Making my name.

Do not look at me like that.
I do not need your pity.
I do not need to be the cause of
your fleeting guilt,
as you scroll past my face,
to ease your pain.

Do not look at me like that.
As if my skin,
my scars,
my ‘manners’ are on display.
I’ve had enough
of spits and curses.
I do not need to see your uneasiness.

I know.
My body is an ugly reality,
but I will tell you,
this flesh, blood, bones,
they are all real.

Do not look at me like that.
Do not throw at me
your notes and dollars,
just so you could spend off your conscience.

Hatred has been knocking
on my doors.
I resisted it well.

So listen to me.
Hear this quivering voice.
I have a story,
just like you,
to tell.


Many a times, I feel, when we hear about or see other people suffering elsewhere, we merely ‘feel sad’ for them, for that one moment. Our feelings tend to translate to sympathy. But I don’t think that will be what the people want.
Oppressed individuals want their voices to be heard and their injustice to be told.
Recently, I went to an poetry recital event called ‘Recite for Rohingya’. The whole aim of it is to give voice to the voiceless. And it really stuck me then. Previously, there was a little skepticism in me, to be honest, towards events raising awareness on the issue. I was unsure as to if that will truly help the people, and not just adding meaning to my life. But during the event, I really felt that I am understanding their plight more, and translating the sympathy in me to be more of empathy.

There was this lady, a poet, who is an English teacher to Syrian and Palestinian refugees. She told us that she met this Rohingya, who told her how they are treated like ‘animals’ there. Indeed, they are not treated like humans, their existence is literally unrecognised. And, from her sharing, I can truly see the desire of the Rohingya to let others know of the injustice that they are experiencing. To that, I think if we can, with all our media-tech and all, help them share their story and understand it, it is, in a way, helping them re-establish their human identity. And perhaps, in a long-run, this will translate to pressure to the related organisations to do something constructive about it.

This concept does not just apply to Rohingyas of course.
There is a growing ’empathy gap’ is our society nowadays. Sometimes, I guess, we forget that behind every statistics, are human lives, who experiences all the feelings we experience- love, desire for acceptance, anger, grief, injustice etc.

This is a website that I think provides a rather good understanding to the plight of the Rohingyas: http://thediplomat.com/2014/10/interview-the-stateless-rohingya/ .

Thank you 🙂

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