Saturday, April 9, 2011

"I wanted to go to Paradise"

A cyclist on an old D.G.Khan street

Umar Fidai is 14 years old. He has two sisters and a mother, his father is dead. He hasn't been to school. He is being interviewed by a reporter while strapped to a hospital bed with severe injuries from a recent bomb blast.
No he is not a victim. He was supposed to be one of the suicide bombers to attack a Sufi shrine in D.G. Khan area of south Punjab. Somehow he was not able to detonate the bomb he had on his person, and was caught by the police although injured in the blast. Around 50 people have died.
The reporter asks: "Why did you do this? Why did you kill people?"
"They said kill the non muslims. They are wrong." Umar replies staring dazedly at the camera.
"Who? Who said kill the people?"
"The Taliban."
"Where is your family, your mother?"
Umar starts speaking in another language. Realizing people don't understand him, he switches back to broken Urdu. "Torkham, I'm from Torkham. The Taliban told me to do this."

A few feet away, a family of 6 or 7 people huddle together, the women wailing and mourning. They have lost an 8 year old child. The grandmother cries it was her fault, she sent the child to fetch some sacred water from the shrine. If only she hadn't. The mother of the girl looks up at the camera, but her eyes are vacant. She says nothing. Two little sad-faced boys stand beside her, uncomfortable with the camera and the hospital environment. The mother draws both her sons in her arms. The grandmother hides her face in her shawl.

"Aren't you sad? So many people have died... they were innocent. Aren't you ashamed, Umar?" the reporter asks the terrorist again.
"I wanted to go to Paradise", is all Umar says.

*An Update from Umar*

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