Sabrina Sultana blogs from Bangladesh and she loves to write. She is one of the millions of bloggers in this world who express themselves using internet. But Sabrina is not like others; she blogs with her heart.
You might wonder, how can that be true! The reality is that her hands are not active as ours, she can only strike the keys with her two functioning fingers. But her heart is always beating to express herself through writing.
If you want to know about Sabrina and her blog, then let us start the Journey from Chittagong, the port city of Bangladesh where Sabrina was born and currently resides.
From her childhood Sabrina loved to write. An article in The Daily Azadi, a local newspaper of Chittagong reveals that Sabrina’s first article was published in 1998 in the Daily Azadi’s popular feature page. The title of that story was “dream never comes true”. The girl used to swing her long braid and enliven the house with her naughty deeds. But she started to became disabled from seven years when a disease called “muscular dystrophy” attacked her. Gradually this disease destroyed the movement power of her muscles.
She started to face new challenges as she eventually lost her mobility. She left school and was forced to confine herself within the four corners of a room. But her mind was still awake. When internet arrived Sabrina saw an opportunity to look beyond the wall and she started writing again. You may ask, when her muscles cannot work properly, how can she write? Blogger Md. Jakir hosain explains in a post titled name “let Sabrina be an example” :
“A blogger needs sufficient physical fitness along with the inflow of stream of thoughts. The power of the eyes is also a key. Combined with the strength of the hand and the dancing power of the finger, these Human tools create words on the keyboard. Sabrina feels pain when she uses her fingers. I asked her: “what problems do you face while writing?” She answered humbly: “not much. But after typing a while pain engulfs the writing fingers. Sometimes I cannot bear the pain. Then I stop for a while, then start again. I still feel the pain but I get used to it and I don’t stop. For example, an idea resides in my head but it may take 15 days to publish the story”. I look at my healthy fingers and ask her; “Isn’t it more convenient that you speak, and someone else writes?” She answers: “it’s better for me if I do this simple task myself”.
She speaks for those who are deprived of their rights to lead a normal life. She expresses concern about the rights for the disabled and raises her voice for those who may not express their pains to the world. Sabrina also writes about her own feelings with simple but magical words.
In her “profile”, she describes herself:
I have many demands! So many needs. But I am deprived of them. Wherever I stroll I see darkness. There are restrictions everywhere; social restrictions, restrictions by the state, restrictions placed by nature. I am unable to move with all these restrictions. My hopes and expectations, and also my love are crying in silence.
Do you know, how I am doing? Do you want to know? I am well. I try to be positive always, in this cruel world, only because I have to be well to live. Don’t worry I am living my days and nights with a smile in my face. But do you know that inside this positive mind of mine the real “me” is dying?
Although being a member I am an alien in the society. I have no aim in life, no enlightened future. There is no place for me to go and be in peace for a while. All my rights are negated with a strong word ‘no’. In school, collage and university, there is a word ‘no’. In cultural and social functions, there’s the word ‘no’. In an entertainment center or in the playing field, ‘no’ is visible all the time. To be in a public transport, they say ‘no’. Do you not feel that we are tired of hearing about all these “no’s? Have you ever tried to realize, you could be one of us or one of your loved ones could be like us? Being a handicapped in Bangladesh is a curse! If (you say) this is not true then as a citizen of this country why I am deprived of my rights?
She wrote an open letter to the prime minister of Bangladesh in one of her blog posts urging:
Please do something for us so that the disabled people like us can dream again. They have the courage to live with their limited abilities. I don’t want any disabled person to go through the troubles I face everyday.
In 2009, with the help of some friends, Sabrina initiated a campaign for physically disabled people. Now this organization has its own wetibe and is working for the disabled people in Bangladesh and their rights.
I can strongly believe now…..our dream country Bangladesh will one day be livable for the disabled people.
*written by Bijoy
The water gypsies of Bangladesh is a nomadic and marginalized group called the Bedey community that only set foot on dry lands when they need to earn some money or replenish their supplies. I consider them the exotic healers of Bangladesh because the women are considered witches as traditional healers and men snake charmers with potions that cure snake venom.
As Bangladesh is an extremely poor country, majority of the people could not afford medicine; they would trun to the water gypisies for their exotic cures to cure such ailments as back pains, migraines, or cavaties. When these women enter the marketplace, groups will form around them out of curioisty as the women start chanting and offering magical potions and cure. To earn a living, the men are more daring in their sales pitch, guiding a hissing snake into their mouth and letting the snake bite them; then they would immediately rub their snake venom cure onto the bite to prove to spectators the effectiveness of their cures and to show that they have not died from the snake bites.
I find it strange that the Blagladeshi people would trust the medicine of the Bedey community, and yet view this group with suspicion, depriving them of the country’s economic development, education, or acceptance into mainstream community.