The suicide bomber

Published: March 2, 2013

My presence here is a matter of pride, to make my father proud in the heavens. PHOTO: AFP

Butterflies. I like butterflies. What attracts me about butterflies is the vibrancy in which they express themselves, being the centre of attention, as they make their way through the fields. I doubt that there has ever lived a person who has despised butterflies. So harmlessly, they decorate our world; like the stars in the night sky, butterflies lighten up the air we breathe in.

It’s sad that I have not seen a real butterfly yet. But I’m sure that one day I will. For the time being, I am happy looking at pictures of them in a book that my friend, Aarash, gives me every Friday after jumma prayers.

Aarash’s father is a popular man in our town. Everybody likes him. Often, he brings lots of things for Aarash when he goes away for a few days. I enjoy spending my time at Aarash’s house. He lets me play his video games too.

I miss the times when I used to stay over at Aarash’s house at night. Sadly, mother does not allow me to spend the whole night at his house anymore. She says that she feels safe when I’m at home, especially since Baba left us for the cause.

On my way back home from the madrassah today, I’ll go to the cricket ground with Aarash. I heard that our national team’s captain has come to our town for a few days and will be playing a match there. Baba is good friends with him. He once came to our house too! Those were the days when Baba used to carry me on his shoulders across the market, and I felt like the tallest boy in the world, even taller than Haadir, my neighbour.

Maybe the captain will recognise me if I meet him after the match. I wish to become a cricketer like him one day. Then I’ll come back to my town and build an even bigger ground here, with grass and seats. And I’ll travel the world, and maybe even get to see real butterflies!

The match has ended.

Sadly I did not get to meet the captain as he seemed in a hurry while going back.

It’s okay.

He played well.

Maybe next time when I’ll come here with Baba I’ll be able to meet him.

What’s this?

There is a strange gloomy air around my home today.

As I enter, I see Aarash’s father and my uncle sitting with my mother, talking to her with a very serious look on their faces. I can’t see my mother’s face behind the veil, but I get the feeling by her gestures that she is tense.

My elder sister did not let me meet my mother and has taken me to our room. I’m trying to ask her what’s wrong but she wouldn’t tell. She’s scolding me and asking me to be patient, and that everything is all right.

I don’t believe her.

I get up and leave the room.

Aarash’s father and my uncle are leaving the house now but before they exit, my uncle lowers himself and says to me,

“You are the man of the house now, son.”

As I try to understand what he’s just said, he adds,

“Take good care of your mother and sister now, will you? You are the man of the house, the son of a shaheed (martyr).

With this they leave; leaving me puzzled and unanswered.

–10 years later–

Sinners, immoral hypocrites, agents of Lucifer and all the evil that exists between the skies and the earth. Murderers of my father, and all the brave men who stood with him! This is a war between the good and the evil, between the right and the wrong, between God and the dark forces.

A war between truth and falsehood, and falsehood will perish, for it is bound to perish.

I am from the league of the oppressed.

My mother aged 24 years in the 24 hours that day, my sister’s family was wrecked the same way.

I ask you.

Can the oppressed also be the tyrants?

Can the victims ever be the villains?

Indeed not!

Thus I am here to set the record straight. My presence here is a matter of pride, to make my father proud in the heavens.

Oh father! Are you not proud of your little boy, whom you used to carry around on your shoulders?

I am here to avenge the brutality that these people have bestowed upon us, father. Soon I shall join you and mother in heaven; soon we shall be together like before. I am coming father. I am coming.

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Mercif–……

*BREAKING NEWS: Loud explosion heard in public gathering. Suicide bombing suspected. Stay tuned for more updates!*

Read more by Ali here or follow him on Twitter @dralirafiq

Dr Ali Rafiq

Dr Ali Rafiq

Doctor, debater, freelance writer and blogger. Graduate of Dow Medical College and winner of various national and international debating and writing competitions. He tweets @dralirafiq

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Javeria

    So beautiful :’)Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    What is so beautiful, blowing up yourself and others too ? Life is given by God and can be taken back only by him. For any human to decide who is to live and who is to die, negates both the concept of God and Religion. I feel very sad to see how human life is being valued and the hypocrisy and duplicity used to justify cold blooded murder. Recommend

  • kinza

    But you should also include the other opinion to this. It was really nice, touchy, but include how they are not fully justified either. Because it would never end this way. Sad.Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)


    Thank you =) My objective here was to present the case purely from the eyes of the suicide bomber. Within this short story, I have given a few hints to suggest the reasons as well. For example, the boy did not know how to read the language in which the butterfly book was written, so he just looked at pictures. I shall leave the rest of them for the readers to discover =)Recommend

  • Faqir Ipi

    There has to be always justifications, monsters, butchers. Af-Pak puppet ruling elite have become apt in this art from their US/UK based masters. The ruling puppets existence depends on tyranny and Baitullah and Hakimullah Mehsuds. They are best guaranties for Karzai, Hotis, Bilours, Zardaris, Kayanis, Chuds, Raja, Rana, Gilanis etc.

    The ugly conscience of the Nation, broadcasts live from TV studios these days, unleashing its collective twisted intellect on us — the usual cocktail of papal passion and a delicate grip on facts, mingling with fiction. Waziristan Genocide has been there for more than 10 years.

    It’s sad that many people not only in West, Af-Pak but everywhere around the world fall for stories that are completely propaganda and are based on the interest of war industry. It goes on and on, pile up of lies, staged events and fabricated evidence. The media propagate without any shame, but for their pains the court, army, FBI, ISI, IB, human rights, NGOs, Police get no more than a gentle rap on their knuckles. Nothing more.

    Masses are supposed to believe that there are two sides to every story, say Waziristan or Tribal Area. There’s ANP/Army/PPP’s side and then there’s TTP/Al-Qaeda side, and both deserve equal coverage.

    Well, such opinion are necessary for Waziristan Genocide and KILLING MASSES FOR 10 YEARS. In fact both sides are same and need each other to fool masses. It goes on and on, pile up of lies, planted stories and fabricated calls. Now, there is inalienable right to be simple and also stupid. But please be stupid with your own life and limb…and let Waziristan genocide be stooped immediately.

    There is always the back story. Like most nameless terrorist and militants with sucide jackets are easy meat. For past 10 years, Waziristan is a victim of torture, blackmail, extortion. In the larger scheme thousands killed , babies, women are nobody. Anyone who was really interested in solving the mystery of these daily bomb blast would have to follow the dense trail of evidence that is not on offer. No one did, thereby ensuring that the real authors of conspiracy will remain unidentified and uninvestigated.

    Because after 9/11, fear has been used widely in the media to manipulate the public in favor of war crimes and genocide and turning over power to elite groups with their own hidden agendas. The nightmare vision of a powerful, united terrorist organization based in Waziristan waiting to strike is largely an illusion. Wherever we look for al-Qaeda, TTP, from the mountains of Waziristan to the OBL sleeper cells in Abbotabbad, every time we will find that we are chasing a phantom enemy.

    In the eyes of media, human rights, NGOs anyone who holds AK-47 and does something against women rights, against US backed puppets governments and NATO military forces are “terrorists al-qaeda” or “Militant group of Taliban”.

    But now that American are preparing for exist and while for next 100 years we run in circles of blame game, I hope our collective conscience for blood has been satisfied. Or is cup of blood still only half full?

    From someone hailing from nearby Wazirtsan.Recommend

  • Raza

    i recommend to add how his father died and add more details in this article to make us aware of the whole storyRecommend

  • gp65

    So someone kiled the boy’s father, so he in turn killed dozens of other boys’ fathers who had nothing to do with his father’s death. Makes complete sense. Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)


    Sir this story is the from a suicide bomber. Unfortunately he has blown himself up and will never really get to know what the whole story was. I hope you understand =)Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)


    Exactly. It doesn’t. But who will tell the boy? Because clearly with the kind of education and exposure he has he will never really realize it on his own.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Ali Rafiq (author): Thank you for responding to me. It is not because no one guided him correctly that the child became a suicide bomber. Quite the contrary, it is because people deliberately misguided him and this is the person he trusted i.e. his prayer leader most likely. It is also the mother who did not guard against the kind of company he was in. With almost the same number of Muslims in India as in Pakistan why is India not known as a hub of terror? A large part of it is also the family that tries to keep the kids away from fasaad. After 26/11 happened in November 2008, a million Muslims give up their Eid celebration in the Eid that came in December in solidarity with the people who died in Mumbai.

    After all, we had insurgency in Khalistan and so many kids lost their fathers. They did not become suicide bombers.

    This siuation is not inevitable. The deliberate radicalization is by design by people wh owant human cannon fodder for their strateic depth. OF course once a person is readicalized, they lose control over who will be harmed by the violence.Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)


    I completely agree with you. This story is in the words of the suicide bomber himself. He feels that his actions are justified. Why he feels this way has also been indicated in this story. I am no political expert to identify WHO has fed him these feelings and for what purpose. And neither is he. At the end of the day, he too is losing his life, just like the scores of people with him.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Feroz: Life is given by God and can be taken back only by him. For any human to decide who is to live and who is to die

    First you say Life can be taken back by God only…….then you say humans decide who is to live or dieRecommend

  • abc

    @Faqir Ipi
    Why don’t you write an article on Waziristan in e-tribune to tell us what really goes on there. Whos killing who? Because when we normal people including the media tries to find something out we get threatened. Why was Imran’s peace march returned? Why did tribals refuse to take camera’s from Jemima Khan when she was willing to help?

    The truth is when something happens infront of you we are more likely to feel sorry for it. Example Hazara killings for which people did eventually raise their voice and forced the world to take notice.

    The problem in these areas is a real one not just one created by people in power to gain money. The fact is tribal areas went un-policed for too long. Every smuggler, kidnapper was allowed space there and eventually this stretched out to militants. How do the tribals suggest we solve this problem?Recommend

  • Sane


    Agreed to your observations.Recommend

  • Stranger

    I think its horrid. Writing an article to justify bombings and killings of any kind should be banned.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Enjoyed the read plus the idea behind it.
    This was somewhat in keeping with the theme of David Ignatius’s fiction ‘ Bloodmoney ‘ which was a great read.Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)


    This is in no way an article justifying bombings. It is a short story written from the perspective of a suicide bomber. Within the story are several indicators that further point out the problem, such as lack of education, limited exposure etc. Also, please note how the boy’s friend, whose father was an influential person in the town, peacefully played video games when the boy was grieving the loss of his father. Kindly try to discover the wider objective of this story, not the face value.Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)


    Murderer should never be justified. Going a step further, the reasons as to why innocent children like the ones in our homes end up becoming murderers in their lives ahead should be sought. The forces that are responsible for brain-washing these innocent minds should be recognized and dealt with. This was the objective behind this story.Recommend

  • Raj

    @author , R u kidding? This is the most idiotic reason for any killer ;There are thousands of people killed in India because of bomb balsts done by Religious Extremists.Do u see all those people becoming suiscide bombers ??

    Am sorry , but if you search , you will find a reason for evrything for even killing a infant baby , which doesnt justify any killingsRecommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)


    Oh dear. I don’t think that you have gone through the comments already posted. I am in no way justifying murder. I am trying to point out how a young innocent mind is brain-washed into committing this heinous act. Through half-baked truths, the use of emotions, and promises of rewards in the Hereafter.Recommend

  • Ali Rafiq (author)

    I would request all the readers to kindly read the story as a diary of a suicide bomber (which was the original title). Imagine it being written by an actual suicide bomber, and not a nut-case trying to justify murder.Recommend

  • http://gujrat salman

    dude, not going to help.Recommend

  • Faqir Ipi

    @ ABC

    According to our mainstream media, NGOs, liberal faciast there are no civilians, Pakistani or Pashtuns. Becuase these can not exist in Waziristan and large parts of tribal area. There are no Wazir, Mehsuds, Dawars, Burkis etc.

    None of those people hailing from Waziristan have Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Uncles, Daughters, Sons, Aunts, Farmers, Bakers, Teachers, Bus Drivers, Technicians, Dentist, Students, School children, Shop workers.

    There are only Islamists, Jihadists, Militants, Terrorist, Alqaeda, Taliban,
    Fundamentalists, Quranists, Militia, Extremists.

    The war profiteers from Greater Mardan, Charsada, Peshawar, Islamabad, Pindi, Lahore, Karachi have their own perceptions, narrative, terminology.

    This is how they dehumanise people they plan to rob and murder to justify it to themselves and each other. This is how they can murder in vast numbers and not feel the need to keep a body count and this is why they have no guilt or remorse. And yes this why they call the murderers heroes.Recommend