19/12/2014 7:49 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

From A School To A Cemetery

Words fail to explain the greatest human tragedy - the death of a child, perhaps only one thing could be worse, a deliberate and planned massacre of children.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 18: Pakistanis hold candle light vigil in front of the press club in Islamabad, Pakistan, on December 18, 2014, in memory of the victims of the Taliban assault on an army-run school in the north western city of Peshawar. The deadliest Taliban attack on an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday has left at least 141 people dead, most of them students as well as 6 gunmen killed. (Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

We feel fear for different reasons at different times, but it zeroes down to one common factor, fear for life. Yesterday, sadly, fear snaked up on those who had perhaps not even started to understand the meaning of life or fear. For them life was not a common denominator to an average adults' fear of illnesses, finances, heart-breaks and death, rather it was about the cricket match they were suppose to play in the evening; it was about the birthday celebration on their calendar. They were not even well versed with the philosophies we throw out about life, for them it was just another day at school, after which they would rush home to their parents, siblings and an ordinary day would come to an ordinary end. Alas, sometimes the ordinariness we completely take for granted, makes its absence felt so drastically, we are left flabbergasted.

What do you do with the rest of your life if you lose that small human you raised like your own extension, your own future when you are no more, your child? How do you wake up from the nightmare because it has become the rest of your life?

Despite the reeling emotions we are all feeling, we must be in touch with a bigger reality. There is a bigger and scarier truth we must face and fight; the probability of our survival. Today, some of us were safe from the atrocity that befell the misfortune in Peshawar; today our loved ones were out of harm's way, but for how long will we all delude the death that lurks in our streets? How careful can we be? What magical precautions must be exercised by the law enforcing agencies that will guarantee that our children, friends and we ourselves will come home safely at the end of the day.

The terrorist organisations that are the creators of these nightmares and then brazenly and shamelessly take responsibility, why must they be allowed to continue these barbaric acts? Why isn't a fatwa given against these groups of self-proclaimed religious cults who in the name of God are massacring humanity? Why must they continue to terrorise our hearts and minds just because they are too thick skulled and too ignorant of Allah and his Prophet's preaching and His Book?

Words fail to explain the greatest human tragedy - the death of a child, perhaps only one thing could be worse, a deliberate and planned massacre of children. How do you even attempt to understand the mind of a brute that picks up an innocent 10-year-old and shoots him point blank in the head? In war, collateral damage is a sad reality, innocent women and children have died in the carpet-bombings in Afghanistan to drone strikes in Waziristan but they were never the intended target. Yesterday in Peshawar, however, humanity achieved for itself a new low. Terrorists turned a school into a cemetery and took from Pakistan its bright future, its children.

Today, Pakistan bleeds with Peshawar. The nation is seething in pain and writhing in fury, emotions are running wild and a cloud of affliction and sorrow has taken over every feeling soul. Perhaps, we might never recover from the tragic loss of the 140 dead children but if today we cannot save our children from the violent jaws of death, we might not have a tomorrow to rebuild. Perhaps, we never imagined that even terrorists could stoop to such low levels of cowardice and disgrace but we should now be jolted into the harsh reality and war we have before us.

Yesterday, a friend shared a story of a camel, who gazes into the horizon to plan what to do when far becomes near. Unless we plan for the future to fight this curse of savagery that has befallen upon us, we will only fail and fail again. The recent call to hang all captured terrorists and continued support of the ongoing military operation might be the right short-term solution. However, until we can counter the ideology of terrorism with that of tolerance, our future will continue to be plucked from right before our eyes before it has had a chance to blossom.