Sailing from hell to heaven: despair for an ivory tower

Rubayat Ahsan

Rubayat Ahsan

The boat smashed into the rock, shattered into pieces, dozens of asylum seekers are dead along with bodies of children and women in the rough sea of Christmas island just two weeks before the Christmas event. Screaming of the rest, who are not dead yet, with pieces of floating debris echoing back and forth between heaven and earth for begging a last chance to have nice life in Australia. These asylum seekers had come from the hells (it seems by feeling desperation of these people) of Iraq and Iran. Earlier we observed hundreds of ethnic Tamil packed up in a ship along with their women and children begged  ‘last chance’ for a nice life in Canada. They sailed from the hell (apparently appeared from their despair) of Sri Lanka. The term ‘boat people’ is already the subject of research in south and south-east Asian context where unskilled poor people from Bangladesh, Burma, and so on took the dangerous journey through rough sea crossing the shore of Thailand and Indonesia towards the ‘heaven’ with limited food and health facility. Some of them were detained in Thailand caught by sea patrol, some of them died on board and some of them returned home empty hand only having experience half way to the heaven.

The questions are What is wrong in these hells on the face of earth? and what does drive people towards the heaven? For example, everybody knows that Iraq is a war ravaged country, which prove ‘despair’ of asylum seeker. Though US has finished its mission there driven by moron father-son foreign policy, reconstruction and state building process really have not got any shape. Every other day someone blast himself or herself in the name of holy God causing bloody tragedy leaving some dead around. The picture is same in Afghanistan. Therefore, desperation among citizens of these nations to look for a heaven is justified. Situation in Iran is not that bad. The country is not war-torn and not even under civil unrest. The country is not, in fact, financially poor. Proposed biblical war is till date a myth. Probably some kind of suffocation either political or religious could have chased these people on the wooden boat to find land of eternal peace.

Ethnic Tamil and their revolutionary freedom fighters had been cleansed by Sri Lanka government that might have led some groups of people to get on boat. Some traveled towards heaven in the east and some towards west. Burma is a well-known place where generals and their relatives should have all the pleasures in life and the Suu Kyi’s followers as well as ethnic minorities will live in perpetual poverty and suppression. Thus, they join others on boat searching for a heaven. India, one of the emerging economy having two richest man out of top ten billionaire in the world, is becoming job market for US citizens. Probably economic boom is counted on the basis of indicators like GDP, national income, reserves and so on that  do not count the suicidal farmers, job less dalits, or mass people living below poverty line. Neither ten thousand garment factories alone use the millions of unskilled labors in Bangladesh nor the landless farmers helplessly seeking space in urban slum can see light at the end of the tunnel. Desperate migration of jobless people, refugees and  asylum seekers are justified for right to livelihood – right to work – right to have adequate house – right to educate their children – right to health, in fact, for having minimum quality of life that their home countries fail to give them for long what they are entitled to.

Sailing from hell to heaven is driven by the hope to have such minimum quality life with dignity. Bigger picture is that not only these poor and unskilled people, out of poverty-stricken or war ravaged nations, desperately seeking heaven but also the educated as well as skilled people are in despair for similar mission towards heaven. Tire 1 visa in UK, permanent resident status in Australia and citizenship in Canada are the legal ways around where these skilled people from the hell migrate with around five to ten thousand dollars cash for year-round survival money to find a suitable work in the heaven. However, in the end boats slam into rock, if alive boat people get some rest in the off shore detention camp. Eternal rest in the detention camp sometime ends in last breath and finally migrate to the real heaven along with their women and children riding on a boat of celestial light in the sea of colorful universe. Let them rest in peace!

(Photo: xinhua/AFP)

4 Responses to “Sailing from hell to heaven: despair for an ivory tower”

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    khondkar Abdus Saleque

    Australia has very good system of dealing with Refugees.If that route is corrctly followed desrving refugees can take safe shelter there.Despite that human traders treat helpless human beings as Guinea Pigs.It is almost impossible to illegally enter Australia. The last accident happened in a very difficult Australian Coast where it is almost impossble to land.Wonder how it escaped the eagle eyes of ever alert coast gurads and sea patrol.
    We hope Australian authority with the assistance of Interpol and other agencies will soon track down mischief mongers. The families of victims should also be compensated by Humanatrian agencies.

  2. Author Image


    Wonderfully written post…Can we and our country ever sail from hell to heaven…? Is it really be possible?….If it could be then it would be like a dream come true but the really is that this will never be happens….

  3. Author Image

    Nurul Islam

    It is a great and very exciting news for all Bangladeshi’s in the country as well as in abroad. I wish your glorious success.

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