“Most days of the year are unremarkable. They begin, and they end, with no lasting memories made in between. Most days have no impact on the course of a life.”
– Narrator, 500 Days of Summer
Monday was unremarkable. It began, and it ended, with no lasting memories made in between. Tuesday, I woke up to the tragic news of the Peshawar school attack, which claimed the lives of 132 innocent children at the hands of seven Taliban cowards. Since then I have experienced many emotions and moods: disbelief, confusion, grief, denial. Today, one of these has settled and will guide my reaction in every tomorrow: anger.
I am angry. Because I am the proud uncle of a darling baby nephew whom I love more than life itself, whom I would do anything and sacrifice everything for, whom I consider my own son. I can’t and won’t bring myself to finish where you see this thought going.
I am angry. Because I refuse to accept a reality in which innocent children are made the pawns of an ugly game of chess played by adults in which there will never be a winner, subject to taunting and laughter as their murderers approached them with certain death.
I am angry. Because #SandyHook and #Peshawar were 2 years and 2 days apart and it seems the calendar is slowly becoming a series of memorials for global human tragedy, every single day a commemoration of some preventable senseless loss of human life.
I am angry. Because there are those who politicize tragedy and callously appropriate and sully our individual and collective space of grieving with their tactless, misplaced conspiratorial foreign policy rhetoric and recycled talking points which serve no purpose.
I am angry. Because there are those who compare tragedy, insult our human faculties and diminish the validity of our suffering through some insidious, transparent agenda.
I am angry. Because I don’t want to hear about blowback and drones and Zarb-e-Azb and Waziristan and convenient sloganeering telling me what I already know because you are pontificating instead of praying for bodies still warm, unbathed and unburied.
I am angry. Because my scripture warned me of a day of definite judgment, “when the murdered child shall be asked [by God] for what crime she was killed?” (Qur’an 81:8-9)
I am angry. Because my Prophets, upon them peace, taught me to “speak good or remain silent” and it is hard to hold my tongue in the face of insensitive discourse.
I am angry. Because my watan, my motherland, my parents’ birthplace to whence I have not yet returned, my Pakistan, still beckons me lovingly into her warm bosom bearing the promise of a better tomorrow, and who can tolerate his mother’s abuse?
I am angry. Because I now know better than to expect others beyond myself to change.
I am angry. Because from time to time even I, a petulant sinner, question divine wisdom.
I am angry. Because scores of families and dreams and spirits were irrevocably broken.
I am angry. Because the cynic inside suspects vengeance for this incident might very well happen tomorrow and reduce even more innocent civilians to worthless collateral.
I am angry. Because I suspect I might forget how to feel and that terrifies me most of all.
I am angry. Because words bring me no solace nor do they bring the dead back to life.
I am angry. Because nothing motivates like anger and it is now time to strike fear in the hearts of the cowards who despise knowledge and flee from the shadow of an educated child by founding and empowering schools to stand firm against ignorance and terror.
Editor’s Note: Farooq Zafar is founder and CEO of Perennial Millennial and a member of 141Schools (www.141schools.org) whose mission is to help build 141 schools in Pakistan – one in the name of each life lost in the terrorist attack on schoolchildren in Pakistan on December 16, 2014. The views expressed here are his own.