My facebook newsfeed is filled with a number of inane news items, ranging from Trump’s supposed mental health to cute puppies tasting lemon for the first time. Thanks to the way social media works, my echo chamber does not let me hear what is being said in yours.
And the only reason I know that you are bleeding today is because I have a brother in Lahore, whose outrage and pain has managed to cut through technology’s indifferent algorithm and find me across the seven seas.
I am sorry that people died on your sacred earth today. And I’m sorry that it happens again and again and again. I am also sorry that because I am Indian, I often have no choice but to keep myself from telling you that I feel your pain. I am sorry for all those times when I’ve been silent in the face of your suffering.
And make no mistake, there are many cynics who will respond to me by saying that you are suffering because of your own mistakes. While that might have a grain of truth, I understand that you are more than a discolored piece of land. And some of your people have made mistakes, for which all of you is paying the price. But that is a historical precedent set by almost every single country one can locate on the globe.
Unlike how you appear on the map, and unlike how some of our media wants us to believe, you have all kinds of people. Liberals like myself, conservatives like my grandfather. Indifferent people, passionate people, young people, old people, religious people, atheists; everyone that deserves to live, and with dignity, simply because life is precious.
I don’t know how many kinds of people died today when fire and terror ripped through the heart of one of your shrines. I don’t know how many mothers perished while praying to their god for the health of their children. I don’t know how many children died while learning for the first time how to bow before the almighty. I don’t know how many hopes and dreams were laid to rest in the most violent and unpredictable of ways. And I hope that they will all find peace. Because to have been taken away from the world in the midst of expressing a worldly yearning, is the greatest irony of this day. Also its greatest tragedy.
Pakistan, I grieve with thee. Stay strong, my friend. And maybe a day will come when hatred will find the shame to crawl into one of the mass graves that it has craved into your hurting flesh all these years.