the same person living through the same time on the same globe, surrounded by the same sky. We both look through the same sunlight, peaking through the same air, reaching different lands. Is it where your suffering comes from? Is it where my comfort comes from? The land?
I see a mere regret in your land—the regret of letting people crack its surface in order to break apart hopes. But there’s still hope in your story. A story I cannot imagine myself in. A hope I cannot fully relate to just because I have a land; I live in a place of peace and safety. I have access to food, water, and electricity. I have a job and the skyscrapers in front of me still stand high. I have my own people around me instead of war tanks, I have ambitions, dreams, and wishes to fulfil. I can still revisit my favourite sitcoms, I can still write a letter. Because I have a land, I have prayers. And I pray, someday you have a land too. You have hope too.
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