Mourning on New Year's Day

I apologize for all of the old blogs that I am re-posting.  This one is a blog I wrote after 100 Pakistani people were killed at a volleyball game on New Year's Day.  The story moved me quite a bit.  Here is the news story.

"Everybody was happy before the explosion, but today we are mourning." Mohammed Qayyum

I cannot imagine what it would feel like to live in this kind of fear. As Americans we live in a fairly safe, stable society. Granted we have experienced significant tragedy in the past ten years, but if we are honest with ourselves we will realize that we will never know what it means to live in a war torn land. To fear each time you go out of your home that you may never see it again and wonder as you sleep at night in your bed if this will be your last day.

Can you imagine what it would be like? Waking up in your bed on New Year's day. Excited about the festivities that your town was having. A volleyball tournament. You think of the night before of how the New Year had been ushered in and you had kissed your loved one and drank a glass of champagne. Looking at the clock you realize that if you do not hurry, you will miss the first game. You leap out of bed, rush to get dressed and grab an apple on the kitchen counter as you head out the door. Racing to the edge of the town, you see all of your friends and neighbors have beaten you to the event.

Finally you find your team mates and your kid brother who always hung around even though you did not like him to. He always tried to do stupid things to impress the girls. It was really embarrassing. "Why don't you just go away?" You ask him. "You're so dumb."

They announce that your team is the first to play and you are glad because you probably would have killed your brother had they not call you. You clear your mind and focus on the games being played. Several are played and you feel elated because your team was doing very well. You look around at the observers and see the smile on their faces, their excitement as they cheer. This is one of the happiest days that your village has had in awhile. You turn back to the net and hit the on-coming ball in your last game. You notice a black car speed up to the edge of the field and within seconds it explodes. That is the last thing you remember before everything goes black.

You wake up in a hospital. One of your friends is near by with a bandaged head and arm. He explains what happened. A suicide bomber. This kind of thing happens all of the time, so you have gotten used to it, but then you see your father rushing into the room and know that something is really wrong. Tears have welled up in his eyes. He kisses your head and exclaims that he is so happy that your are alive and then tells you kid brother died.

"You're brother is dead," Your father repeats again because you do not respond the first time he tells you.

This must be a joke. This could not be real. Several family members had died at the hands of the Taliban in the past, but your kid brother was no threat to them. You feel as if you should have died instead. Instantly you regretted the harsh words you had said to him...wishing that you had let him hang out with you and your friends more...wishing you had one more more minute with him.

You cannot control yourself as you weep with agony and pain.

Almost 100 people died that day. Your town and your family would never be the same.

"Everybody was happy before the explosion, but today we are mourning." Mohammed Qayyum


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