By Shruti Trivedi
Edited by Madhavi Roy, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
The Peshawar school attack: An aftermath
The school has an indescribably significant default place in our lives; a haven we send our children to, with an assured sense of relief that they’ll return better educated each day. We have universally accepted the role it’s meant to play in our lives, and never once have been dubious about the acceptance of this fact. Until now. When over 130 children were openly shot at, at a school, massacred mercilessly, their only fault being that they had none.
The dawn that Peshawar woke up to on December 16 was no ordinary one. More than a hundred students of the Army Public School, who had gone to school that day in complete oblivion of what was to follow, never returned. Seven gunmen loaded with incendiaries, entered the school, the classrooms, and fired blindly at young children. These gunmen were all shot down by the Army after a six hour turmoil, but not before they had forever put to sleep almost 141 people, most being children.
This bloodshed, as stated by the Taliban, was to avenge the deaths of their militants caused by the Pakistan Army in the recent operations. In which world is such retribution fair, I know not, but it does make my heart cringe. Apathy, indifference, ignorance, amorality would all be a mere understatement. What got buried along with those children that day is humanity, which is never turning its face up again, until the blood from the pages of the notebooks of those innocent children has faded, and until their cries have stopped reverberating from the history of shame. And that time will perhaps never come.
I cannot help but be in disbelief. I cannot come to believe, that two days ago, when people around me were going on about their daily businesses, going to their offices, colleges, and schools, somewhere under the same sky, morality and innocence was getting slaughtered. And I know it must be hard for other people outside Peshawar to completely understand the terror of such bloody dawns; but I have seen people mourn for the victims, as if they were their own children. And although it doesn’t lessen my sorrow, it does sooth me a bit to know that.
Peshawar isn’t alone in this fight. Those children who departed are everybody’s lost dream, and we all cry their parents’ tears. And in whatever manner that we can, I know that all of us want to help. However, there is not really much we can do from here, which could be of any tangible help. And in that manner, we all stand helpless. In small measures, though, everybody has been doing their bit, praying for the peace of the departed souls, and strength for their families. And that if not in life, then in death, but those gunmen will surely someday realize the horror of their deed. And until those distraught parents have found some share of quietude, and these gory tales are put to an end, would we ever believe that a thing like humanity exists. Because crimson isn’t the closure we would accept, or ever settle for.
I reach out to the parents of the martyred children in their pain.
May those children rest in peace.