If We Stay Numb, We’ll be Doomed

If We Stay Numb, We’ll be Doomed

‘Another terrorist attack in Peshawar,’ said the newscaster in an overly alarming tone while the breaking news kept flashing with perfect suspense-thriller sound effects. Perhaps another blast, assumed, and flipped the channel. An hour later I accidentally switched to another news channel, which was bombarding my TV screen with the same news but with deafening sound effects. My instinct reaction was to change the channel, once again.


Did they say Peshawar Airport?

I stood frozen up.



“Terrorists… Rocket launchers… Peshawar airport…”


Rushed to pick up my cell-phone, and started off dialing my uncle’s number. I had just read his Facebook status – he was flying to Peshawar today. My heart was throbbing. I could not breathe with my lungs severely cramping in my chest. Why would not he answer my phone? My brain was numb. I could not even bring myself to imagine what might have happened. Hands quivering, eyes pinned to the TV screen, lips reciting Quranic verses and ears glued with the mobile – I was terrorized. My calls went unanswered for hours. Was it time to believe the unbelievable? I leaned on my sofa with a pale face and flipped open the laptop.

“Flight to Peshawar Delayed – VIP Lounge, Lahore Airport” – my uncle checked in.

Phew! I could breathe again.



Terrorism in all its forms is atrocious and hateful. It dreads humans of all color, creed and ethnicity. It scares you to death. It drains out all the energy and leaves you paralyzed. But can one be immune to terrorism? I now ask myself every now and then.



It is not just this one incident. Times are gone when a gunshot had the ability to shake our souls. Believe it or not, we have somehow turned immune to terrorism. Part of me wants to blame the news media for spicing up their content and adding dramatic effects that reverse any genuine human reaction to these atrocious acts. But would I be more remorse if the same news were broken without dramatic sound effects? I fail to answer.

Just spare a minute and think. If you are not one of the terrorists, you are the victim. All I have ever learned is that victims who are immune to suffering are doomed to failure.

Perhaps we do not have many options to choose from. Dreaded or immune, this country is our home. And here we deal with terror in our own way – we overlook it, we condemn it, we blame and we move on with our routine.

Last week I crossed paths with a Karachite. He was visiting Lahore for business. As a typical Lahori, I could not stop myself from lauding the supremacy of my city. I love Lahore. I was born here. I was raised here. It means the world to me. My business counterpart looked at me and smiled: “I cannot stay in Lahore for more than a week. I love Karachi the way you love Lahore.”



“But how could you even live in Karachi?” I regretted the minute I uttered those words.

A British friend hesitantly supported my statement claiming he would not willingly travel to Karachi. He was scared to death. As the discussion prevailed I noticed a defensive tone in my Karachite business friend.



“So should we all flee? Are you suggesting that I leave Karachi and shift to Islamabad? Wake up to a curfew because another scholar has decided to keep innocent students as hostages. That is when you would expect me to flee to America – the land where anyone would enter my children’s school and open fire at them. Where do I go next? Please
tell me.”



There was deafening silence in the room.



We are a nation dealing with our own miseries. We meet foreigners and all we keep worrying what they might think of us as Pakistanis. We are being judged all the time. We, as a nation, need to be sensitized. We need to feel the misery more intensely because only we have the ability to understand our realities. Feel the terror, own the pain and
cry for change – because if immunity is our fate, we are doomed to fail.

Bushra Zia

A Lahore School of Economics graduate & the editor of a monthly Travel Magazine published by the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab

  • Quamrul Huda

    Miss Bushra Zia, violance was and is our culture, probably you belong to elite group of pakistani and you have never experienced it but all other pakistanis they have seen and experienced it, yes there use to be low level violance and now it has exploded everywhere, but there was allways violance and never ever anything was done to stop it, the voilance which use to be in rural areas were never ever reported and even it was not reported from city, but now because of electronic media and a race within media to be at the top, every little thing is being reported.

    i myself and my classmate at primary school use to be beaten by stick (sheesham ki chari), because did not finish homework or something like that, i experienced this voilance at the age of 10 or 11, and sure later on, once my classmate was beaten on his both palm with stick for so long that he could not take it anymore and finally he rasied his hand and showed punch to teacher and really telling the teacher that now i will punch you, teacher stopped and of course he did not punch the teacher. One freind of 1st year in college and he is good , soft spoken , whatever happened, in hallway a teacher slapped him on face, the student grabbed whole front shirt of teacher and told him that if again you raise ur hand i will put you on floor. if you are a average pakistani then you know and you have read these kind of news in papers, but if u belong to elite class, of course these news are irrelevant for you.
    So, voilance was and is our culture, it was everywhere but just on low level, now its with guns and bombs, we pakistani are hot headed people and all of us are superior to each and everyone, we are people we must take revenge in any form and shape, and we are people that if we did wrong to anyone, never admit and never apologise.
    i was poor from poor family, i have suffered from some of my boss in pakistan, some were out right bad, once a boss cursed me with filth word in front of other person, i wanted to punch him in face, but you know what stopped me, i needed job bcoz i had responsibilty of 5 sister, if i was a freeman without any responsibilty i would have knock him down and careless for job, i still wish i come across him, and just remind him and use same curse word to him, and tell him that at that time my job was in ur hand, and not now. Pakistan is a Zaalim country , whoever can suppress whoever, he does it, i am pretty sure that if i see that boss he will never remember the incident and forget that he will apologise. Pakistani dont apologize, they allways right and correct. Thanks to Allah that he brought me to USA, a Islamic country, yes in most part its a Islamic country, just let me give u an example please and for pakistani readers too, I was hospitalized for some sickness for 10 days, the last day i was about to be discharged from hospital, a person came to my bedside, and very softly asked me “sir i m from church do u have anyone at home to take care of you, we have people to take you home and care for you” i told him i thank you very much and appreciate your services, i have my whole family here, thanks. after he left, i was for a moment shocked and went into deep thought that do we have religious people going and asking same way in hospital, i dont know, never heard about it but i dont expect that in pakistan.
    Sorry, what i was trying to say is that Voilance was and is our culture, and no government or institution ever tried to correct it when it was on low level, and now its fully exploded, open Jand Ekhbar, and keep reading about “Qatal”
    Sorry if i have offended someone’s sentiments, i apologize for that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000186167151 Sohaib A. Siddiqui

      Thats your experience-your life experience. That doesnt mean it has happend with every pakistani. I myself is from a poor family. I am sorry all this happend to you,but inshallah we will change everything- pakistanis and pakistan.


    “And here we deal with terror in our own way – we overlook it, we condemn it, we blame it and we move on with our routine.” (the author).

    Dear Bushra you may have specified the sentence as follows:

    And here we deal with terror in our own way – we overlook it, we condemn it, we blame it on the West, then we Malalize the victim and we move on with our routine.

  • Farooq Hashmi

    …….. and now are Bashir Ahmed Bilour and eight other innocent human-beings.Yesterday the Taliban brought them to the altar of their lethal savagery. Putting aside the subtleties of debate I ask one simple question.Have you ever caught the sight of a poultry shop? Dozens of chickens huddled into a small cage,unaware of their fate are engrossed in a fight when Death’s agent, butcher grabs two or three of them,cuts their necks and tosses them into a barrel to wallow in blood till they become lifeless. The analogous is the case of Pakistanis. When the Taliban fails to withstand the urge to wantonly kill Pakistani,it dispatches a misled and brain-washed youth to blow himself up in a crowded place,sending dozens of human-limbs flying into the air. Not only does the grisly act kill dozens of innocent human-beings leaving their grief-stricken dependents in destitution but also rendering many a person mutilated to carry around the burden of his life.The life-and-death tragedy is going on in Pakistan for years and years in a row. The sense of uncertainty of life hangs in the airs of Pakistan and every day that dawns in Pakistan deepens that sense.Every terrorist incident prompt the authorities to issue some condemnation statements and the intellectuals to propound some deterrent theories but within a few days those sentiments die down as a tempest in a coffee-cup.The nation goes into a deep slumber to be awakened by an incident of the similar nature.Some myopic individuals have hatched the theory of ” dialogue.” They are of the view that if the government enters into a ” dialogue” with the Taliban,the latter will abjure its terrorist activities. I have absolutely, no qualms about remarking that either they run with the hare and hunt with the hounds or they are unable to understand with their bone-heads that the Taliban has nothing to do with the socio-political structure of the country. Its objective is but to conquer Pakistan to establish a primitive form of government in it which will serve as its bastion to export terrorism to the world. When positive ways to fight an evil fail, evil ways to fight it must be adopted. As positive ways to fight terrorism have failed,the government must resort to the method of counter-terrorism.The government must train desperadoes to gain proximity to inner circles of the ring leaders of the Taliban so that they could blow them up through suicide bombing at opportune moments. Rod tames every body.

  • Quamrul Huda

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Dozens of Jews who claim to be the descendants of a lost biblical Jewish tribe emigrated to Israel on Monday from their village in northeastern India, celebrating their arrival after a five-year struggle to get in.
    Pakistan a muslim country according to its constitution, and since there is kalama on the front face parliement building, don’t want to take its own citizens from former East Pakistan called Biharis(urdu speakers), till the fall of Dhaka they were Citizens of Pakistan, they even claim today that they are pakistani, but pakistan aaahhhh, Pakistan wants people who bring land together like Kashmir, not just people. One Great Muslim Country.

    • Naeem Durani

      Wonderful thoughts and way of expressing reality. You are right we want Kashmiris but only with land not without land.


    Are you saying that Talibans are not part of your culture?