“Markaz E Yaqeen, Shaad Baad.”
I have waited all day long, I have tried. I have tried so hard to put all my thoughts on paper and yet I can’t verbalize the pain that I feel, the pain that I and many others like myself feel. And truth of the situation is, you can’t. You can’t muster up enough courage to write, you can’t formulate your sentences when your mind is clouded with greyness of the grief that your heart feels. I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for past twenty four hours and my fingers shake as they make contact with the keys on the keyboard. I do not know where to begin. There’s so much that I have to say and yet I feel like I have lost my ability to form coherent sentences. My brain wages its own war as it screams at me to shout, to let it all out. And I will try to do just that.
“Ammi, aaj mera school janey ka dil nai kar raha. Please, soney dein aj (I don’t feel like going to school today, mum. Please, let me sleep in.)”
“No, beta (son), you have to go to school. Warna barey admi kese bano gey? (Otherwise how will you become successful?). Chalo, uth jao (Come on,get up!)!”
16th December 2014. The day many refer to as Black Day.
The dawn of the sixteenth of December 2014 dawned with an unusual chill to it. The air felt different almost as if it knew of the impending doom. Students all around Pakistan were shaken awake by their cheerful mothers. Their mothers then fed and dressed them and sent them off to school. Little did the mothers in Peshawar know that they were feeding and dressing their babies for the last time. Little did they know that the morning tantrums they heard that day will be the last ones they’ll ever hear. Little did they know that the flowers in their gardens will be crushed before even getting the chance to blossom to their fullest. Little did they know that the purposes of their lives will be shot dead that very day. Little did they know that the brightness of their days will be stolen forever that very day. Little did they know.
Those students that walked into their beloved school that day, their hearts filled with passion and their minds set on the achievement of a bright future. Embedded in their hearts were hopes and dreams. When they walked in, chattering happily with their friends, they hadn’t the idea that merely two hours later they’ll be no more. They hadn’t the slightest of ideas that they’ll be robbed of their futures, dreams and plans and most importantly, their right to live. They didn’t know.
No one knew. But when the clocks around Pakistan struck ten thirty am, news channels began showing red alerts and that’s how it started. That was the beginning of the horrendous cowardice shown by the people who call themselves Muslims. They call themselves Muslims and yet they picked fights with school going kids, who they knew, couldn’t fight back as they were unarmed. Those sick bastards shot child after child ruthlessly. They shot dreams after dreams. They shot the future of Pakistan. They murdered the future of Pakistan. They took away from Pakistan its very basis. What had once been a place that illuminated young minds, that gave young butterflies the wings to fly was drenched in blood by two pm that horrific day. Calling it horrific would be an understatement. It was hell. It was HELL. It was as if the final day had come.
Every second that slowly trickled by that day felt like an eternity, an eternity filled with hopelessness and despair and blood. An eternity filled with burnt remains of innocent promises, stupid pranks, friendships and memories.
I am not one of those people that show a lot of emotions. I tend to suppress them but I remember sitting in front of the television that day and not being able to hold back the tears. I remember how each time they read out the number of casualties and then the number of students and teachers still stuck inside the school building, my heart would sink. I felt helpless. Being in another country does that to you at times like 16th December. I wanted to fly to Pakistan and console every student that survived that day. I wanted to hold them and let them know that it would all be okay. I wanted to take their pain away. I wanted to hug the mothers and tell them that they haven’t lost their boys. I wanted to tell them what they were hearing and seeing on tv wasn’t real. I wanted nothing more than to wipe away their tears. Most of you know how painful it is to see your own mother cry. Multiply that pain with the pain you’ll feel watching a gazillion mothers cry. You know how fathers are supposed to be our rocks and how they are supposed to be strong and all? The fathers that day lost their right arms. The fathers that day lost all the hard work they had put into bringing up such masterpieces. The fathers that day lost everything. I remember not being able to sleep for days on end.
150 souls found their place up in the heavens that day. 150 brutally murdered souls. We salute them for the sacrifice they made for this country. I promise that I’ll avenge their blood. Not by brutality, however, because then I would be no different than those sick bastards, but by the power of words.
“Salaam uss pe jo is zameen pe mita hei”
But what of those students that survived, huh? We pay our respects to the martyrs and send our condolences to their families but what of those students that relive that hell every day? Let’s honestly ask ourselves, have we paid any attention to the survivors? The answer is “no.”
If we were to walk a mile in their shoes only then we’d realize the pain they have to endure to merely get through to the other side of the day every day! Imagine having to relive the screams, the cries, the pain and the bloodshed every day. Imagine having to get out of bed every morning with the weight of the demons on your shoulders heavier than the previous night’s. Imagine having to go back to the same school and study in the same classrooms that only days ago were painted red with the blood of your friends. Imagine lying in bed late at night trying to block out the voices that echoed that day, imagine trying to block out the ear piercing sounds of bombs and gunfire. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night because of a nightmare which you know wasn’t just a nightmare but a flashback of how your world was taken away from you. IMAGINE turning around to tell something to your best friend and not having them there only to realize that they’re no more. IMAGINE HAVING TO LIVE WITH THAT. This is what post-traumatic stress disorder does to people. It rips their insides to shreds and it makes life impossible to live. Breathing in and out becomes a task as difficult as becoming a doctor.
We can’t possibly know what those students feel. And then our sick excuse of a society has the nerve to tell these people to ‘Move on already because you are fine! You survived!” Tell me how you have the audacity to say that to someone who has been to hell and back in the course of past twelve months.
Truth is, the massacre has left a mark so painful on these students that they may never get over it. You can’t forget something of this sort that easily. How will you ever get over the fact that your hands were drenched in blood and not just blood but the blood of your best friend? How will you ever move on from the fact that you had to lower your best friend, your better half into his grave? How will you ever muster up enough courage to look past THAT? One can’t be that strong. These students, these survivors, these ghazis have the right to grieve for as long as they want because they lived it. What this society can do, however, is console them. Console them in every way possible.
Let’s vow today that we will not let history ever repeat itself as it did this time. Let’s vow today to avenge the bloodshed from 16TH December 1971, The Fall Of Dhaka to 16th December 2014, Attack On APS with the power of pen. Let’s vow to bring justice to our motherland and to make it a better place.
“Tumhara khoon hun na is liye acha laraa hun mein
Bata aaya hun dushman ko k uss se tou bara hun mein”
-To Aakif Azeem and my unsung heroes from APS