The last call
“The situation here has worsened. I don't know whether I will be able to come back home,” are the last few words Rokeya Begum could hear over the phone from her only son.
She then heard a loud bang. “Hello, hello, hello,” she said, trying to get a response from Milon Hossain, 32, on the other side in war-torn Libya, but the connection got cut.
So many things ran through her mind, which she knew would make her life upside down but with hope she kept on dialing her son's cellphone number for quite a while in vain.
The next morning on Wednesday, her worst fears came true. She received the news of Milon's death by phone from a relative working in Malaysia. Then came the confirmation from the Bangladesh Embassy in Tripoli. Tears were streaming down her face as she was narrating her last conversation with her son, holding his photo against her chest when The Daily Star correspondent met her at her residence in Mathabhanga village of Moheshpur upazila, Jhenidah.
Milon along with another Bangladeshi Moshiur, a resident of Gopalganj, was killed in Libya's capital Tripoli on Tuesday when a missile struck them.
Rokeya and her husband Fazlul Haque, 65, a day labourer, sent their son out to Libya for construction work one and a half years ago, spending Tk 4 lakh.
Milon was married and left behind a four-year-old daughter. The fate of his wife and daughter had become uncertain, said 55-year-old Rokeya.
All her dreams and hopes were shattered with the demise of her son, she said, adding that the family had to pay back the loan taken out for sending Milon abroad but they had no one whom they could rely upon for money or any help now.
“My son was telling me how the situation in Libya was getting worse day by day,” Rokeya said amid sobs, adding that she could hardly imagine her son's concern would come true.
“I cannot eat and sleep thinking of my son. He could not complete his sentence. I could not believe that death would part him from me… he would never talk to me again.”
While Rokeya will have to live with the haunting memory of her son's untimely death, Moshiur's mother in Gopalganj is struggling to deal with her loss.
Moshiur went to Libya only three and a half months back and the family members counted on his income there to bring solvency in the family.
But before he could send money to them, the news of his death reached them.
The families of Milon and Moshiur are now waiting for the bodies of their loved ones.
The wait may be rather long as Ahsan Kibria Siddique, first secretary (labour) at the Bangladesh Embassy in Tripoli, told The Daily Star that the bodies could not be sent back soon since Libyan airports were now under security threats.