Rahman Masud, Journalist
“Considering what I’ve witnessed during the violence in June 2012, it’s a bonus that I’ve returned with my family unhurt.”
A cursed angel meets a commoner
It was mid-August in 2012. On the slope of a hill in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar, lay Kutupalong unregistered camp. It was home to about 18000 to 20000 Rohingyas. This camp was much more than what one would think of a camp. Polythene shacks overlapped across each other like a slum. Nurul Amin and his wife were desperately trying to shield the floor of their shack from rain water.
In 1992, when he was eight-years old, Nurul Amin arrived as a refugee in Bangladesh from Maungdaw of Myanmar. With him came his parents and six siblings. At the age of 40, Amin himself was the father of ten children. His family lived in the 8-feet by 12-feet shack.
When I introduced myself as a journalist, Amin’s wife, Mariam pulled a veil over her head and went into the house. Amin, his hand covered in mud and soil, came forward. We started chatting. Amin said that he worked at the local partner organization of a mobile phone company in secret. His monthly salary was Tk4000 (USD 50). Unregistered refugees do not receive any national or foreign aid. Amin gets to work since he is not registered. Registered refugees don’t even have the opportunity of employment. I asked, “Is this amount enough to support such a big family?” A smile of relief lit up his face. To my surprise, Amin thanked god again and again for the little he had.
He said that he went back to Myanmar at the initiative of Bangladesh government and with assistance from UNHCR. “Considering what I’ve witnessed during the violence in June 2012, it’s a bonus that I’ve returned with my family unhurt. Tk4000 helps me to look after my family. What else can a person ask from Allah!”
As a student of psychology and having met many people for over a decade of my journalism career, I could tell that Nurul Amin wasn’t making it up. When I asked why he has taken so many children, Amin recited a line from the Holy Quran which can be roughly interpreted as, “He who has created them will take care of them. A mortal can’t intervene in this.” For the moment, I was defeated by Nurul Amin’s innocence and his indomitable struggle for happiness. I offered him a cigarette, but he shyly said that he doesn’t smoke. I lighted my cigarette, thanked him and went back to the car. I felt quite unhappy having lost to Nurul Amin’s resilience to fight for life.
While taking puffs, I remembered a Russian story that I’d read in school. It was about God sending a cursed angel to earth so he can observe how human beings lived. I felt like that cursed angel and sometimes still feel that way when I am alone. Whenever I become helpless living this materialistic, consumerist life, I remember Nurul Amin. How happy he is compared to many of us who have so much more! Nurul Amin is my inspiration.
By Rahman Masud
Special Correspondent, Banglanews24.com