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Page from an electronic diary: Live Malala live!

October 11 2012




Live Malala live! Don’t die for believing in the prayer you sang at school: “May I love the lamp of knowledge, O God (lab pe aati hai doa).” Live for Iqbal’s dua that we all grew up singing at our schools. Live for Pakistan. Pakistan Zindabad, Malala’s Pakistan Paindabad!

This was not the first entry in the diary. It started with a simple prayer for a 14-year old girl struggling for her life after she was shot in the head for demanding the right to attend school.

“Malala, may Allah protect you and give you a long and happy life. Amen!”

The prayer led to the recognition of what an innocent girl had achieved at such a tender age.

“What you achieved at this young age, people do not n their entire lives. You brought love and compassion to millions of hearts. You tried to bring light to those living in perpetual darkness,” it said.

“Today, the entire nation prays for you. Our eyes are wet. Our hearts are heavy. But the light you lit in this darkness cannot be extinguished. You are what a true Muslim should be.”

As it happens with electronic diaries, about a dozen people liked it. But this was not enough. So an appeal followed: “Liking is not enough. Please share your emotions too.”

The first person to respond was Munir Pervaiz, a Pakistani living in Canada. “All friends who are not apologists for the Taliban; resolve that we will prevent these cowards from killing our innocent daughters in the name of religion,” he wrote.

“Let’s remember the bravery of a child who tried to stop the tyranny that the ignorant are trying to impose on our poor motherland.”

Asif Alam, a Pakistani New Yorker, wrote he could “no longer stand Taliban apologists after this incident. Amazing that some leaders are still reluctant to criticise the Taliban! Shame, shame, shame! Get well soon Malala”

Wajih Shah, who did not disclose where he lived, said it was wrong to say that such people were Muslims because they had a strange obsession: Killing innocent children.

When one commentator, N.T. called Malala “an enemy because she liked an enemy (President Barack Obama),” the person who initiated the diary urged him not to do so.

“Our hearts are heavy with sorrow. Our eyes are wet. We are in pain, N.T. Have mercy on us. We will fight you another day. Today, we pray.”

“Really sorry sir if you got hurt,” N.T. responded but continued to attack Malala and praise the Taliban.

This forced the diarist to urge his friends to “stand up and be counted. Let the world know Malala is not alone.”

Michael Siddique, another Pakistani Canadian, urged Pakistani politicians to come out and condemn the Taliban.

“Malala’s fault was that she didn’t agree with your and the Taliban’ version of Islam,” wrote Siddique in a message for Imran Khan.

“CODE PINK, do your homework the next time, you go out to protest along with a politician,” said he while referring to American peace activists who joined Imran Khan’s rally.

“Not just me, most Pakistanis are hurt today. If you have an honest heart, you will acknowledge that the Taliban are a minority in our nation,” wrote the diarist when another Taliban supporter asked why he was so upset.

“But let’s not fight today. Let us pray for her life. May Allah save her, Amen,” he wrote.

N.T., J.A. and I.B. asked why were the liberals so upset over Malala? “Are those killed in drone attacks in Fata not Pakistanis?”

“If Malala dies, ‘ilm,‘ dies, resistance to tyranny dies, the will for progress dies, the desire for redemption dies, the nation dies,” came a response.

Tahira Mussarat Hussain, a Pakistani-American, noted that “Malala is everywhere today. She touched everyone’s heart. She will be fine insha Allah and we will see more Malalas.”

“When hundreds of innocent girls were burned in the Red Mosque, where were you?” asked J.A.

“The attack on Malala is an attack on humanity. Humanity must speak out in one voice against this cowardly attack,” wrote Ahmar Mastikhan.

“As the poet Iqbal prayed, I want our kids – both boys and girls – to pray for knowledge for generations. I want them to express their desire for knowledge without any fear,” wrote the diarist while explain why the attack on Malala hurt him so much.

“This is not about the diarist. This is not about an individual. The whole nation is crying over and praying for this little girl and you have to bring in other issues into it,” wrote Wasim Sajid, while responding to N.T. and J.A.

“Her strength is evident – the ‘powerful men’ feared her enough to target her. That is true power from a 14-year-old,” wrote Orna Wiseman.

“Those rejoicing at Malala’s plight should know that what may happen to them can be worse,” wrote Behroz Khan.

“I do not know much about her apart from what I have read today. Her greatest contribution yet might be that this ghastly incident galvanises the long suffering common people into protesting and fighting the scourge of Taliban in a way that they never did before,” wrote Samir Gupta.

“I also prayed for her,” wrote Ramanuj Ghosh. “As far as I know, Islam never taught this. They are giving a bad name to the religion.”

“Hope she and everybody in this tragedy survive,” wrote Sajjad Haider.

“Let us all donate money so she can get the best care in the world, gets well and once again resists the forces of darkness. We can collectively defeat the evil. I will try to find out where to send money for her treatment,” suggested Mohsin Masood, a US educationist of Pakistani origin.

The author is a correspondent for Dawn, based in Washington, DC

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