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  • Writer's pictureAhtaram Shin

Like a sunset: Rohingya youth hopes for a beautiful ending to the hardship of their community

Updated: May 3

2022 © Ro Mon Sur Ali

Amidst life's difficulties in the refugee camp, this scene of beauty of a sunset over the camp reminds the photographer, Ro Mon Sur Ali, that even in our toughest moments, there's a radiant end to each day. It inspires him the hope that a Rohingya future, too, may be as beautiful as this golden hour of the day.


"This sunset is proof that endings can sometimes be beautiful. Likewise, we Rohingya, hope one day for a beautiful ending to our hardship." – Ro Mon Sur said.

Watch the video below to hear Ro Mon Sur Ali talking about his sunset photo over the refugee camp.



Ro Mon Sur Ali where he grew up with no freedom or full human rights. He likes to share the story of how he escaped the military genocide and fled to Bangladesh, where he now lives in the Cox's Bazar refugee camp.


"I saw lakhs of people were escaping from the east-south-east to west-north-west to flee to Bangladesh. With my people, I started fleeing too." – he said.

In August 2017, the military started operations against the Rohingya people in different villages in the Arakan State. They were shooting and killing whom they found in front. They burnt Rohingya people inside the houses by firing launchers and setting fire and were shooting those trying to escape. At least 288 villages were burned to ashes, and thousands of Rohingya people were made homeless and hopeless. The sky was filled with smoke and the ground with blood.


"For us, it was a danger over the danger." – he explained.

In such a time, The Rohingya people were leaping up and down with deaths on the battle ground like a fish leaps on the land. Ro Mon Sur Ali and his family had to flee, It took them five days to reach the Naf River, hiding in the forests to avoid the military, and crossing the Naf River where some of his family members drowned. Finally, they reached the Bangladesh border.

 


"I'm interested in photography and poetry since I was a student. These allow me to tell the stories of my people in many different ways so people around the world can see how the Rohingya are living everyday in the world largest refugee camp in Bangladesh." – Mon Sur said.

Ro Mon Sur loves photography and In his free time, he composes Rohingya poems and stories, many of which have been published in The Art Garden Rohingya, an online platform for Rohingya poets. In 2022, he won a prize at the 2022 Rohingya Photo Competition, and most recently he won a poetry translation prize during the Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day Art Contest (photo below).



 

This feature is part of The Rohingya Experience, an exhibition in St Helier, Island of Jersey during July 2024, developed by Rohingyatographer, a collective of Rohingya refugee photographers in partnership with Jersey Overseas Aid.

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