As a young girl in India, I learned to hate Pakistan. I was told the history of this country with my own, how we were once one nation, and are now bitter enemies.
I saw the Kargil war. On TV, yes, but its horrors did not go away.
I saw each terrorist attack on India, there were many, and was told Pakistan was behind each of them.
But today, when I see the seige on Pakistan’s children, those young lives snuffed out before they could properly begin, I cannot remember that they are from a country I was taught to hate.
For years I’ve been on to the politicians of both countries: they’ve flamed up hostilities between the two nations whenever things got hairy within either country.
Today I stand with those mothers in Peshawar, whose children wouldn’t come back.
I’m not a mother, but I’m a daughter, and I’ve seen mothers.
I cannot begin to imagine those households where children would return from school in coffins.
So those of you who tell me Pakistan deserved it, that they had supported terrorists once, that they’re villains who murdered Hindus in Kashmir, I have no time for you. Those who tell me that Muslims and Islam are the problem, I have no time for you either. Those Pakistanis who blame India for this, I’ll spend no time on you.
I hang my head in shame, because I’m part of a world where children are murdered to raise funds, where some people can find it in them to feel good about what happened to those children and their families.
The beauty and goodness in this world must be coming to an end if the murder of children does not receive universal condemnation.
Mohammed Ali Khan, 15, a student in a Peshawar school, will not return home today.
I choose to name and remember him, and remember his fallen friends. I choose not to name his murderers, and dignify their existence with a name.
And if children are butchered in schools, it is a collective failure of all of humanity, including mine.
I stand with the mothers who lost their children yesterday, the Mothers of Peshawar. I give them my puny strength, and my puny voice.
Children are children, whether they’re born in India, Pakistan or anywhere else in the world.
Have you read about these mothers and their children? What can we do to bring sanity and peace into this world gone mad? What do you have to say to the grieving mothers of Peshawar?