How a bulldozer destroyed our life
I looked at the pile of our belongings at the front of our house in the rain and I sighed quietly. I looked around the house to find if there is anything that I need to pack. It seems like I have packed almost everything, so we need to leave the house. No, this is not just a house for me. This is my home. I’ve lived here since I was 10 years old. I remember my family cleaned the land and built our house with its own hands. I have lived here for over 20 years, but now the government is calling us invaders. They are out there; ready to destroy our one and only shelter. “Mom, where do we live if they destroy our house,” my eldest daughter asks me. I just look at her face and look away without giving an answer. Not that I don’t have the answer. I just don’t know where else we can go and live after they destroy our house.
I put all the belongings on the trolley. It is still raining. I ask my mom, my eldest daughter and my 3 years old son to come out of the house to move away from the house. We see a big crowd of Pyin Ma Pin Mingalardon industry zone residents and we joined them. After a while, the area is full of police officers, security guards, workers, and big bulldozers. The residents are shouting, crying, begging, and doing whatever they can to save their houses. I know it is pointless, I know they will never listen to our voices.
“If you didn’t want us to live here since day 1, why didn’t you ask us to move 20 years ago! Now we have nowhere to go and you call us invaders. How can you guys do this to us,” a woman shouted at the police and workers who are working on destroying the houses. I heard that the one who is responsible for this destruction is the crony company called U Paing. The company has been destroying lots of the shelters and lives of poor people. I wonder how can people try to get benefit by destroying other people lives. One of the men shouted, “Our own citizens are bullying us.” Yes, it is so true. I am pretty sure that those destroyers know that we have nowhere else to go if they take away our houses. How can they be so cruel to let all these people homeless in this terrible weather? I have my 73 years old mother and 2 children who sit in the rain with not enough cover to protect them. Some of us have infant babies. My daughter could not go to school today because of this incident. This is a nightmare that we can never be woken up.
“Bang,” I heard a loud noise and at the same time someone from the crowd screams bitterly. They are starting the destruction. The bulldozer swings and hits one house. I could not even look at it and my eyes get onto my home, which is not very far away from the first house they are destroying. Tears start falling on my face, mixing with the rain. My home, our only home that we built together more than 20 years ago, is now going to be destroyed. “Mom it is going close to our house,” the scream of my daughter wakes me up from my thoughts. Yes, their bulldozer is now moving toward my home. Now, it swings and hits it, I feel like my heart is hit. Our home is now gone. I cannot pretend to be strong anymore and I start to cry like a child on my mom’s shoulder. “Where should we live now?” my mother asks me softly. I looked at her face and replied brokenly, “I don’t know mom.”
There were more than 500 houses in Pyin Ma Pin Mingalardon Industry zone and all those houses were destroyed on January 26th, 2016. Now thousands of people are on the street in the rain. All of the houses were built on a land owned by the government; therefore all houses were removed. But the residents feel this is not fair because they have been living in these houses for over 20 years. More importantly, they have nowhere else to go. Now in Myanmar, there are thousands of homeless. How many more people will become homeless? How many more lives will be destroyed before they stop this cruelty? What does it take them to help us rather than crushing us? Don’t they care for anybody or is it only us at Pyin Ma Pin Mingalardon?
Story related by Pan Pwint for Mingalapar