(Ahmad Jalil, 2nd year MBBS)
An old woman was running in the dark. She was scared to death. Her aged fragile body was battered and bruised. With one hand she cleared the huge thorny bushes in her path and in the other, she held her two year old grandson. They were being chased away by an army of ruthless soldiers, both white and brown. Their only crime was to dream of living in their own country, the same dream that had the rest of her family slaughtered, including the parents of that little child in her arms. Now she could have easily got their lives spared. All she had to do was pledge loyalty to those men following her and their law. But she kept running. She didn’t give up because she had a hope that one day the barren piece of land she was running to, will provide her grandson the individuality and originality that she herself never had. A hope that one day her grandson will stand proud and have a place to belong to, a country to call home.
Every nation faces a lot of hardships and goes through dozens of tragedies. It’s very easy to fall. But the thing that makes a nation strong is how they get back up. On December 16, 2014, we faced one of the greatest tragedies ever. More than a hundred innocent souls were ruthlessly massacred in a school in Peshawar by a group of armed gunmen, an attack that threatened to shake the very foundations of our country. But this is not all that will be written in the history. Instead the history will quote what ten years old Hassan, a survivor, said;
“I will not be afraid of going back. I will go back to the school. This determination is because my cousin was martyred. If I go to school, it is like I’m challenging those terrorists.”
And yes, Hassan did go back to his school. And so did his friends. And so did the rest of the brave students of that school including 14 years old Waleed Khan, who was shot eight times in his face. How will you define this act of unimaginable valour? What motivated these children to back to those classrooms? What inspired their parents to send their children to a place where the smell of the blood still lingered? It can only be described as a result of their hope. The hope that one day their efforts and sacrifices will bear fruit.
And their courage makes me brave. Their hope gives me hope that inspite of all that we are going through, all the hardships that we are facing, our time is not very far. And even though nothing seems to be going our way yet, very soon we will defeat terrorism and every other horror we are facing right now. And we will rise as a great nation. That is who we are. A nation of martyrs, who is not afraid to sacrifice each and every drop of its blood in order to protect their homeland. The martyrs who gave up their lives to make us united and rekindle that old flame of hope many of us had given up on, the hope that I see in our fluttering green and white flag. The hope I get when I hear Pak Sar Zameen Shaad Baad. And for this hope I am truly indebted to this country and everyone who laid down their life for it.