The suicide bomber

Published: March 2, 2013
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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 twitter.com/dralirafiq

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