Beirut blast: Bangladeshi dreams engulfed in flames | The Daily Star
11:09 PM, August 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:35 PM, August 05, 2020

Beirut blast: Bangladeshi dreams engulfed in flames

Four.

That is the current number of Bangladeshi nationals who died in the Beirut explosion last night.

Beyond that number, however, lies the story of migrant workers who leave Bangladesh to seek better fortune elsewhere.

Twenty-five year olds Mehdi Hassan Bhuiyan Rony and Mizanur Rahman are two such workers. The only way their tales differ though is that these two met a tragic end.  

MEHDI HASSAN BHUIYAN RONY (25)

Mehdi Hassan Bhuiyan Rony had left for Lebanon immediately after finishing high school six years ago.

The eldest among three brothers and one sister, Rony, at the age of 19, decided to take responsibility of the entire family. His family took loans to send him off to Lebanon.

The now 25-year-old Rony was planning to return home in March this year.

He was eager to see his mother once again. But when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Rony found himself stranded.

Four months later, Rony is dead. The 25-year-old happened to be near the area of the blast in Lebanon's capital Beirut.

His father Tajul Islam was the first to know in the family. He received the news of the death from one of Rony's friends this morning.

Speaking to our Brahmanbaria correspondent during a visit to Rony's house, Tajul said Rony had been upset as he could not send money back home amid the pandemic.

While Tajul is coming to terms with the grim reality, Rony's mother Inara Begum is still in disbelief. She had fainted several times while crying over the loss of her son.

"Nothing has happened to my son. He will come back again. I want to see him again," she kept saying.

Rony, the sole breadwinner of the family, was a resident of Bhadeswara village in Machihata union of Brahmanbaria Sadar upazila.

He had left for Lebanon in 2014 in search of work.

"We had to take loans to send Rony to Lebanon. We have not even repaid those," Tajul said.

Neighbours say the family owns a tin house on four decimals of land. Rony was supposed to be their way towards a better life.

MIZANUR RAHMAN (25)

Mizanur Rahman had been raised amid constant financial hardship.

A resident of Kalkini upazila of Madaripur, he made the journey to Libya three years ago to put an end to his family's financial worries.

From there, he found a job at a hotel in Lebanon's capital Beirut, where yesterday's explosion took his life.

Mizanur, son of Jahangir Khan of Hatgram village under Shiker Mangal union of the Kalkini upazila, was the eldest among three brothers and one sister.

Bazlur Rahman, maternal uncle of Mizanur, said his nephew had spoken to his mother and wife around 9:00pm yesterday, hours before the blast. 

Shamim Hawlader, a relative, who also works in Lebanon, informed the victim's father Jahangir Khan of his son's death.

The death also meant the end of a dream.

"My son went to Lebanon with a dream of ending our financial woes. But fate betrayed him. An explosion took him and his dreams away," his father Jahangir told our Faridpur correspondent.

He also urged the government to arrange for Mizanur's body to be returned to the country.

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