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Blood on my hands
By: Editor | 27-12-2012
Total Views:721

I sat in the stifling atmosphere. Stifling because not only was I jammed in a room full of sweaty, women crying their hearts out but the atmosphere of grief. That sorrow, some of it real, some not so real, was making me feel claustrophobic. Closed in. Boxed in. The women sobbed more loudly. I felt someone jam a sharp elbow in my back as they pushed forward. Surely this pushing, shoving and general disregard for any form of etiquette was not in the spirit of the month? I decided to ignore it. After all, I suppose they were grieving. They were grieving. Grieving. Mourning. I mourned too but I mourned differently. They mourned the people, the loss and the death of the people. I mourned the injustice, the death of Justice. On the eve of that massacre not only human lives were killed. Justice died along with them.

Justice. Insaaf. A different language but the same meaning. Justice. A pause. A moment for self reflection. How many times did I disregard injustice? How many times did I turn a blind eye? How many times? And each time, Justice died. And each time it happened, a drop of blood was spilled. A drop of blood. And we all had blood on our hands. Blood. Life. We all had blood on our hands. Blood that would never wash off. No matter how many times we tried to scrub it off it would stay. Leave a stain. We all had blood on our hands. The woman’s loud screeching began again and the thoughts broke. Shattered.

The women sobbed. Loud. Mournful. Wailing. The people recited nohay. Their voices seemed loud, shrill. My ears were ringing. They stood up, as if on cue. I slowly got to my feet, stumbling slightly over my large black shawl. Thump thump. They began beating their chests. Matam Sobs. Shrill singing. Thump thump. My head ached. The room was uncomfortably warm. My conservative collar seemed all too constricting. I tugged at it. Beads of perspiration formed on my forehead. Sobs. Sweat dripped. Drip drip. The sounds seemed to blend together. The ringing in my ears grew stronger. Thump thump. I looked around the room. My vision was hazy. The woman’s loud screeching. Ya Hussein! Ya Hussein! A man who stood in the face of injustice and fought. We all had blood on our hands.

The room seemed to close in on me. Images, one after the other, burst into my mind. They overflowed. A little girl tapping on the car window, hand outstretched. Who are we to decide who is in need and who is not? An injured animal limped its way across the street. It was hurting. A group of taunting girls surrounding a smaller one. Her eyes were full of sadness and fear. And I had ignored all of them. I had blood on my hands.

The majlis finished and we walked out holding the niaz. I gripped the food tightly and took a seat in the air-conditioned car. My sister chatted happily with my mother. I looked out the window. The sun beat down on the road, almost spitefully. An old man struggled with his heavy burden. Two children tormented a grey, weather beaten donkey. A woman sat dejectedly on the side of the road, trying desperately to sell her wares. She clutched the child she was holding more tightly.

I had blood on my hands.

(courtesy: jang News)

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