The editors, columnists and contributors at Altmuslim want to extend their grief and prayers to the 141 individuals — 132 of which are children (according to the Pakistan military) — killed in a violent attack on an army school in Peshawar, Pakistan. The Pakistan Taliban (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the horrible attack. Why a school? Why children? According to an article in The Daily Beast:
The unprecedented slaughter Tuesday at least 132 students at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, shows in the most gruesome possible way that the Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP, have not yet been defeated or brought under control by the Pakistani military’s recent offensives. Certainly that was the objective of the attack: The school is a private one run by the army for the children of soldiers.
“The TTP is ready for a long, long war against the U.S. puppet state of Pakistan,” a TTP commander told me when I reached him on his Afghan cellphone. “We are just displaced, but we are still in positions to attack wherever we want,” said Jihad Yar Wazir.
Yar Wazir justified the killings as fitting retribution. “The parents of the army school are army soldiers and they are behind the massive killing of our kids and indiscriminate bombing in North and South Waziristan,” which are the TTP strongholds. “To hurt them at their safe haven and homes—such an attack is perfect revenge.”
But the children are innocents, I said. What about them, I asked?
“To hurt them at their safe haven and homes—such an attack is perfect revenge.”
“What about our kids and children,” he said. “These are the kids of the U.S.-backed Pakistani army and they should stop their parents from bombing our families and children.” Yar Wazir went on: “Those kids are innocent because they are wearing a suit and tie and Western shirts? But our kids wearing Islamic shalwar kamiz do not come before the eyes of the media and the West.”
But many on social media are saying enough of this cycle of violence – that children are innocents in all of this. Said one of our Altmuslim editors:
The massacre of children in Sandy Hook happened this week two years ago. And now more than a hundred school children gunned down – murdered – at a school in #Peshawar Pakistan. No parent anywhere should have to fear sending their child to school. If we can’t see how wrong it is to engage in such violence, that no agenda, no revenge, no reason justifies this violence – then we are lost.
May God reign His anger/judgment on those who do violence towards others. May He bring ease to the hearts of grieving parents, siblings, family and children everywhere. May He have mercy on our broken humanity and show us how heal it, how to be better. May we all live in pursuit of good and kind and love and strength.
Please keep the children lost, their families and loved ones, and all those around the world who are facing some any sort of loss, trauma, assault, violence or death — in your thoughts and prayers. The time for in-depth commentary/analysis will come later. For now, let us pray for humanity, for the safety of our children.