Anas Mia is a 10-year-old boy. He is also an orphan who had to witness the murder of his parents at the hands of the Myanmar army when they were on the cusp of fleeing to Bangladesh. The Rohingya child escaped, but not before he was shot in the nose, arm and leg. The shock of the moment forced him to pass out, which is what saved him from being reunited with his family.
With the other Rohingya refugees, Anas found his way to a refugee camp in Ukhiya in Bangladesh. Over the 10 days he has been in the camp, he has found his grandparents, and learned that his three siblings were also shot dead by the army. He is being treated by the Medecins Sans Frontieres and is recovering from his bullet wounds.
Anas met Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday.
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For a 10-year-old whose country has all but declared war on an entire ethnic group, meeting the head of government of the country which is sheltering as many people as the country can was beyond his imagination.
The prime minister and the Rohingya refugee – two orphans who could not be any more different – shared a moment of solemn empathy at Kutupalong camp on Tuesday.
After meeting PM Hasina, Anas’s mood changed. His demeanour grew livelier. His enthusiasm shone through as he said: “I have met the king of Bangladesh and she inquired about me. I never imagined I would speak to a king. I told her I was shot in the nose, arm and leg. I told her about suffering in the jungles on an empty stomach.
“When I told her about losing my parents, she said she lost her parents too. She promised to try her level best to send us back to our homes in Myanmar.”