APS – Recalling the Grief

16th December 2014. The blackest day in the history of my country. A day of such collective grief and anguish as words cannot describe. I think very few of us might be able to think of this day without recalling the horrors connected to it. The horrors which we would surely like to forget; but the truth is, we cannot forget. Nations who forego such tragedies without learning from them suffer a collective demise and lay forgotten in the books of history.

All this philosophical ranting, however, can never wash away the agony and grief of that day, or the fact that it was a day when the hearts of 140 mothers of my nation were ripped out, and the rest of the mothers cried along with them. There was no eye that wasn’t wet, no heart that didn’t break. I did not see anyone smiling that day. As the little coffins started coming out one after another, even the coffin bearers cried and the rescue workers cried.

As pictures of those children flashed on TV screens, I saw through my tears just how beautiful each and every face was; boys – mere adolescents – each and every one of them a story waiting to be unfolded, when their parents’ dreams of them growing into men were snatched and set on fire by animals that can be given no name …

The boys are certainly at peace, in the best of places, there can be no doubt, but when I think of their mothers … When I think that my son is with me, I drop him off at school every day, I can embrace him and pat his shoulder and try to kiss him on the cheek as he ducks away … the all too familiar scenes of mothers and their boys … my heart just starts breaking all over again at the anguish those mothers had to face, and are doubtlessly still facing. You send him off to school clad in uniform – the focal point of your universe – and he arrives home in a coffin, drenched in blood …

Then there were the fathers, so many of whom were soldiers, on duty, and part of the operation Zarb e Azb … There were those who came from the battlefield just to bury their sons and hurried back to send the enemy to hell. To avenge a father by butchering his son, what kind of men do that? Certainly not men, but soulless beings who are eternally damned to rot along with the demons of their diseased hearts …

Let us pray that we never have to witness another day like 16th December, ever; that witnessing two such days will suffice to bring us to our senses. Yes, it is true. We did not learn from our first 16th December, so history decided to teach us another lesson, to make sure we remember; this one perhaps even more gruesome than the last one. Please God, help us retain our memory, help us reflect on and learn from the past. Do not let us suffer again from the Collective Insomnia which we are all too prone to fall into. Do give us the strength to shun and reject the corrupt, the dishonest and the looters. Help us keep the promises we made to our motherland so that our children will never again have to pay the price for our thoughtlessness, for our Collective insomnia and dementia.

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