On August 12, 1948, two days before Pakistan was to celebrate the first anniversary of its creation (August 14, 1947), the Pakistani government attacked and killed over 600 Pashtuns during a peaceful demonstration against the unjust imprisonment of several Pashtun leaders demanding justice for Pashtuns. This took place in a town called Babarra in Charasadda, Pakhtunkhwa. Hardly anyone knows about this massacre and Pakistan doesn’t want to acknowledge it; such denial on Pakistan’s part and the ignorance on Pakistanis’, including Pashtuns’, part is unacceptable. We can’t bring the dead back, and we can’t heal the wounded, but there’s a reason history is important. It’s especially unhelpful that Pashtuns don’t know about it because that’s a part of the deliberate attempts on Pakistan’s part to keep Pashtuns as ignorant of their history as possible. I have my theories about why this is so (e.g., aware Pashtuns as a threat to Pakistan), but we’ll talk about that another time.
As a Muslim, I find it agonizing having to write about and recognize the injustice so prevalent in so many Muslim societies—mainly because of the role of such violence in inviting more Islamophobia and assuring Islamophobes that their bigotry is well in place. It’s worse when you’re an ethnic minority almost everywhere (except in Afghanistan) because you’re Pashtun, and you’re marginalized in virtually all spheres of life, and then suddenly, so many news outlets, major and minor, are talking about the barbarity of your culture and people. I’ve written about the marginalization of Pashtuns in Pakistan on my blog before, so I won’t go into details about that here. For now, I want to reflect on a possible reaction to the most recent act of misogyny that a man who shares my ethnic identity has just committed: homeboy killed ten of his relatives because he wanted to marry a girl whose father couldn’t yet afford the marriage and asked him to wait.
While Pakistan and far too many Pakistanis continue to fight over the country’s stupid blasphemy law and waste their time and energies talking about other useless things–and while the Pakistani government continues to ban Youtube (this will always be a relevant remark, okay!)–the Taliban continue to destroy humanity. (No, America and colonialist-minded Americans and Westerners; this isn’t an invitation to America to come save poor Pakistanis from the Taliban! Up yours if you think America/its politics is the solution!)
Peshawar is yet again in the news for a heartbreaking reason: the Taliban’s deadliest attack in Pakistan—in Peshawar—that caused the murder of 146 people (and counting – there’s a live coverage of it on this website), 132 of them children between the ages of 10 and 18. Seven Taliban, all of whom now reportedly killed by the Pakistani army, were sent to the school to kill off innocent humans in retaliation against the army’s killings of—get this—“families and females,” according to a Taliban Spokesperson. He goes, “We just wanted to show the government what the pain is like.” dafuk!! What do you think YOU just did there?! Heal the pain of the families whose children and loved ones you just killed?! These killers killed individuals one by one, walking up to students asking them who among them belonged to a family affiliated with the Pakistani army. The children raising their hands, most probably with pride in their eyes and voices, were then shot dead … one by one.