Monday, September 24, 2018 | ePaper

Rohingyas face difficult Ramzan in camps

  • Print
AFP  :
The 12-year-old Rohingya refugee dreamed of Ramzan back in his own village-fish to break the day's fast, gifts from his family and relaxing beneath the trees before evening prayers at the mosque.
But for M.D. Hashim and others like him living in squalor in Bangladesh, the start of the Islamic holy month now serves as a bitter reminder of everything they have lost since being driven from Myanmar in an army crackdown. "Here, we can't afford gifts and don't have good food... because this is not our country," Hashim told AFP on a barren hillside in Cox's Bazar district.
The United Nations has described the army purge against the persecuted minority as ethnic cleansing, and thousands of Rohingya Muslims were believed to have been slaughtered in the pogrom that began last August.
Nearly 700,000 Rohingya fled the violence for Bangladesh, where they squat in bamboo and tarpaulin shacks on dirt slopes. While they acknowledge that they were lucky to escape, now, with food and money scarce and temperatures soaring, Ramzan looms as a source of anxiety for many Rohingya.
Sitting inside a plastic tent on a blazing day, Hashim fondly recalled the simple pleasures that made Ramzan the most exciting time of year in his village.
Each night, friends and family would break the fast together with fish and meat dishes cooked just once a year for the Islamic    
holy month. New clothes would be offered and sprinkled with traditional perfumes called "attar" to mark the holiday, he said. "We can't do the same here, because we don't have money. We don't have our own land. We can't earn money because we are not allowed," Hashim said.
The Rohingya are barred from working and more than two dozen military checkpoints restrict them from leaving what has grown into the world's largest refugee camp.
They rely on charities for everything from food and medicine to clothing and housing materials. Hashim must walk over an hour in the searing heat to reach the nearest market.
He said many young Rohingya were also anxious about giving up food and water amid the scorching temperatures in the camp. In the past, Hashim relished joining his friends for the annual act of devotion, as they were able to rest in the cool shade of trees between their chores.
"We cannot fast here like we did back in Burma (Myanmar), because it's too hot. There are no trees," he told AFP. "The tarpaulin is hot, and it gets hotter when the sun is beating down. It will be very difficult."
Even so, Hashim is one of the fortunate ones, able to celebrate with his family. Other Rohingya children will spend Ramzan not just away from home, but alone. Thousands crossed into Bangladesh without parents or family, either separated in the chaos or orphaned by the violence and disease that defined the mass exodus from Myanmar. "Unfortunately, it will be their first Ramzan to remember for the wrong reasons," Roberta Businaro from Save the Children told AFP in Cox's Bazar.
"They will only have dirt and mud and dust to play with. They will be spending a Ramzan away from their home, from their parents and from their friends."

More News For this Category

64 arrested in Kushtia

Staff Reporter :Police arrested around 64 persons from different upazilas of Kushtia district in two days from Saturday to Sunday morning.Twenty-six Molotov cocktails, five petrol bombs, 85 pieces of

Minorities fear attacks ahead of elections

Staff Reporter :Minority communities have been apprehending escalation of violence and attacks on them with the national elections getting nearer.The community leaders said that around 380 members of the

World leaders at UN look for progress on N Korea, brace for Trump

AFP, United Nations :North Korea and Iran will dominate this week's gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, where President Donald Trump will be firmly in the spotlight

€11m dutch help for capacity bldg in Bangladesh

UNB, Dhaka :The Netherlands government has earmarked Euro 11 million for capacity building in Bangladesh for scholarships and other capacity building assistances during the next five years (2018-2022).Nuffic, the

Maldives strongman Yameen seeks second term amid fears of rigging

Maldives strongman Yameen seeks second term amid fears of rigging

AFP :President Abdulla Yameen cast his ballot Sunday in a controversial election in the Maldives just hours after police raided the opposition's campaign headquarters, fuelling fears the vote has

Pro-AL teachers demand resignation of JU VC

UNB, Savar :A faction of pro-Awami League teachers of Jahangirnagar University (JU) demanded the resignation of Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Farzana Islam claiming that she had taken many 'illegal

Hearing on coalmine case against Khaleda, others Oct 25

Court Correspondent :The Special Judge Court-2 of Dhaka yesterday fixed October 25 for hearing on charge framing in Barapukuria Coalmine graft case filed against BNP Chief Khaleda Zia and

Dr Mosharraf indicted in wealth amassing case

Court Correspondent :BNP leader Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain was indicted in a case filed for amassing wealth worth Tk 9.10 crore and hiding information of his wealth. Mosharraf Hossain,

4 more killed in road crashes

Staff Reporter :At least four more persons were killed and several others injured in separate road crashes across the country on Sunday.In Dhaka, a young man was killed when

BNP slams Quader for 'using public transport in electioneering'

UNB, Dhaka :BNP on Sunday accused Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader of illegally conducting their party's election campaign using government's vehicles."Their train tour turned unsuccessful in the face