She is not the first one who've valiantly stood against the bigots and wanted peace on her land; nor the last one. The soil of Pashtun land is very fertile and will bring into existence fearless Malalai for every age to teach her men what courage means and how to fight ignorance, hatred, fear and bigotry. Her courage is symbolic as the courage of Malai of Maiwand who fought against the British Indian troops at the battle of Maiwand on July 27, 1880.
Malalai of Swat fought against Taliban while living in Swat during a time when Taliban had full control of the area. While yesterday it was hard to absorb the news of the coward attack on this little child, today, it is reassuring that she had a successful operation and hopefully will survive.
As a nation we are a crew of dead people who walk and talk and see and think and feel but don’t react or reflect. I hope the event awakens us as a nation, once more. But for now, we need Malalai to enjoy her childhood; it is not her time to pay sacrifice for her land when the men of her nation see their children playing around in the hands of bigots, idiots, preachers of hatred and prophets of ignorance. This indifference is killing me. The silly interpretation of religion has played havocs with us- women in particular now children as well. It seems they have established a strong monopoly over the religion and with that God too.
Afzal shared how he was hurt when one of his friends made some thoughtless comments over the incident on Facebook. I can imagine his feelings too. At workplace, one of my colleagues shared that I appeared lost at workplace today. He was right. I am indeed lost since last few days. On Monday someone stole my laptop, today, someone conspired to steal a little life from me. I wonder where I stand or we stand as a nation? I know for a reason that I stand nowhere. I am lost like a lost child in the crowd, nowhere to go.
Went to Kuch Khaas to attend a documentary film made by Samar Minallah Khan called Poles Apart. The 30 minutes long documentary highlighted the different aspects of marriages that are forced upon girls for social and cultural reasons. The video was thoroughly absorbing. It was my first encounter of meeting with her and I must admit that she appeared a very pleasant person. She is bold and courageous- a beautiful soul who cares for those who’ve little voice in our social structure- the voiceless, as I would say. We need women like her, for sure.
Got an e-mail from Gerry stating that he was praying for Malalai’s quick recovery. He was amazed how a ten year old child who had recently arrived into London could leave his family and travelled overland on his own from Afghanistan to London. It took him five months to get to London. He conveyed greetings from members of Brent Afghani Youth that I worked with. I wish and pray they are doing well.
Gerry is a wonderful person- first Irishman I met with and became good friends in no time. I remembered how enthusiastic he was when we first discussed the possibility to establish support group sessions for Afghani children who would come to London with experienced traumas. It was amazing how he influenced Brent Social Services to establish the support group within Brent Council- the first of its kind. We jointly worked on this group for three years and it was a thrill to meet some of the young persons who inspired us too along the course of our work with them.
It is now 02:20 am. I will respond to Gerry’s e-mail tomorrow and will thank him for his best wishes for Malalai. But for now I need to brush my teeth and drink hot water with lemon as I’ve heard it is good for health. My mother thinks living in London for a good while has made me mad as no one would drink hot water but only fool in this part of the world. I wonder if they do as she says- should this requires a scientific study ? Poles Apart, anyway, we are as always!
Farid Gul, Islamabad, October 11, 2012