Humanity stands in pain today (Terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar)

16-year-old Shahrukh Khan describes how he hid beneath a bench, shivering as “death approached”, as his school came under attack.

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Who’d have thought this would turn out to be such a daunting day, after all?

It practically started off like any other day, woke up without wanting to go to college, going anyway.. About the mid of the day I overheard someone telling somebody else on the phone a certain school got invaded by the ‘Taliban’. It didn’t strike any chords there and then but an hour or so later I realized the person actually was right, except, the things were worse.. a lot worse..!

Army Public School (Boys branch), a school, at a walking distance of about 30 minutes from my own college was held hostage by Taliban. Now, it takes no nerves to realize how big of a coward one has to be to attack minors, who don’t even know how to defend themselves, who probably don’t even know the exact meaning of death, who find peace in mothers’ warm embraces and cry over broken crayons..

peshawar school attack
A man comforts his injured son at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar(Reuters) ©

Before I realized text messages started hurling in from friends and family, literally, all across the globe. The first message told me 3 kids had been martyred, the next news came from a classmate narrating around 30 kids’ death.

peshawar school attack
Relatives of an injured student comfort each other outside Lady Reading Hospital.(Fayaz Aziz/Reuters) ©

Honestly, as I write right now, I write with my head blank and my heart numb..

Anyway, my dad called and said we’ll leave as soon as he reaches my college (he drops me at/picks me up from there himself). It took him about 2 hours on his way, as opposed to the usual 30 minutes. Am I shocked? No. The entire city was blocked. Held hostage. In trauma.

Everyone just wanted to know if their loved ones were safe. This isn’t the first calamity that has struck us, the residents of Peshawar. Bomb blasts, killings, targeted firings are a norm, we’ve stopped raising eyebrows at any such news anymore, but today’s incident (read; accident) is, hands-down, going to be one of the worst traumas this country can ever possibly go through…

peshawar school attack
A man carries an injured girl after the attack(A Majeed/AFP) ©

On my way back I found out more than 100 people had been martyred.

Various news channels show-cased various numbers. I even heard somewhere more than 1000 students were present in the premises of the school at the time of the invasion. It won’t sound too unbelievable to say, easily, a couple of hundred lives were lost today. Majority being that of minors…

Distraught parents arriving at hospital
Distraught parents arriving at hospital ©BBC

I remember having witnessed a bomb blast in my early teens, when I was a student of the same school’s different branch. I was on my way back home and within the split-seconds of hearing the bang, everything went blank, couldn’t think or see or feel anything for about a minute, there was smoke all around and once it got cleared away all I could see was dead bodies lying on the roads and road-sides like non-ironed clothes drenched in blood. I was in the car, and miraculously was left uninjured. I was on my way to home with an uncle since my parents were in another city.

I was a kid and was left haunted forever..

©Express Tribune

Then I think of the kids that were fired at, at an arm’s length and I wonder what their last thoughts must’ve been.. Perhaps they’d have wished to have been around their mothers, or fathers, or both..I don’t know.. I mean, they were kids, I can’t even imagine how they must’ve felt..

Not were they only fired at but a source that demanded to not be named told a news channel, the dead bodies were thrown across the walls of the school’s premises…

For the first time in life, perhaps, do I feel so speechless..

Relatives of Peshawar schoolchildren
The children’s relatives have faced a harrowing wait for news ©BBC

I don’t know what the parents must have gone through at the outbreak of the news..

I remember when I was a kid, every time I was ill I could sense how down my mother was. I’d try cheering her up by acting silly and she would straightforwardly tell me to stop doing that and that she wasn’t in her right mind at my minutest headache. I’m 20 and every time I have a stuffed nose my father tells me to wake him up at night in case I can’t sleep because of it.

And then I think of women who’d have dressed their kids for school and were probably preparing lunches for them when the news first came out..

Peshawar died an undeniable death today…

Mourners carry the coffin of a student from a hospital in Peshawar, 16 December
©BBC The smallest coffins weigh the heaviest..

We’ve been targeted more than once, we’ve been attacked more than once, we’ve been killed more than once, but, we’ve resurrected our spirits more than once, we’ve learned living all over again more than once and we’ve learned smiling more than once.

We’re a brave bunch of people.. You know why? Because we’ve survived stuff a lot of people can not even imagine living in terms with.

We’ve survived the taliban-terror, we’ve survived being surrounded by the wrong kind of people, we’ve survived being under the rule of the worst kind of human beings, let alone leaders, we’ve staggered, we’ve stammered, we’ve fallen, we’ve choked, we’ve cried, but at the end of every calamity, we’ve risen as an unbreakable nation that would give hearts and lives, like every other nation, to live and to let live.

We’ve lost our kids, we’ve lost our fathers, we’ve lost our mothers, we’ve lost our sisters…we’ve lost whole families and we’ve been exploited always in the name of religion

16-year-old Shahrukh Khan describes how he hid beneath a bench, shivering as “death approached”, as his school came under attack. ©Express Tribune

We’re injured, we’re bleeding, we’re drenched in sorrow, we’re slaughtered by pain, we’re lost in darkness and a morbid curiosity about tomorrow drowns us, but we’re breathing, we have each others’ backs and we’re walking, walking slowly albeit, but we’ll get there….

A soldier escorts schoolchildren away from a school attacked by gunmen in Peshawar
Some younger children were escorted away from the scene by soldiers. ©BBC


In case you’re from peshawar and you’re reading this, here’s a little how-to if you want to help:

Donors in Hayatabad please contact RMI Blood Bank or call 091-5838000 Ext # 5002, 5003.

Others please contact LRH or CMH.

5 thoughts on “Humanity stands in pain today (Terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar)

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