We are looking for essay writers who will help promote the awareness of refugee rights in Korea. NANCEN wants to let the voice of refugees heard as they want to be heard in Korea society. We wish Koreans could come to understand that refugees are not to be feared or pitied. If you are interested in this project, please contact to firstname.lastname@example.org, Ku.
Hold on Pain Ends
I am from Jammu & Kashmir. Jammu & Kashmir is a disputed territory which is occupied by India and Pakistan. Kashmir is one of the most heavily militarized regions of the world. We have been struggling for the last 70 years for freedom and independence from both India and Pakistan. I was born in a family with a strong political background. I started my political career in 2000, when we were struggling for then liberation of Jammu & Kashmir from occupation by India and Pakistan. I rebelled against ignorance, exploitation, oppression, social injustice, instability, and the slavery of the Kashmiri nation by India and Pakistan. Our main goal is Kashmir’s complete freedom and independence. I’m an active member of JKNAP (the Jammu & Kashmir National Awami Party). I was city president of JKNAP. I was elected as city president in 2008, so since that time my role and activities for my country’s freedom and independence have become more prominent and active. As a city president, I was responsible for everything that took place under our party flag. I was also an organizer of the All Parties Nationalist Alliance (APNA). I was organizing party meetings, protests against the government in support of basic rights for the public, party conferences, and protests against Pakistani and Indian forces for their illegal occupation and presence in Jammu & Kashmir. The United Nations (UN) Resolution dated 13 Aug 1947, which was passed by consensus, states that “India and Pakistan both will withdraw their armies from Kashmir and Kashmiris have the right of self-determination.” It also states that Kashmiris will have freedom to choose whether “they want to stay independent, or they want to stay with India or Pakistan”. But for the last 70 years, Kashmiris have been denied this basic right. We are struggling for our identity; even in 2017, the 21st century, we don’t know who we are, whether we are Kashimiri, Pakistani or Indian. If I say that we are not considered as humans yet that is quite justified, because in this world every human has a nationality, and their own identity. But Kashmiris don’t have that, and because of that we are struggling and I hope soon we will be considered as humans in this so-called democratic and social world, and I hope that we will be identified as Kashimirs. Kashmir is called heaven on Earth because of its natural beauty but these brutal Pakistani and Indian forces converted it into a valley of death and fear; I say now it’s became a graveyard. Every second of every day innocent Kashmiris are tortured, killed, kidnapped, women raped by these Indian AND Pakistani brutal and butchering military forces. And those who raise their voice for Kashmiri nations’ basic rights and for their freedom, they are persecuted, tortured, killed, threatened, and forced to flee from Kashmir. I’m an example of their actions and human rights violations against Kashmiri people. During 2013 one of our very important and prominent nationalist figures was murdered by Pakistani military agencies (ISI). ISI is like the American CIA. ISI murdered our chairman of the All Parties Nationalist Alliance (APNA). And made his murder a mystery. We started protests against the Pakistani army who was responsible for his murder, we were asking for justice but instead of filing a case against ISI, the police filed cases against us. He was from the same district where I was an organizer of APNA and city president of JKNAP, so I organized big rallies and shutter-down protests against the government. Every day we were protesting peacefully. But ISI started threatening me. I had already been under their surveillance for a long time and was receiving threats, and also was arrested several times. But after this incident the police fabricated cases against me and issued a warrant for my arrest; I was on their hit list. There was one way for me to survive or hide from army. So I decided to flee from Kashmir; in this situation, if I stayed there I would be killed or put into prison for the rest of my life.
ⓒ the refguee art project
So I entered in Afghanistan by crossing a border. It was a fearful journey. Every day and every single second for almost one month I was not sure whether I would be able to escape across the Pakistani-Afghan border safely or not. After walking through tough and rough mountains finally I entered Afghanistan. During that one month I experienced thirst, hunger, pain, fear and suffering. It was the most ruthless and restless journey of my life, I will never forget that. But I never give up, and never lose hope. God created us and sent us to this world for struggle. The meanings of struggle can be different for different people, but we all are passengers on the same boat. We should struggle with a positive mind. So now I was in Afghanistan and there was another challenge for me; to move from there and reach a safe and stable country where I can stay safe and continue my struggle for my nation’s freedom. So I decided to go to New Zealand. But for me to get a New Zealand visa was nearly impossible. So with the help of one person I got a fake passport and I left from Afghanistan and arrived in Thailand. From Thailand I was heading to New Zealand via Korea. According to my plan I would fly from Korea to New Zealand after staying 2 weeks, and I was trying to fly to New Zealand. However, I was arrested at Incheon Airport and put into prison (so-called detention center). I ran for safety but here I was in the detention center, new country, new people, new trail, where I did not know anything. I have no one in this nation, all alone and in prison. But I was satisfied that at least I am alive and safe. Also I had hope that one day sooner or later I will be free. Absolutely I was under a lot of stress not knowing what will happen to me tomorrow. In the detention center, I applied for asylum in Korea. My first plan was that I would reach New Zealand and apply for asylum but now that was out of question and I had no choice except to apply for refugee status in Korea. From the detention center one guy gave me the cell number of NANCEN. NANCEN was always kind to me and helped me a lot. I stayed in the detention center for one year and seven months. It was another challenge for me. Life is just another name for challenges, right? So I accepted that challenge and from there another struggle begins. The struggle was the same but the axis was different. Before my struggle was for my nation but now it was in the detention center. My struggle was for my personal freedom. And I was thinking about how things change. Yesterday I was struggling for my nation and today I am struggling for my freedom, all alone. Anyway, after one year and seven months I started a hunger strike; after 57 days of hunger strike, with the help NANCEN I got temporarily released and I got my freedom. For me nothing is more important then freedom. May all of you agree with me. “God sent his one and only son Jesus Christ into this world and revealed himself as a human to set us free.” Thus, when I was in the detention center I was also struggling for the rights of detainees to a better environment and facilities inside the detention center. For that I also did a hunger strike for 11 days, for better food and living conditions. I will continue the struggle for others who are refugees and in detainees in detention centers. When your mind is positive and your cause is to help and support others, God always provides opportunities. We all are humans and we are not perfect. But we should not live a selfish life. There is only one difference between humans and animals. Humans live for others and animals live for themselves. We should always step forward and be ready to do something good for others. We are not here in this world permanently. There are no guarantees. So what’s the best we can make from this life? To do something for others? Or to just live a selfish life? Your forefathers sacrificed their life for the freedom of this country and for you. All of you are sitting here freely and enjoying life. Everything is stable and well managed. Do you think it just happened by accident? Your parents and patriots and heroes of your nation struggled and sacrificed for you. They did their duty very well. Now it is your turn to make this nation and society more stable, more prosperous, with beter welfare. It is your duty. I am not exempted from this duty. I am also part of it. Every night a person should think about what they have done for others that day, for their nation, for their society, for their community. At least one little action and move, we have to make. You know even when you are walking in a street and you see a stone in the middle of the street you should put it on the side and make the way clear. Maybe a blind person is coming after you, and if you don’t remove the stone from the way, it could hurt that blind person. Apparently it is a small thing. But this action can save someone from trouble. So “life is all about struggle” according to my knowledge. Keep struggling and never lose hope. Everything has an end. Hope is the key to success, and struggle with positive mindset is its axis. HOPE. H – Hold O – On P – Pain E – Ends “Hold on Pain Ends.”