Thursday, May 21, 2020

Under the mask

Stories and News No. 1201
 
Once upon a time there was Cox’s Bazar, a city on the coast of southern Bangladesh, a fishing port, a tourist town and a seaside resort, whose beach is known to be among the most pristine in the world.
Under the aegis of the second city of the state, Chittagong – now only administratively, Cox's Bazar was a land of conquest for many, from Tripuri to the Rakhine’s kings, up to foreign invaders, like Portuguese and British. The name is due to the last of such robberies, disguised by the culprits themselves and complicit history in the shape of a harmless commercial enterprise: the market of Captain Hiram Cox, in charge of managing the colonial possession.
As you can see, there is much more to discover under the mask and beyond. And we are only at the beginning. In fact, making a leap in time here we are to the city hidden in the stolen one, divided between the Kutupalong and Nayapara camps, both reserved to Rohingya refugees.
About a million people. Nearly a million lives. Little less than 1000 times 1000 between women and men, elderly, young people and children too. But what usually remains in mind, we are talking about yet another among the many legalized prisons for unwanted citizens.
Look at the border that delimits this institutionalized abomination:



Look with me at the wall that divides the outside from the inside; the lawfulness from the offense; underestimated freedom from the most unjust imprisonment. I don't what you think, but immediately after a lot of questions with no apparent answer deflagrate in my head. Among the many: who really endangers the others, between them and us?



It seems that this crazy wall resembles the masks we are wearing in these difficult days to protect ourselves from the virus.
There is something strange about not being able to read the lips of the speaker expressing thoughts and feelings; it is a common and humanly normal habit, regardless of whether hearing works perfectly or not.
There is something wrong with not being able to look at the special mimicry, between the uniqueness of a spontaneous smile and the annoyance of a grimace of disgust, the profile of a winked kiss and an irreverent tongue to minimize the tension.
Under the mask and beyond we are losing a world of information of a great preciousness. But it is necessary, because there is a virus that kills around, and this should be enough.



But what is the disease that on the other hand we fear in those we keep closed in a fence as if they were ferocious and bloody beasts?




Now, if this were not enough to make us reflect on the madness in it, the climate does its part, in addition to Coronavirus itself, to make everything grotesque in an extraordinary way.
Not even a week ago, the first cases of Covid-19 infection were detected in the infernal camp mentioned above, while today we saw that both Bangladesh and part of India have been hit by Cyclone Amphan, the most violent one of the past twenty years. Wherever the tornado has passed it has left destruction and chaos. Twenty died, many are missing and millions are displaced around, as it has happened before. The inhabitants of this land have lived together since long ago with the curse of being the object of attention of these plagues.
One of the most tragic aspects, however, given that the cyclone's action has not yet ended, concerns the risk that prisoners are currently facing in the refugee camp.
The danger is real to them, but it's everywhere now. The virus inside and the cyclone outside, and they both don't care about walls and borders.
Under the mask and beyond, even outside of it, for them the end could come anyway, and the unjust prison sentence becomes a death one, further highlighting the inhumanity of places like these.
Forgive me, but I have the clear impression that over time nature is doing everything to show us how wrong we are with each other...

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