She Called Me Red: SBS releases the first live documentary on Instagram

Yunas at the Rohingyan Restaurant and cafe in Springvale.

In rough seas crammed into a ramshackle fishing boat with 80 other refugees, Yunus was convinced he was going to die, but the Rohingya refugee who now calls Australia home knew that an even worse fate awaited him if he had stayed in his Myanmar native.

Only a few weeks earlier, the then 21-year-old boy was forced to flee his home and family in the province of Rakhine in northern Myanmar, ahead of government forces, which had already inflicted decades of persecution and bloodshed. repressions.

"The military arrived, the police arrived and they were shooting people, everyone," he told SBS News from his new home in Victoria.

Yunas at a Rohingyan restaurant and coffee shop in Springvale, Melbourne, where the 27-year-old was established.

Chris Hopkins

"My mother told me" you must go, you must leave here ".

Yunus made the challenging trip to Bangladesh first, then to Thailand and Malaysia before making the dangerous trip to Australia, convinced that he was going to die at sea or in the hands of an unsympathetic foreign navy.

"I thought" I'm going to die, I'm going to die on this boat, "said the 27-year-old.

"It was windy, the water was getting to the boat, my God, I thought that was it, I was going to die."

SBS will launch a live documentary for Instagram, which focuses on Yunus' escape from the persecution, his new life in Australia and his family who will remain in the Thangkali refugee camp in Bangladesh on Monday.

The Rohingya have settled in Melbourne, but their heart and mother remain disconsolate in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

The Rohingya have settled in Melbourne, but their heart and mother remain disconsolate in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Chris Hopkins

Created by SBS's online documentary team awarded Walkley, the public can follow Yunus through a series of Instagram publications and videos as he navigates his new home while supporting his family abroad as part of the series She Called Me Red.

The launch of the documentary coincides with the Rohingya language services recently launched by SBS Radio and its objective is to show how technology and social networks play a role in the connection of those fleeing their countries trying to stay connected with their loved ones and their land. native.

A Rohingya Muslim refugee camp in Cox & # 39; s Bazar, southeast of Bangladesh.

A Rohingya Muslim refugee camp in Cox & # 39; s Bazar, southeast of Bangladesh.

News from Kyodo

Social followers will be able to see Yunus's regular updates from Victoria, while his teenage brother and his mother share content, showing their daily life in the Thangkali refugee camp.

"I wanted to create a story to remember what happened in my family and for the Rohingya who suffer in refugee camps in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand," Yunus said of the documentary.

Refugee Rohingya children take shelter under an umbrella during a rainstorm in the Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Refugee Rohingya children take shelter under an umbrella during a rainstorm in the Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh.

AFP

"Sometimes I'm so sad to think that there's no future for my family, but at least they're safe, I'm the lucky one, I came here."

She Called Me Red takes its name from Yunus's childhood in Myanmar, where before being forced to flee, his grandmother nicknamed him "Lalaya" – or red – because of his pale skin that easily burned in the sun.

The United Nations has described the Myanmar offensive in Rakhine as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" directed at the Rohingya people.

The persecution has caused the exodus of approximately 700,000 people, desperate to flee the destruction of their homes, sexual violence and execution since August 2017.

These refugees face uncertain and risky travel at the mercy of smugglers of people in vessels with leaks or dangerous overland journeys. While Bangladesh estimates that it hosts more than one million Rohingyas, such as Yunus's mother and brother, in ramshackle and scattered refugee camps.

The Rohingya refugees gather near the fence in the "no man's land" between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

AFP

"By car, on foot, by boat … later I called and said:" Mom, I'm in the jungle, but I do not know where, "Yunus said about his escape from government forces.

"The smuggler told me it would be three or four days to get to Thailand, it took 12 days."

Across Australia, the Rohingya community is very small, with only about 3,000 people, most of whom live in Melbourne.

Yunus, who works at a recycling plant in Mornington, Victoria, and is prominent in that community, even supervises a youth soccer team.

Due to the conditions of the visa, she is trying to move to the Victoria region, where she will have to look for new work and housing, but she feels optimistic about the future.

Yunas now lives in Victoria, after his ordeal.

Yunas now lives in Victoria, after his ordeal.

Chris Hopkins

"I love it here," he said.

You can follow the Yunus trip on Instagram through @ SBS.online.documentaries and @SBS_Australia from Monday, August 13.

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