An open letter to a terrorist

To the man who shot my parents,

It took me a while to digest the news. It took me a while to accept that someone could be so far gone as to not reflect on his deeds, to be incapable of empathizing.

When the news was brought to me, I was picking out a cake for their anniversary. Do you understand what that means? Because I don’t think you could be half as dedicated to your religion as they were to each other; or perhaps you don’t understand because it isn’t inscribed carefully enough in the Quran. I could use bigger words, playing with sentences was something my grandfather taught me well. But I fear that you will not understand those either.

Is your god so weak that he needs you to defend him?

I pity you. I pity you because you will never know the soothing sound of a mother’s lullaby or her soft gentle hands that put you to sleep. I pity you because clearly your father never taught you what it means to be a man. I pity you because your world is built on violence and sadism instead of love and compassion. Mostly, I pity you because all you will ever know of this beautiful world is guns and destruction.

You see, I was ten when my mom told me and my brother that death was natural. I wish I understood then, she was just subtly telling me that she and dad won’t always be around. I wish I’d finally learnt how to make that ginger tea and sew a button on occasion.  I wish I could make dad proud before you decided to take him away.

But then I realized something. I realized that my father was proud that I wasn’t raised like you. That they know the value of the knowledge they passed on and they know I was better than seeking revenge. I realized people miss them, they will always hold that special place because we won’t allow them to be lost into oblivion. But you? Your own damn god will be placing a bet on your death, and you will be forgotten like the remaining ashes of a fire that caused nothing but fear and loss. You will roam these empty streets as mere shadows of the past. You will learn that words are mightier than a sword; mighty enough to help collapse an entire world once uttered, mighty enough to destroy lives.

I remember when mother spoke the most beautiful lies in the world to me, cradling my head in her lap, she spoke of unicorns and rainbows built on promises of a better world. Now, those lies are stuck under the debris along with her remains and with them lies my heart, sanity and humanity.

As I walk around the city, I survey the remains of the battleground. Hearing the echoes of the cries that helped build this ground brick by brick and have now broken it missile by missile.

If you win, know, that the taste of victory will be as bitter as acid on your tongue and the tears that were shed and wounds that bled will hang like an albatross around your neck. You may conquer the world, but with no one left to inhabit it.

Regards

The girl who will smile regardless.

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The diary entry of a Syrian Child (OPINION)

28 January’17                                                                                                                         9:49am

Saturday

It was just when I thought that our wandering days were over, and the house had started to feel like a place we could call home. Even though ammi was still missing and it had been a week since they said it’ll take forty two hours to locate her. I was struggling to bring some bread home, for we had to live on something. My sisters couldn’t go to school, because they said on the radio that it was unsafe to step out of the third refugee shelter we’d been in this year. They said that countries have declared the actions of those cruel men as ‘acts of war’ and as a result, it was we who would pay the price. They call us monstrous and evil; they say Muslims don’t deserve to live.

Ammi and abbu would read to us every night, I distinctly remember the night we first lost our homes,[ Qur’an 5:52] “whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind”, Then how can they say we propagate violence, who is to let them decide that we shall be punished for the wrongdoings of shallow and pity-worthy men, who know not of love and benevolence. Had they been brought up under the guidance of the mullah who engraved in our hearts the verses of the Qur’an, they would know the true essence of faith.

How will I console my little sister, at the mere age of five, that she may have lost her beloved ammi forever? Who will promise to uphold the virtues of our religion, if people continue to destroy its sanctity? How will I provide to my family and tell them that I would sacrifice myself to ensure their safety? It makes me laugh to think of the representatives at the United Nations; living in lavish houses, all promises of safety upheld, using fancy words to empathize with our pain. What do they know of true hopelessness? When your belief in Allah is the only thing that keeps you going.