[en]There is a picture of an empty grave with the grave digger lying mutilated beside it, the funeral procession never made it to the graveyard as they were killed in the drone strike. News reaches me that fifty women and children, attending a wedding, are killed in a drone attack. I remain silent and no emotion stirs from within. I am unable to fuel any sentiment as I have become callous, indifferent, stubborn and heartless…
An principle in the upbringing of children is moderation in corporal punishment. Unreasonable, perpetual and constant slapping, beating and other forms of physical abuse may make the child stubborn and thick skinned. ‘Dheet’ is the Urdu word for this behavior. After some time their response to such punishment is just indifference and it fails to move them in any way.
The constant and perpetual series of harrowing and gruesome events going on around the world has made me stiff and stubborn. I have developed an impassive attitude towards the brutalities and the injustices people suffer, which we witness on TV and newspapers every day. Sitting in the comfort my living room, safe in my home, I am no longer appalled at the images before me. I simply accept them as a fact of life. Protesting people, rallies and demonstrations fail to move me and I just watch them as a bystander, sometimes even smiling with contempt. So what? It’s all routine. What is the great fuss about?
I see a picture in the newspaper; it is a hooded and wired Iraqi prisoner, standing on a 9” by 9” wooden box. He is repeatedly told by his captors that he will be electrocuted if he falls off the box, so he is desperately trying to balance himself. This picture reminds me of the crucification scene, which I have seen hundreds of time so I remain unaffected and unmoved. A picture of a bearded Iraqi soldier, a dog’s leash around his neck, being dragged by US soldier, finds me, pokes me… and yet it does not pierce my conscious or stir any emotion or empathy… I remain cold.
Glancing through a magazine, I see the picture of a bodiless head of an infant, lying in the rubble of his home in Palestine. He must have been sleeping in the comfort of his own bed when the bulldozers turned the whole town to debris. His eyes are closed and his beautiful face is serene as if he is in a comforting dream. I move on to the next page casually.
Since the 80’s, I have seen pictures, videos and documentaries showing the atrocities of the Indian troops in Kashmir. I have followed the gory story of how the ‘Paradise on Earth’ was turned to ‘Hell in Paradise’. Many a times I have heard and seen the Kashmir Resistance Song on TV. I still remember most of the words. While showing scenes of genocide, torture and the suffering of the Kashmiris; it played…
دنیا کے منصفوں ، سلامتی کے ضامنو
کشمیر کی جلتی وادی میں بہتے ہوے خون کا شور سنو
I hum the tune while it plays in my head…The song starts to pick up pace:
ماں کے سامنے تڑپ تڑپ کر بیٹا مرا
بھائی کے سامنے تار تار بہنوں کی ردا
Still I feel nothing and remain insensitive.
Cities of our Islamic pride, our heritage, our precious books; ruined, burned and abused. Kufa, Najaf and Karbala, reduced to rubble; even a gaping hole in the roof of Hazrat Ali’s shrine stirs no reaction from me.
Now there is this ongoing ‘Gaming’ in Waziristan since 2004, games are exciting and more so if the targets are real and the victims are human, and more rewarding too as the players always win and have nothing to lose.
I see pictures of the aftermath of drone attacks, pictures of a child with half his head blown away, a severed hand, mangled body parts lying here and there, blood splattered clothes of a woman held by her widower, an old woman searching for her medicine amongst the rubble of her house.
Tears are running down my face as I write these lines…but apart from that do not expect any reaction from me as I have become and am dheet…‘dheet’ to the bone!