“Peshawar school attacked: 40 children dead”:
On the first day in my naive attempt to escape the horror of these words, I kept my self locked away in my room – just like those kids who locked themselves inside their class rooms, in desperate attempt to escape the bullets, only to find themselves shot at point blank range later- I saw no pictures, I stayed in my room, not wanting to listen to the news, but my attention kept getting back to the voice of news anchor.
“80 children dead, firing still being heard”:
These words kept ringing in my head long after my brain could not process anything and long after I could not take-in any details.
“100 children dead, half of the school cleared, some children still held as hostages”:
Then again came that shocked and angry voice of someone who has lost all hope, ringing with disbelief. This time I rushed out, only to see everyone in our living room trying to hold back tears and listening to the news anchor, who could not conjure-up new vocabulary to describe the tears and wailings of parents waiting outside the school, desperate to hear about their kids. ‘Breaking news’ this time only fell like darkness, each time making the hopelessness graver. I felt sorry for him; I could feel he had lost all words. I had lost words too.
“Above 130 dead, many injured, school cleared”:
Words now started to compile like dead bodies, bleeding without making a sound. Tears, that fell inwards into our hollow hearts to stay there forever.
On the first night I tried my best to evade sleep. I was afraid that once it overtakes me, all horrible dreams will let loose, and I will see vivid images of dead children and hear their cries loud and clear. That long cold night turned into day: a day that dodged all hope. Things were not new. To all those who thought that this would be another day, woke up to attending an inexplicable pain stabbing their hearts with the same intensity again. How could this be a new day??… When the dead were still in their coffins, waiting to be buried, and mothers were still giving one last kiss on their child’s cold blue foreheads.
Anger that day could not drown the sadness. Condemnations were futile. Words still made no sense. With every one still engulfed by tears, I took to expressing my grief in a vigil protest. “Protest” This word sounded hollow.
Carrying a placard, my sister wore that green blazer- part of her school uniform- for the vigil protest. ‘We Shall Rise and Shine Again’, the placard said. How? I asked myself, will those 132 dead children rise again?
My little brother started lighting up candles, light that could not sooth me, light that could not console me in any way. They say its shows symbolic message. This time candle lights fell short of telling the tale, of spreading hope and of giving the message of solidarity. Those innumerable candle lights failed miserably, darkness and smoke overtook them, and the melting wax took it up to itself to send the message: of hope ebbing away. Vigil protest also lost its words and its symbol that day.
They say never forget Peshawar tragedy;
Never forget that pain became expressionless on 16th of December, 2014. Wailing turned soundless and only blood remained true to its colors, only blood could speak in its harrowing language. A language that we all recognized, but not no one could understand.
Never forget and never forgive our collective conscience which needed 140 children’s life to rise from the dead. Our conscience which draws every single blood drop to stay alive for few days before it slips into unconsciousness again. It halfheartedly condemns terrorism, condemns extremism and the reel goes on and on, on loop. Recorded words, angry expression, and teary eyes…all on reel… all on loop.
So let us never forget 12.16.14, let us all shiver at the thought of having to see dried blood on the floor of another school, reel of another tragedy played on loop, condemnation and word failing us again…. let us NOT FORGET this massacre ever!