Abdullah keeps track of each time he has nearly died. When asked to introduce himself, he begins to list each brush with death with the same practised air of one listing the experiences on their resume. A Rohingya refugee living in Cox’s Bazar for the past two years, Abdullah’s problems began long before his family was forced out of Myanmar.
The first time he nearly died was in 2013, he says, when his sister took ill and had to be brought from their village in Myanmar to a nearby hospital. Military men poured into the medical complex and, upon spotting Abdullah in the hallway, began to beat him mercilessly. Their angry blows ceased only when a nurse came to his aid, telling the soldiers that they should not kill him yet – the hospital did not want to handle the clean up. She then smuggled Abdullah and his family to safety.