The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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When I interviewed my dad, he shared with me one of the most significant memories from his past: the civil war. This event has been discussed frequently with my family, but he told me the journey he took with his family when it started.

Shopon woke up one day with his mom frantically telling him different things that he didn’t quite understand. She gave him, his older brother, and his older sister a few backpacks with emergency items, like food, water, a flashlight, and a few other things in case they needed it on their way to their family friend’s house.

Shopon’s mom said that if anything were to happen, and if they were separated, to go to his hide at her other friends house, a family friend they all knew well. He didn’t really understand why, but he knew to take it seriously. She said dangerous people could come and to be very quiet and behave as they were going to his friends family’s house.

As they were driving, Shopon could see the violence in the streets, and was extremely scared as he clung to his mother’s lap. He saw violent images that he couldn’t fully comprehend or see, yelling and screaming. He had never seen his parent’s so distressed before, but it seemed the whole city of Dhaka was, too. The area of East Pakistan was now in a civil war. The people in streets fighting to free themselves from West Pakistan, the west having taken advantage of the East’s resources for decades. They were fighting for independence, but it was too unsafe to stay in Dhaka.

They were patiently waiting for his father to return with plans on leaving in the middle of distress, as only Shopon could comprehend. His father finally came home and told them to get in the car quickly; everyone only had a few belongings.

They all got into the car, and everyone was extremely quiet, but he could sense the worry in everyone. As they were driving, Shopon could see the violence in the streets, and was extremely scared as he clung to his mother’s lap. He saw violent images that he couldn’t fully comprehend or see, yelling and screaming. He saw his brother on the other side of Shopon’s mother, looking out into the streets, distressed.

After driving past the violent areas, they finally reached their destination, a very quiet part, heavily secured, and gated house. The house was not too far away from Dhaka, just on the outskirts, away from the rebellion. They got out and were welcomed by close family friends of Shopon, so Shopon felt fine after seeing these people. They quickly got inside, and put their belongings down.

Shopon’s dad talked to his friend, the father of his family and the owner of the house, in a very serious tone and they were conversating for a long time. Shopon couldn’t quite make out the entire conversation, but his friend had asked how that side of Dhaka was, and his father responded in a sad and defeated way. Shopon and his family were to stay their until the civil unrest stopped.

The Civil War

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