Today, Tomorrow, Forever Being Rohingya

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       October 15, 2022


Author  Ali Whitelock (editor)

Distributor:      WestWords
ISBN:                 978-0-6453523-0-6
Publisher:         WestWords
Release Date:   2022  


Born of a project launched by Westwords in 2021 the beautiful, heartbreaking anthology full of sadness, joy and hope Today, Tomorrow, Forever Being Rohingya has been created by four young people, all immigrants, all having faced racism, hardship, dispossession from their homeland, family and friends.

Coming to a country which while safe from many of the horrors already faced in their young lives, also became a strange and frightening place; a place they needed to confront, find a way to live and be accepted and build a life not just for themselves but also for their families. Something that has not always been easy. Today, Tomorrow, Forever Being Rohingya tells their and many others stories.

Pan Sandar Myint, Khin Maung Thein, (Abdullah) Maung Maung Hla and AS Junike share their journey through the healing words of their poetry, setting in words and pictures the depth of feelings as they tell their stories and those of their people as they struggle for the right to live their lives freely and without boundaries.

Each verse or collection is accompanied by photographs taken by Abdullah as he documented the lives of Rohingya refugees in the Camp, not only capturing what was now and then, but also offering hope for the future as, through his sensitive and skillful photography he has created a timeless picture of the strength of the human spirit.

Each of the young men and women have in simple, spare phrases and words captured not just their feelings but the spirit of their people, their love of country, religion and culture; their hope and fear as they rebuild their lives in a country far from their homeland.

Westwords with the guidance of poet Ali Whitelock have woven together two art forms to create a timeless, beautiful and healing work that reaches out, offering answers to unasked questions, slices of a life that is different, which people can find confrontational and in doing so have structured a beautiful, permanent offering of great emotional and physical beauty.

Today, Tomorrow, Forever Being Rohingya; crossing borders, confronting change, exercising resilience, filled with love.