Remembering The Weight Of Small Coffins By Qasim Rashid

Today in Pakistan at least 132 sets of parents will remember this Jummah as their first Jummah without their precious child. This Jummah they will be forced to remember the crushing weight of small coffins.

I left Peshawar in the 1980s, not long after Dictator Zia implemented death for blasphemy, death for apostasy, and anti-Ahmadi laws. I left as a schoolboy, with wide eyes and an open heart. And when I returned to Pakistan in the mid to late 2000s, I saw a city that no longer exists, a nation that no longer remembers, and a culture I no longer recognize.

They say the smallest coffins are the heaviest. As I wept through pictures and comments, of some 150 dead schoolchildren and countless devastated parents, I realized the Peshawar I once loved no longer exists. As a child I recall a street vendor a few blocks from our apartment—a nice old Pashtun man with a wide smile and charred hands. He sold the best beef kebabs you’d ever tasted and we’d walk to him on our own for the tasty treat. I recall a massive tree with a trunk so large that ten of us children couldn’t wrap our arms around together. When I returned to Peshawar in 2006, the vendor had died, the tree was cut down, and our old apartment building had been demolished. The thought of children roaming unaccompanied in the street had become so dangerous it was laughable. No one cared about a place that no longer existed, but in my memories.


2 replies

  1. Those who have sweet memories of that ill fated city will remember it for personal wounds on their hearts but those who even have not ever visited the city, will add a scar of barbarism on on their minds. The worst part of this tragedy is that it is committed in the name Islam- the message of peace.

    Pakistan has no choice but to fight against extremism to avoid such acts in future.

  2. Current Pakistani leaders have NO conscience. The Mullahs have devoured their consience. Even at the “APC gift” to the families of this massacre, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was joking with Imran khan regarding the funeral prayers of these children at the latter’s dharna.

    What has these politicians done at the time of great tragedies.Just empty rhetorics.

    What happened after the Mustang massacre, May 28 2010 Lahore Mosques massacre, volleyball massacre, shrine massacre…..??? why would anyone think that these politicians will change after this massacre?

    As journalist Mohammad Hanif said, when the APC politicians raised their hands in prayers, they should instead pray for themselves and look whether there is actually the blood of these children on their hands!

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