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To The Lahore Victims: Grief And Prayers Are All I Have, Forgive Me

28/03/2016 3:19 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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The grandmother of Pakistani Christian boy Sahil Pervez, mourns his death, at a church in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, March 28, 2016. The death toll from a massive suicide bombing targeting Christians gathered on Easter in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore rose on Monday as the country started observing a three-day mourning period following the attack. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

Grief. It's such a small word. So light on the tongue that you forget how it weighs you down once it gets hold of you. This past week has been one of grief. Death around the clock, and tears which don't stop.

I see picture after picture on my news feed and slip further into this black hole that is grief. I mourn for those moments which will never be lived. For the books at home that will not be opened, for the dusty dolls with no owner. For laughter cut short and cries carried away by the wind. For the family car with empty seats. For losses that bleed into sound bites and 140-character tweets.

This grief expands and reaches every bit of existence and then just before it crashes, it illuminates.

There are times I am disgusted at my own hypocrisy and overcome with helplessness because will these tears and rants ever make any difference? The posters we share, the solidarity profile pictures, or the quotes we retweet--do they give recourse or relief to the children brutally awakened from the innocent bliss of childhood to face the grim reality of the world we live in; to the mother who lost her toddler son; to the man who lost his companion of decades; to the families whose celebration turned into loss because one man decided blowing up a park is what God wants.

As misinformation spreads faster and pathetic excuses for human beings justify bloodshed--in the name of God, in the name of a State, in the name of values that have passed their date--what are these hashtags, tweets, and statuses really doing? Is this clicktivism just another way to shed our responsibility and shift the blame? Is this mere deflection to avoid any real contribution we can make in resolving these conflicts--or at least in easing the pain of the victims?

At the end of the day, are these just hollow attempts at masking how impotent we are collectively-when dealing with oppression unfolding in front of our eyes? We are shaken by images of conflict-- destruction. Dead children. Dismembered limbs. Blood. Dust. Bones. Gore. Broken homes... but then dive right back in and carry on like nothing ever happened.

But real grief is different. It migrates down from the lump in your throat and up from the pit of your stomach to reach your aching heart. If unchecked it slowly flows through your veins and lodges itself into unknown crevices of your being, covering every surface, every pore until the air burns and breathing hurts.

[This grief] pleads to know, why can't we stop? Then it crumbles into a weeping, heaving, mess because, 'isn't this enough?'

This grief has no boundaries. It is an unbound sorrow that knows no nation, no race, no religion. It only recognizes humanity. Hearts still shatter. It doesn't matter whether it is a Christian, Muslim, Jewish or atheist child. Tears fall even if it's a suicide bomb or a State-sanctioned drone. This grief expands and reaches every bit of existence and then just before it crashes, it illuminates. It sheds light on the futility of it all, on the rotten, mangled state of humanity. And it pleads to know, why can't we stop? Then it crumbles into a weeping, heaving, mess because, 'isn't this enough?'

This Grief is hard to describe. It is dying of thirst and gulping sand although you know it's not water.

This Grief doesn't see numbers, it sees names. It escapes politics and seeks solace in prayer.

This Grief is all I can wield now.

For Lahore. For Brussels. For Syria. For Baghdad and Ankara.

For the unnamed and oppressed.

Wherever you are, I mourn with you.

And forgive me, if you can, for these prayers--from across the border--are all I have.

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