• Monday, Sep 16, 2019
  • Last Update : 12:52 am

At the Rohingya camp, Eid is about finding shelter and fighting back tears

  • Published at 03:59 pm September 2nd, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:54 pm September 2nd, 2017

Around 6:30am Saturday morning, several hundred Rohingya refugees contemplated their situation. They were without a home, without land, without belongings and stuck in a foreign land. The Rohingya at the Kutupalong refugee camp have nothing left to sacrifice for Eid-ul-Azha. What sacrifice can be asked of the people who have been driven from their lands? On this day, all they want is to find shelter inside the camp. A 75-year-old Rohinya man spent three days climbing the hills of Myanmar and Bangladesh to reach the camp.  For the first time in his life, he had no roof over his head on Eid. For someone who owned 70 acres of land and 40 cattle in a village in the Maungdaw township and sacrificed 10 cattle during Eid last year, Yusuf Nabi marvels at how his stars have led him to this place. Over Friday and Saturday, around 27,000 Rohingya fled into Bangladesh – the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh now number over 100,000. “I did not bring a thing with me,” says Yusuf. “Nothing. They (Myanmar military) burned down the entire village. Imagine what it took for an old man like me to walk three days.” Yusuf says even though he is uncertain about his future, he feels safe here in Bangladesh. “There is a war going on between the Myanmar military and Al-Yaqeen,” he explained. “Al-Yaqeen threw hand-made bombs at the military and then the military came into the village and gunned down the villagers.” Most of the new arrivals are now taking shelter at the Kutupalong refugee camp. [arve url="https://youtu.be/pi7JDe6wY60" /] The registered refugees were preparing to say their prayers and sacrifice their cattle, while the new arrivals were either looking for shelter and food, or begging for money. Their clothes were mud-stained, as they walked three to seven days along a hilly terrain, while the clothes of those who arrived in the morning were still wet. Several Eid jamats were organised by the Rohingya community inside the camp. In one mosque, people could be seen wailing for peace in Arakan and praying for the departed souls of their fellow Rohingya killed by the Myanmar security forces. Some of them called their relatives still living in Myanmar’s Bucidaung and Rathedaung areas. News from the other side was unsurprisingly bad. The Rohingyas on that side were not allowed to say their Eid prayers, and those who showed up at mosques were reportedly sent back forcefully. A man and his nephew at the camp held each other and shed tears for the five family members they lost in the violence. Thousands of the new arrivals set themselves up on both sides of the road inside the Kutupalong registered refugee camp. Moulvi Hanif, a Rohingya Imam who came here after the October violence, said: “We the Rohingya cannot celebrate Eid, cannot feel the joy of Eid, do not get to enjoy meat, cannot manage money to buy new dresses for our children. We do not even meet our relatives to exchange Eid greetings.”