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Summer Taylor Baruth shared Drama Mama's photo.
at Dec 19, 2014 4:22:25 AM
This is a beautifully written post about Pakistan. Amazing
Timeline Photos
“Ninety-eight, ninety-nine, hundred! Ready or not, here I come!”

That’s what Pakistani kids shout out when they’re playing hide and seek.

“How many marks? Hundred out of hundred. Aray zabardast!”

That’s what Pakistani kids say to each other when they’re comparing Math test scores.

“Fastest hundred from Shahid Afridi. 37 balls main century!”

That’s what Pakistani kids marvel to each other when they’re talking cricket.


That’s less than the number of Pakistani kids dead today.

How do you make sense of something that defies the senses? How do you imagine over a hundred dead kids? How do you see blood stains where there should be ink stains and sweat stains? How do you watch little white uniforms bearing red witness to the life seeping out of the wearers, the dark green sweaters that are part of the winter kit turning even darker?

Violence is not new to us Pakistanis. We are for the most part numbed. We try to get on with our days and thank the Lord above when night comes without incident.

But violence, when it trickles into spaces that even the hardened amongst us consider sacred, is a whole different breed, you see. It becomes evil incarnate. It no longer trickles. It explodes. Like an atomic bomb. In our hearts and in our minds and in our souls. Whether we are left alive or dead afterwards, we are left shattered.

The sad truth is that we’ve become immune to our mosques and our temples and churches being targeted. But schools? No. We refuse to numb ourselves to violence in school.

Because us Pakistanis? We are ALL ABOUT schools. We love our schools. We revere them to the point of a little madness, actually. Our entire childhood is littered with anecdotal schools. We grow up hearing how our dad walked twenty miles to his school every day, (both ways uphill, bare foot probably) because ‘Beta, education is everything.’ We are shown again and again that school is inextricably tied to the unclear notion of success ‘Bara aadmi bunn na hai, haina?’. We are whispered advice about admissions when we are buying diapers for our newborns, “Wait list. Trust me, put her name down now for 2017.” We are subjected to a million television ads every day that prove without a shadow of doubt that a crisp school uniform is the key to all worldly success and maternal happiness.

Schools are sacred. Schools know no politics. Schools know no religion. Anywhere and everywhere in the world.

And our schools in particular?

Our schools are for fighting over elbow space on desks and bum space on wooden benches not gun fighting.

Our schools are for spraying Fanta from your nose when your yaar says something funny about your other yaar, not for spraying bullets.

Our schools are for sitting, sweating under the slowly whirring Royal fan, wondering when the bell will ring, not for sitting, sweating underneath your desk, wondering if you’ll get out alive.

Our schools are for sharpening your pencil quickly so as to not to miss what your Chemistry ma’am is droning on about. They are for taking unnecessary bathroom breaks just so you can get out of Pakistan Studies class. They are for pushing your way to the front of the canteen line so you can get the last bag of chilli chips. They are for whooping and leaping when you hear we won the cricket match, because you know even your strict Math sir will crack a smile at that.

In our schools, whether its searing hot or freezing cold, every morning we stand under the vast, open sky and we sing our national anthem. Actually, we don’t sing it. We belt it out. We let it rip from the very heart of us. Every one of us. Every single day. It never gets old.

One hundred kids won’t be singing Pak Sar Zameen tomorrow. They will soon be part of this zameen, this earth, in a way they shouldn’t have been so heartwrenchingly early.

I hate guns. I hate politics. I hate these hijackers of my faith that claim superiority over me and use my, yes MY, God and my Prophet and my Quran against me.

But I don’t hate this world or this life. Because I believe this world and this life is more good than bad. I see love and beauty all around me. I see it in the soldiers loading seven or eight kids on to their bikes. I see it in the nurses of Lady Reading gently dressing the wounds of the living and lovingly washing the bodies of the dead. I see it in the big boys of Army Public School holding the hands of the little ones and escorting them to safety. I see it in the Indian twitter feed hashtagging that they are with us. I see it in the Facebook statuses and darkened profile pictures of my friends and acquaintances and strangers. I see love pushing back everywhere.

My three year old daughter adores the color pink. Every time she sees it, no matter where, she exclaims joyfully, “For me? For me!” Last week, I was at the beach in the afternoon. As the sun began to set, the sky put on a gorgeous, flamboyant show. Pinks and purples streaked and leapt across the sky in a breathtaking evening dance. When I pointed it out to my daughter, she exclaimed, in her particular high sweet voice, “The sky is so beautiful for me, Mumma? For me!”. I held her in my arms, kissed her head, in the way that us sappy moms do when our kids school us in Life, and said “Yes. Yes, of course it’s for you.” Because she was absolutely right, it was.

There is a beautiful sky above us today. It is for us. There is beauty, in every shade and color, all over our beloved country today and every day. It is for us.

These terrorists, these evil, loathsome, misguided demons, win when we tell ourselves and our children that this world is all darkness. They win the day we stop belting out our anthem. They win when we stop believing with our very core that hum aik hain, hum naik hain. We are one. We are good.

Tomorrow, when you wake up and you want to feel useful, do one hundred acts of naiki. One hundred random acts of kindness for one hundred strangers. Give one hundred rupees to as many people as you can. Light one hundred candles. Recite one hundred verses from the Quran. Spend one hundred seconds in reverent silence. Do whatever you can to announce loudly and proudly to your heart and whoever else wants to hear you that “Pakistan is for me! For me!”

Let our grief, our outrage, our disbelief turn in to action and connection. Let us each behave with the very highest, very best version of ourselves. Let us consider each of these hundred dead children as brightly burning lights, they are not snuffed out, they are lit, bravely, proudly to show us the way out of darkness.

There is a beautiful Christian hymn of which one part is:

“Said the King to the people everywhere
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace people everywhere
Listen to what I say
The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light.”

May these sleeping children pave the way for goodness and light for Pakistan. May the horror of today become the promise of tomorrow. And may in God’s wisdom and mercy we always trust, amen.

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