Monday it was Sydney; yesterday it was Peshawar, and tomorrow, is could be anyone or anywhere else. Pessimism doesn’t do anyone any favours when it comes to perception of the future, but in this case, I feel as if it’s not entirely pessimistic as it’s the truth, it’s unfortunately the world we now live in. Is there anywhere that’s actually safe from the relentless grip of terror?
Yesterday, the world reacted in horror and anguish as the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a group of religious fanatics and fundamentalists, affiliated with Al-Qaeda who have thus created their own violent form of militant Islam, ruthlessly stormed the walls of an Army-run school in Peshawar, Pakistan, and took it upon themselves to indiscriminately and mercilessly murder 141 people.
132 of those people, were innocent, unarmed and defenceless children, whose bright and enriched futures, fruitfully enhanced by the education they were there to receive, were unjustly taken from them in the blink of an eye. That’s 132 different parents who sent their child off to school yesterday morning, only to have them returned to them in a coffin instead of the uniform they were dressed in.
The group had no demands, they took no hostages, their only objective was to strike terror into the hearts and souls of every person in the land that ever stood against them. They wanted to grab global attention, and they succeeded, at the ultimate cost of the lives of human beings. Following on from the Sydney siege in which two innocent individuals lost their lives at the hands of a radical self-styled Iranian sheikh, it’s apparent that the main goal’s of the scapegoats of terrorism today, is simply to kill, they no longer care about the colour of your skin, or whether you are of the same religion, your beliefs and faith are no longer a factor, they will systematically stop at absolutely nothing to get what they want. Terrorism has no race, religion, or nationality, that’s what people need to remember.
In this case, they wanted to deprive and deter the future generation of Pakistan to the basic human right of an education, it’s no coincidence that they also happen to be the very same outfit who shot Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai in the face in 2012, for her work promoting the education of Pakistan’s girls, their agenda is slow growing, but quite substantial, they’re still not going to stop after this massacre.
Having been born and bred in Britain, growing up, I heard stories about how many were scared to send their children to school. My father is from Peshawar itself and Mardan in the Northern-Western, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, and my paternal aunts, many of whom are teachers, once even opened a girls-only school in Peshawar itself, in an effort to help those receive an education and build a glittering future they were usually so strenuously denied. It’s a startling difference to education I and everyone else have received in the Western world, having now acquired a bachelors and a masters degree at the age of 22, I’m thankful for opportunities that have been presented to me, but most importantly, I’ve thankful that I never once felt unsafe or in danger whilst attending school. The story could have been so much different.
Peshawar was once deemed to be a city with an air of indiscreet mystery, a vibrant melting pot of ethically diverse cultures and colourful landscapes, with a rich history coupled with a lively and sparkling atmosphere. Not the besieged city that is now wrapped in a fog of absolute terror after being devastated by such a horrific massacre, there is not really any words that suffice.
However, there are many cities in the world who fit the very same description, and if this past month has proved anything, it’s that it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are, some form of religious, political, domestic or pathological Terrorism will still find you, whether it’s the result of religious fanatics, police brutality or an episode which is racially motivated, but instead of sitting back, the world and its leaders need to unite and begin to ensure that they find them first, not the other way around. If this isn’t a wake up call that people need to do more, I don’t know what is, it shouldn’t be this difficult to eradicate.
We live in a world where children trying their best to get an education that’s such a rarity to them, aren’t safe in the very place they should be, at school. We live in a world where education should be freely available to every single person that has a beating heart, but it isn’t. We live in a world where none of us are really safe; we may think that we are far away from any new threat, but for how long? There is no guarantee. The enemy want to be feared, they want us to fear their regime of terror, they want us to back down, but we never will. The only way to defeat them – is to not be fearful. As Nelson Mandela once said: “We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence & fear.”
The world is ready to unite and live in peace without any form of terrorism, now more than ever. But, can we make it happen?