Peshawar: “If our children die as martyrs, your children will not escape”

 

 

DSC02956reReuters

The title above is a quote from Uman Mansoor, head of TTP, Tehreek Taliban Pakistan, the mind behind the Peshawar school killings. He is a father of two daughters and a son, the gatekeeper for his TTP group who have been repeatedly targeted by Pakistani military.  On December 16, 2014, he sent 6 henchmen to do his bloody bidding…

 

Back and Forth, death and counter death, fear into anger, anger into rage; a harsh cycle never to be resolved.

included  are quotes, words of the victims and others in the region are far more telling then what I can say,
please be sure to read all italicized quotes, it’s the heart of what matters..

Even the children are dying on the frontline in the war against terror, the smaller the coffin, the heavier it is to carry”… Defense Minister Khawaja Asif

 

Back and Forth

The children were given goodbyes and sent off to classrooms that morning
another day of school at Army Public School and Degree College
an institution inside the walled city of Peshawar, the “oldest living city in South Asia since 539 BC
a city known to be culturally diverse – a thriving place
“City of the frontier” it was referred to –
during the 80’s it was  a CIA base
a place of violence inhabited by the Soviets and American paid insurgents, the Mujahideen
during that time it also became a place of refugee artists and musicians
Peshawar continues to grow thanks to business and education and people seeking promise
Peshawar also continues to harbor terrorists
back and forth they go
on the move between Afghanistan’s Khyber Pass into Pakistan

Many children at the Army Public School And Degree College
have fathers with positions in the Pakistani military
men battling evil each day
men trying to keep the peace where the peace could not be kept
back and forth
between  The Pakistani Army and the terror groups
there’s no real treaty to be found –
back and forth the military air strikes bomb factions of  the Taliban and others deemed ‘terrorists’
bombing places with children and families
the numbers add up – terrorists seethe when their own are targeted

A car exploded behind the school on Wednesday, December 16th, 2014
a ruse to divert attention
six TTP gunmen armed with several days worth of  ammunition
had decided beforehand not to take hostages
it would be a simple slaughter,
penned animals ripe for the picking
back and forth bang bang
TTP in black boots and bullet-proof vests shouted and ran
as adrenaline surged, venom swilled in their brains while they opened
fire on everyone
back and forth guns swaying
while delivering lethal loads with accelerated cadence
Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the Lady Reading Hospital, Shahrukh described how the gunmen shouted ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ before opening fire.

It did not discriminate – no one was spared because of age nor gender
bullets in a metastasized barrage killed or injured upon impact
a few like student , ‘Kahn’ were shot but chose to be still and unflinching in order to survive,
‘Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks. Then one of them shouted: “There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them. ‘I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.    Khan said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee. He decided to play dead, adding: ‘I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies.’I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again. My body was shivering – I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me—I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.’  

145 dead – 132 of them school children
The Principal died – her young assistant, shot and burned alive
back and forth murderers paced themselves
on a mission with nothing as distraction

it became an eight-hour siege till the Pakistan military
had finally taken down the last martyred gunmen and secured the school –
blood the source of life, the source of DNA mingled freely down its victims and survivors
books, desks, walls, floors, everything saturated in red and smeared by the sepsis of aggravated death
back and forth the ambulances went
as parents lined up waiting to be told if the last kiss they had given their child that morning
if their last words
or last touch or  last “I love you”  was the echo their dead child took with them

A man named Baiwa told reporters later that day,
” Pakistani security forces reached the school 15 minutes after the attack began. The children … drenched in blood, with their bodies on top of each other.”
Mohammad Hilal, a student in the 10th grade, shot three times in his arm and legs when the gunmen stormed the school auditorium,
“I think I passed out for a while. I thought I was dreaming. I wanted to move but felt paralysed. Then I came to and realised that actually two other boys had fallen on me. Both of them were dead,” he told the BBC.

 Laborer, Akhtar Hussain summed up what would be his life now, “They finished in minutes what I had lived my life for, my son. The innocent one is now gone in the grave and I can’t wait to join him – I can’t live anymore”       

The aftermath was shock and chaos and now the anger
and  of course, calls  for retribution for Pakistan’s ‘911’ – a national tragedy:
Do you actually believe terrorists fear the death penalty – or death for that matter? They are ready to blow themselves up for their cause. They have every intention to die for their cause,” said Waleed Bin Ghayas, who lives in Lahore, roughly 500km from the school.

The next two days after the attack sparked an air offensive
back and forth the Pakistan military selected their victims
killing nearly 70  suspected Taliban members between Afghanistan border and Pakistan hold outs
many called it “too timid“.
Pakistan’s Defense Minister, Khawaja Asif said this fighting with Taliban for decades has been a sacrifice –
There had been a previous ban on the death penalty for terrorists –
that has been lifted

More blood is called for
more blood was also how Pakistani TTP Spokesman, Mohammed Khurasani justified the slaughter in the first place writing in an email on murderous Wednesday,
‘the Pakistani army has allegedly long been killing innocent children and families  of their fighters.” They vowed more militant attacks 

Back and forth and on and on
Yousafzai,a surviving student was “heartbroken by this (latest) senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar,” saying Tuesday that “innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this. I call upon the international community, leaders in Pakistan, all political parties — everyone — (to) stand up together and fight against terrorism,” the 16-year-old added in another statement. “And we should make sure that every child gets a safe and quality education.”

Can any of us ever understand how this act of cowardice by killing children could ever be justified
even the Afghani Taliban thought it was uncalled for
and by Thursday the media considered it news beneath the fold
by Thursday we were through grieving as the press moved on

I have grandchildren and cannot imagine this scenario
of having them one day and the next they are memories,
victims of brutality
I can’t imagine what it is like for families who live in regions where any minute could be their last
as in Sudan,  or Kobani in Syria where the children showed CNN reporters how they hid behind
sandbags  when ISIL attacks despite their large smiles for the camera, each day is perilous- P1000030a
nor this Palestinian child hiding her doll’s eyes   P1000025a  in Major Wechselmann’s stirring photo –
nor the Israelis when the air raid alarms go off-
nor any child or family living a day to day, back and forth existence between the light
and cruelty of shattered darkness –
my heart goes out to all children in need of peace and normalcy
and having the right to an education not intercepted by gunfire and
that includes the many school shootings right here which
have become America’s brand of terrorism with its’ craze for ridding angst
by ‘armed to the hilt’ bullies clinging to a metal clad ‘piece’ with a lust for recognition by the press

What happened to “the children are our future”-
So many children in peril
how do we reach them
how do we inspired them
with a better life and future –
how do we spread the word so one day ‘above the fold’ so headlines will read:
the world is at peace, everyone’s needs are being met, no one is angry
everyone is fed, nurtured, schooled, taken care of body and mind – Have a nice day!”
I suppose being an old hippie from the 60’s
(also a turbulent time)
we the youth back then had dreams of a world one day without strife,
love, peace and happiness would somehow automatically encrypt itself into a bright, happy near future for all mankind –
but that was over 50 years ago —
sometimes this world seems to drag in reverse
forgetting the lessons we thought had been learned long ago –
‘where’s the sunshine’ – Where’s the love?

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