My nation holds a sea of screams…
The world came to a halt on December 16, 2014 when terrorists unfolded the greatest tragedy in the history of Pakistan and shook the world with their savagely yet cowardly act.
They gunned down fragile young bodies, set ablaze educators and carried out suicide bombings to slaughter the sons and daughters of our land, 144 in number. An act of revenge and truly a reflection of the extremist mindset.
The world was shocked by the gravity of the plot, the inhuman execution of innocent defenseless children aged between 6 and 18, and the senseless targeting of our youth, dominantly sons of army men.
The gruesome images of these shattered souls clustered one on top of the other, their uniforms drenched in blood and their books and shoes scattered around the campus hurtfully narrated the panic and fear of those distressing moments. An auditorium submerged in their drowning screams and dying cries.
As we followed the news, the faces of these juvenile victims came across as familiar. Their eyes alike, their smiles identical and their appearance matching. Each one of them could have been one of ours. We all had a 6 year old noisily running around the house, a 10 year old riding a bike, a 13 year old buying a play station game or a 16 year old sharing a selfie. We couldn’t disconnect. We couldn’t watch it all from a distance. We were all in it. We were all affected.
Leaders across the world labeled it as a ‘heinous crime’, an ‘unprecedented act of terrorism’ and a ‘tragic and senseless’ operation. People in different countries joined in the pain lighting candles and holding slogans of “Enough”, and “Stop Killing the Innocent”. People in Pakistan from all walks of life expressed their grief and anger in the form of you tube videos, and connected through the social media to communicate their feelings of deep sorrow and loss.
Post cards to support hope and peace were sent by different schools within Pakistan and from abroad to create an air of solidarity in our loss and to encourage the children who returned to the school on January 12th, 2015.
A year has gone by and Pakistan continues to battle terrorism and Pakistanis are often proudly referred to as a resilient nation. A true statement. However, I believe this barbaric episode opened our eyes to many harsh realities as a nation.
Somewhere our resilience has falsely glorified our strength or our resolve to remain unaffected and has also pushed us to become more immune to pain and suffering. We feel we can endure any tribulation. We can restore all damage and we hold the capacity to rebuild. But what we endured on that fateful day, can never be restored, rebuild or retained. The murder of our children isn’t a thing to endure. It isn’t an agony to let go of, or a death call that we should escape. We cannot accept this.
Those helpless screams, those searching eyes, those frightened arms. They must never be forgotten.
“Your tears they hold no meaning now,
A graveyard filled with agony,
Let just a drop of reason through,
For peace to find its way to you…
We go insane with so much pain,
We stand in queues to claim our names,
For many days we weep and cry,
And then Alas! The tears go dry…
Yet everyday there’s more to say,
There’s more to tell and more to hear,
The empty eyes, the helpless cries,
The justice but within them dies…
The cursing stare is close to break,
Some questions from the tearing heart,
My nation holds a sea of screams,
The vicious waves of drowning dreams…”
By Shama Mir