Look at him.
He survived, he was one of the lucky ones.
He is a boy of fourteen, whose eyes encapsulate not humour or joy, but agony. The agony in his eyes haunts the depths of my soul, to the extent that I cannot look at him any further. The image of him claws deep into the recesses of my mind, and imprints there. I try to turn away, yet his eyes draw me in. There is something in the terror there that forces me to continually glance back, and within those moments, I feel completely and utterly helpless. I wish there was something I could do to alleviate his pain, but I know that I am not powerful enough to do so. I know that I am one of a billion spectators, whom I can only hope; share with me these sentiments of empathy.
I am looking at an image. This is Pakistan in 2014, and I am watching the events of the Peshawar School Massacre unfold before me, on a flat screen in my apartment.
Whilst I feel the hairs on my skin stand-to, I cannot move from the nest of my couch. Images flash, second by tedious second, portraying the dead, the wounded… and the perpetrators. I think of how helpless I feel, and wonder if they ever felt the same. I wonder if they ever felt empathy, then I find myself wondering if they were ever capable of such a thing. Suddenly I become wholly submerged in the devastation of it: The loss of 141 lives.
It is in this moment I cast my thoughts to the mothers, the fathers and the aggrieved. If I, a simple spectator, am so devastated by this inhumane loss of life, how will the mother respond to the inhumane slaughter of her child? Her child who was innocent? Her child who in the aims of the perpetrators, was collateral damage? How can you look a child in the eye, and pull the trigger? The extent of inhumanity and cold-blooded insanity baffles me. I cannot comprehend it.
When children are targeted and premeditatedly murdered, you must ask yourself what has become of the world that supposedly claims that we live in the most peaceful time in history. Is this peace? What of Palestine, Syria, Burma, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Bosnia, Libya etc.? What of them? The list goes on.
This is not peace. It is not, and I will not stand for it to be addressed as such. Yes, the times at present may be the most peaceful in regards to worldly history, but not everyone is enjoying the extent of freedom that others may be accustomed to. Whilst inhabitants of some countries enjoy the advantages of modern society, others are denied their basic human rights; they dare not speak for fear of retribution. Imagine living in fear of your own tongue, and what may escape from it?
The world more often than not, acknowledges these facts passively. I can only dream that one day, we will claim to live in the most peaceful time in history, and see that represented in countries worldwide. To attain such peace however, there is a long way to go. These barbaric killings represent that to achieve true peace, we must advance very far indeed.
The barbarism of these killings still bewilders me. Yet, they are a mechanism, used to instil terror, and to attain vengeance, for a pointless feud that will lead to nothing but more unnecessary death in a recurrent cycle of violence.
I will simply say this much, the mass killing in Peshawar was a depraved act all in the name of vengeance. An attempt of vengeance which led to the killing of 132 innocent schoolchildren. Do you call that a fair fight?
Let it be known; the coward attains nothing but the shame of his cowardice, and the burden of his sins.