It has overwhelmed me to see how many have read the story of Masuda, and who have contacted me about it, or written comments on Facebook, Twitter and my blog. It has made me feel like in this world there is hope. You have given me hope.
The story I shared about Masuda was the saddest story I have ever heard. I sat with her, three Muslim men and my Rohingya friend and translator, Nina (not her real name), and listened to her story. When she was done sharing, I did not know what to do or what to say. What exactly do you say to a person who has lost 29 relatives? What do you say to a person who not lost her whole family, but who saw them get brutally murdered? What do you say to a person who has no home any more, nothing to live for, no reason to get up in the morning?
I did not have anything to say to her. I could only cry with her. I could only tell her that I can’t understand what she is going through. I could embrace her. I could look her in the eyes and tell her to not give up although it is tempting. But I will never be able to give her her family back.
It’s hard not to feel phony. One has to wonder if one’s presence is worth anything at all. But I have to believe that what we do does matter. If not, then what are we doing here?
In Norway we are now, finally, experiencing early spring. Everything is still brown, grey or black around us. The snow has melted, but it is too soon to see green grass. But in the middle of all the dead leaves and grass, some brave, small flowers have the courage to stick their heads up above the ground. Two kinds of flowers come first, the yellow Coltsfoot that we call Hestehov, and the blue Anemones that we call Blåveis. They shine like specks of color in the brown landscape.
The other day I was talking to my friend, and my neighbor. She said this: If the Blåveis had bloomed in the middle of summer, we may not even have noticed it.
I agreed. In the summer there are wild-flowers galore. There are so many colors that we all want to become painters to capture the beauty. There are flowers so bright, and in so many different shapes and sizes, and with the most tempting fragrances. Compared to many of those flowers, and to the plethora of colors we may not think the timid Blåveis is much to look at. But now we do. It gives us the hope that a new season is on the way. It shows us that after a long, dark and cold winter, there is a new time coming.
When she said that I thought that perhaps for Masuda I was like the Blåveis in the early spring. And I thought that you too may be that one little flower in a field of brown and dry grass to many who have lived through a long, dark and unmerciful winter.