By Harshajith Harindran, IInd B.A Programme
(In the month of May, thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled from their homelands due to civil strife. When no country showed mercy to take them in, they stayed in the sea for weeks, without food or sanitation. Many died. Many cried for help at the sight of passing ships. Yet, the humanity of which our civilization seems to boast about never
As no news came of their acceptance by any country, reflections on the virtues of empathy on which the basis of species is built upon came in. The look in the eyes of the exiles seemed to be speaking of an ebbing sense of the same. While we harp about the exponential rate of progress that humans are achieving as a species, it once more substantiates how we have failed to envision humanity above anthropogenic barriers of race and religion. And that becomes a very, very serious issue, when their eyes speak of lost hope. That look takes away the hope of collective survival in the coming centuries. It speaks a lot more than what is apparent. It prophecies death and doomsday. We are probably not going to perish in fire or spine chilling cold, but in the crude selfish evil of shrinking to our own worlds.)
Sometimes, even as Death,
With its nauseating stench
I wonder about them.
How would it be,
To live on land-Hard, solid land,
And walk among the woods?
Freely, as a man
Of your own country?
Sometimes, even when
Life, with all its brutalities
And ugliness, still tempt us,
I wonder how it’d be for them
To wander among the cities-
Cities full of people – all kinds of them –
With a conviction that you are as safe
As a baby in its mothers embrace?
Sometimes, as I see a ship
Near the far horizon,
I wonder if they even wonder
That how it’d be for us?
How would it be for us,
To be in some fishing boat
In some unknown waters
Sans food, water and identity?
How would it be,
To be forced from your own country,
To flee, while it is torn apart,
Only because of your sect?
Both, I didn’t choose-I had no choice.
Do they ever think, how would it be,
To stay in a stagnant boat,
For seven humid hot days
Surrounded by shit, urine and sweat stench?
To see people cry for each other
And fight for food at the same time?
To see those who loved you
And whom you loved to be a part of you,
Drift away dead,
In the slow sea current?
To be exiled from one country
And to be barred from others?
To deprive us even land,
On which we could stand and shout -if not survive?
To sway in a stranded boat
And beg for food from passing ships?
And when there are none, or we get none,
To drink one’s own urine?
I smell the sea reek,
Boil and slime
But I swear I’ve
Killed albatross none.
Like tortured convicts’,
Our faces are void of emotions.
It shows none- not even fear.
All these people have is that distant look
By which they search for ships.
That hopeless look of hope
Men, women and children die here in hunger and thirst
We have nowhere to go
We have no place to live
All we do is to cry for help that never comes.
Since I see no shimmer
In these dark waters
I lie down slowly staring the sky.
I see stars,
So many solemn stars,
Floating in the stark black cosmic sea.
As I close my eyes,
My lips smile mockingly at me.
How can they wonder, you fool,
It’s us, not them.