Saving lives: A teenager’s sacrifice for hundreds of mothers

Published: January 9, 2014

Security personnel examine the site of a sucide bombing in the Ibrahimzai area of Hangu district on January 6, 2014. PHOTO: AFP

HANGU: Perhaps the only way a parent can deal with the loss of a child is to believe that it was for a cause. This is how Aitizaz Hasan’s parents console themselves: reminding each other, their family and friends that their child is a martyr and he died saving hundreds of lives.

Aitizaz reached school late on Monday morning and was not allowed to attend the morning assembly as punishment. He was standing outside the gate with two other schoolmates when a man aged 20-25 years approached the Government High School Ibrahimzai in Hangu and said he was there to take admission, said Aitizaz’s elder brother, Mujtaba.

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It was during this conversation that one of the students  spotted a detonator and Aitizaz’s schoolmates ran inside. But Aitizaz stood his ground and got hold of the bomber who then detonated his vest.

“I had never thought that my brother would die such a great death. He sacrificed his life to save humanity,” Mujtaba said in an interview with The Express Tribune on Wednesday.

The school is the only one in Ibrahimzai, a Shia-dominated area in Hangu. There were nearly 2,000 students in the school at the time the attack occurred. Later in the day, the bombing, which was the first suicide attack at a school, was claimed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Aitizaz was the second of his siblings and had two sisters. He was a friend to many, respected and loved in his village, where the news of his death spread rapidly.

His father Mujahid Ali works in the UAE. He says he has not come back home to mourn his son’s death, but to celebrate his life. “My son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children.”

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“I am ready to sacrifice my second son for Pakistan as well,” Ali added.  “There are a handful of people in the world who are martyrs; I am now one of those proud fathers whose son is amongst them.”

The government should announce a civilian award, Tamgha-i-Shujaat or Nishan-e-Haider, for his bravery, Mujtaba added.

Government officials had not visited the family until Wednesday night and neither had officials made their typical announcements of ‘compensation’.

Teachers and students say they are still in shock. The principal of the school, Lal Baz, said he is at a loss for words to express Aitizaz’s bravery. “The attack targeted education and I am surprised neither the federal nor the provincial government functionary has visited the family. Their silence is condemnable.”

A student, Atif Hussain, said the vacuum left by his death may never be filled. “Aitizaz died for education and no one can snatch this right from us.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2014. 

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Reader Comments (72)

  • RUKHSAR
    Jan 9, 2014 - 1:45PM

    Brave Child.. may Allah Almighty bestow eternal peace to the departed soul and grant his family the courage and resilience to bear this irremediable loss. (Ameen) and he deserve Nishan-e-Haider.Recommend

  • Jan 9, 2014 - 1:49PM

    Government only cares if it is the son of a politician or great personality.

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  • Mohammed
    Jan 9, 2014 - 1:56PM

    May Allah grant you Janat for your bravery. It was you who was the real warrior not the cowards that kill the innocent.

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  • Rehan
    Jan 9, 2014 - 2:08PM

    May his soul rest in peace , and shame on the terrorists!

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 9, 2014 - 2:15PM

    The brave boy must be given highest award of the country.

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  • Pakistani
    Jan 9, 2014 - 2:22PM

    My salute to Aitzaaz for his bravery.. May GOD bless him with highest ranks. Amen!!

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  • Danish
    Jan 9, 2014 - 2:26PM

    Kudos to young boy………… indeed he will dwell in Jannah Ameen

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  • talat haque
    Jan 9, 2014 - 2:42PM

    God bless him and his family ………… a brave soul

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  • Syme
    Jan 9, 2014 - 2:46PM

    Before any national award he deserve the praise and respect of all people of Pakistan. He deserve to be celebrated as the one who stood his ground against the terrorism. Who doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories but has a firm, unshaken belief in humanity and who value the life. The one who calculated the loss of his inaction in jiffy and acted. I salute his teachers and his parents who instill the high moral values in Atizaz shaheed.
    If my fellow citizens can acknowledge his sacrifice that would be the best award for him. This acknowledgement will save us from international embarrassment, loads of APC’s and national confusion.

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  • Rahmat Ali Khetran
    Jan 9, 2014 - 2:46PM

    May His Soul reat in peaceRecommend

  • yp mississauga
    Jan 9, 2014 - 2:51PM

    Salute, rest in peace, what a great sacrifice.

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  • Jan 9, 2014 - 3:17PM

    I have nothing against the little girl but by all means this guy deserves more credit and fame than Malala got. No matter from what moral angle you see it, he deserves more fame and his family deserves more money and help. Unfortunately thats not how world or media work.

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  • fyza gandapur
    Jan 9, 2014 - 3:18PM

    I wish all those peace and bravery awards go to him too that were awarded to Malala. He in fact deserves more.

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  • amit (India)
    Jan 9, 2014 - 3:37PM

    Very brave boy and a courageous, selfless act.

    I hope his sacrifice isn’t in vain – people, government and military of Pakistan should take a stand against terror everywhere – hopefully more such sacrifices wouldn’t be required then.

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  • John
    Jan 9, 2014 - 3:59PM

    This kid is a greater symbol of bravery in the face of terrorism than Malala. Hope the government recognizes his sacrifice.Recommend

  • Haseeb
    Jan 9, 2014 - 4:09PM

    Mashallah. I pray that my kids also follow this example of courage and sacrifice. Proud of this boy instead of so called Malala.Recommend

  • charan
    Jan 9, 2014 - 4:14PM

    RIP brave soul! We need more of your types in India and Pakistan. Hope your sacrifice will not go in vain!Recommend

  • Malik Hamza
    Jan 9, 2014 - 4:22PM

    Brave man . our leaders should feel ashamed that they can’t protect its own peopleRecommend

  • M@NI
    Jan 9, 2014 - 4:23PM

    A nishan e haider would justify the causeRecommend

  • Pacifica
    Jan 9, 2014 - 4:30PM

    The best tribute to his sacrifice would be to WIPE OUT the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi that shamelessly took “credit” for attempting to murder innocent children at a school. Recommend

  • Naveed ul haq
    Jan 9, 2014 - 4:41PM

    Great sacrifices come from great people and only great leaders can recognise the importance of appreciating the sheer bravery of the martyr, its family and the whole community. May Allah help us in eliminating the worst form of terrorism in Pakistan.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 9, 2014 - 5:08PM

    @Haseeb:
    Stop being jealous of Malala. We can be proud of every brave. There are many recipients of Nishan-e-Haider. We love all of them.

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  • Jan 9, 2014 - 5:27PM

    Rest in Peace ! long live those who lives for others ! inshaALLAH Pakistan will always zindabad ! :)

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  • Andrew Sutherland
    Jan 9, 2014 - 5:37PM

    “My son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children.” What a fantastic tribute to his son. Brave young man. May your God welcome you to his kingdom.

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  • Jawad Raza Rajani
    Jan 9, 2014 - 5:44PM

    Salute…..
    @ the Government…. No need now for any medals / recognition for Aitizaz… He is way too above from your standards and we are way too below from his standards.

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  • Malik
    Jan 9, 2014 - 5:49PM

    Subhanallah, Such a lucky Parents who will always be proud to say that their Son saved many other parents from crying”Wato Izzo Mantasha” “Wato Zillo Mantasha” “Allah Jesey Chahe Izzat De” “Allah Jesey Chahe Zillat De Surah Al-Imran Ayat No 26

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  • Awais Hafeez
    Jan 9, 2014 - 5:52PM

    Whoever speaks and stands in the way of oppression and injustice is praise worthy may it be Aitizaz, Malala or many of our soldiers and unknown heroes. This boy sacrificed his life not because he wanted any award or money, he did it because he thought its wrong to kill people and it is unjust. In order to honor his bravery we should stand united against this menace and act against these elements. Lets carry forward his message that we shall do whatever it takes, this boy did whatever he could, he gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life. I Salute you Sir. Lets stand up and be counted.

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  • Jibran
    Jan 9, 2014 - 5:52PM

    The unsung hero of our age. Boys like him will ever be remember in history. Prayers and solace for his loved ones. May he become a star in skys. Amin.

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  • Ammar
    Jan 9, 2014 - 5:54PM

    Innalillah-e-Wa-Inna-Ilaihe-Rajeoon.

    May Allah give peace to his family members. It is strange that this story didn’t catch attention of many big news channels / newspapers in Pakistan. I saw it on BBC website which also had the link to the article on Tribune.
    It was a very brave act and it should be given due acknowledgement. It won’t bring him back or allay the pain of his family but it will send the right message to the shameless takfiri terrorists.

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  • Raghav Gakhar
    Jan 9, 2014 - 5:58PM

    if every person is like him in Pakistan pakistan will finish all terrorism .. respect from India who the brave student .. may your legacy multiplies in Pakistan .. .

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  • Frank
    Jan 9, 2014 - 6:12PM

    A brave boy. And a true hero. May he rest in peace.

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  • Seth
    Jan 9, 2014 - 6:20PM

    He deserves honour,, what a brave heart!
    May his brave soul rest in peace,, AmenRecommend

  • MISHRA
    Jan 9, 2014 - 6:27PM

    I am grateful, O brave one, from depths of my heart, for saving so many of my fellow humans.
    You will live in my memories for rest of my life.

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  • Samuraat
    Jan 9, 2014 - 6:32PM

    @Sarmad Hassan:
    What? Why? Both of them were just as brave. It’s not Malala’s fault she didn’t die and end up being a martyr. Each child made a great sacrifice.

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  • Annie
    Jan 9, 2014 - 6:35PM

    I´m a secular person – so not religious at all. However, the bravery, selflessness and humanity of this child is extraordinary. It´s a lesson for us all. We may not be perfect people, or strong, we may even show up to school late and have to stay outside, but we all have the power to make a difference. Make the world a better place. My thoughts and best wishes are with his family and friends.

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  • Imtiaz
    Jan 9, 2014 - 6:53PM

    Our hope remains as long as Aitizaz’s spirit is alive. Martyrs never die.

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  • David Juma
    Jan 9, 2014 - 6:53PM

    Aitizaz is not only a hero to the Pakistan people but to the whole world. His action is really touching……lets not mourn, lets reflect and celebrate his deed to the humanity.

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  • Waraila
    Jan 9, 2014 - 7:11PM

    It’s a shame that such a brave boy had to die to prevent a tragedy, those that carry out attacks such as this should be ashamed of themselves. They aren’t heroes to anyone, they’re murderers.

    Aitizaz is a true hero, giving his life for his friends.

    From England, giving my respects to such a brave teenager and yet wishing that such bravery wasn’t needed

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  • Paul
    Jan 9, 2014 - 7:32PM

    Hope this young hero gets the highest honour possible, rest in peace young man you saved the lives of many.

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  • Hailstorm
    Jan 9, 2014 - 7:53PM

    You are truly an inspiration and hope your bravery and courage is not forgotten… bless you ‘:(

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  • Azmat Khan
    Jan 9, 2014 - 8:07PM

    Great child and great parents.The deceased should be honoured and family compensated.

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  • Indian
    Jan 9, 2014 - 8:17PM

    I’m speechless at such bravery & sacrifice.
    Martyrs are immortal.
    Rest in eternal peace,Aitizaz.
    You’ll never be forgotten.Recommend

  • Arsalan Mustafa
    Jan 9, 2014 - 9:07PM

    I believe if it was Malala or someone that may highlight the agenda of west, then Aitzaz would have received celebrity status. Since he died for a cause who cares…

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  • Kazimierz
    Jan 9, 2014 - 9:38PM

    Aitizaz is a true hero.

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  • Raj - USA
    Jan 9, 2014 - 10:08PM

    He is not just brave but I admire his conviction to stand his ground and fight the terrorist. Every political and religious party should place his portrait on their podium in any of their jalsas and also praise his bravery and the noble cause for which he sacrificed his life. Will Imran Khan do it or will he talk about Gaznavi’s conquests only?

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  • Katherine Teakle
    Jan 9, 2014 - 10:40PM

    Your outstanding bravery and selflessness will be honoured Aitizaz….my deepest condolences to your family, and everlasting peace for your pure heart.Recommend

  • Stephen Rodger
    Jan 9, 2014 - 10:54PM

    As a member of the Commonwealth shouldn’t The Queen make an award for this young man’s bravery? Recommend

  • chris chapman
    Jan 9, 2014 - 10:58PM

    @Sarmad Hassan: You are not the only one to make that sort of comment but in my opinion, they are both deserving of respect and recognition. They are both heroes but for different reasons. This boy made a split-second decision to stop a madman and that certainly makes him a hero. Malala on the other hand chose to put her life at risk for a cause that is worth it, the education of girls, but didn’t go looking for a showdown. That was the cowards that jumped on a school bus and shot a child to prove their “manhood”. Recommend

  • Robert Paxton
    Jan 10, 2014 - 12:27AM

    An incredlbly selfless act from Aitizaz Hasan, he stood to gain nothing but respect. My sympathies go out to the family of this young man, they must be very proud of him.

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  • Israr
    Jan 10, 2014 - 12:31AM

    He showed if girl student like Mala can do what she did, this is how young boys of the nation can do when the moment arise. He showed the nation how to stand on the face of such coward barbarians. Need to see how the authorities responds to a selfless heroic act. Words just can’t do enough in appreciation of his scarifies.

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  • Usman Chaudhry
    Jan 10, 2014 - 12:35AM

    Is there a fund set up for him and his family?

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  • Jan 10, 2014 - 12:57AM

    A brave young man, above and beyond.
    Such a tragedy that he had to die for his bravery, and such a waste that anyone should have to die that day at all.
    Lashkar-e-Jhangvi should feel nothing but shame in that their actions robbed the world of one such as Aitizaz Hasan.

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  • Teddy Aceves
    Jan 10, 2014 - 2:13AM

    I will place his name on every paper I write. Every story I tell. Every poem I sing. HIs family gives honor to the world. What love of community these good people show. They are proud of their son’s love for what is right. He shows the love of God to the world.

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  • Jason M
    Jan 10, 2014 - 2:14AM

    This boy was a true representative of what humanity should be. To all the people who have posted here recognizing his bravery and selfless act of sacrifice, good for you to recognize such a noble act. I am not of any Islamic faith, but I believe Allah will take care of this one and his family. To those who believe the actions of the bomber were justified, and to any who think killing others in the name of religion is right, see for yourselves what a true martyr is. I hope that the people of Pakistan and the government there provide him the respect that his character and actions deserve.

    Best wishes and peace to all in Pakistan from Canada.

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  • Kanwal
    Jan 10, 2014 - 2:55AM

    Pakistan has a bright future if we have such kids amongs us. Malala and Itezaz. Bravo to your spirits.

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  • Jan 10, 2014 - 2:57AM

    R.I.P.

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  • Bruce Healey
    Jan 10, 2014 - 3:42AM

    This young man is a true hero and inspiration. His family, while terribly sad, should take pride in what he did, and must know that his actions inspire the world far more than the futility that the terrorists hoped to achieve.
    Pakistan’s children inspire us! First Malala stood up to evil and triumphed. Now Aitizaz has made the ultimate sacrifice, but in doing so, told the world a story about the courage of his people – which contrasts like the shining sun against the dark cloud of cowardly terrorism.
    May Allah the Most Merciful take Aitizaz into Paradise by the hand and bless him.

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  • Ollie B
    Jan 10, 2014 - 4:09AM

    I read this story re-posted on the BBC website. All I can say is that he was a truly amazing and brave young man. His family and community should be proud of his sacrifice and I hope he is recognized by the government for this.

    Aitzaz Hasan, rest-in-peace.

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  • Dody Bush
    Jan 10, 2014 - 4:46AM

    Such a wonderfully brave young man to save so many. I pray his mother doesn’t cry for long over his absence, but finds peace in knowing she help to create a man that would save so many. He was raised right. His parents should both be proud. If the world were filled with such young men, evil would not find a heart to dwell in.

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  • Anoni
    Jan 10, 2014 - 9:33AM

    My “Hero”

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  • Ali
    Jan 10, 2014 - 9:39AM

    Not only people of Pakistan but people around the world stand beside you. Comments from father of the brave son is commendable. You truly saved hundreds of mother crying for their own children but I am sure thousands of father’s, mother, brothers & sisters will have tears in their eyes for you. May Allah bless your soul in peace.

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  • Aryobarzan Sardari
    Jan 10, 2014 - 11:38AM

    with all my condolences, I heard about the sad incidence and cried for Aitizaz Hasan. My name is Aryobarzan and I study in the second grade of an elementary school. His mother will see him in the sky.

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  • Saeed
    Jan 10, 2014 - 11:52AM

    Nobody in world can beat us if we have soldiers like him in our nation….. proud of you my Hero… I wish i can do something like him in my life ♥

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  • patriot
    Jan 10, 2014 - 12:13PM

    @Raghav Gakhar..Thank you very much Raghav for your appreciation. Indeed, we need more people like Aitizaz to crush these cowards.

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  • powvow
    Jan 10, 2014 - 1:08PM

    Its a pity that Pakistanis have to ‘appreciate the sacrifice’ of a 15-year old, when he should not have been in the situation in the first place.
    Lost in the appreciation of the bravery of this child, is any discussion of a scenario wherein the bomber had his way.
    Imagine the havoc, created by detonating a bomb in the midst of 2000 children. Let the valour of this child not overshadow the grim prospect that can happen anytime again.

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  • Gurion
    Jan 10, 2014 - 1:11PM

    When will Pakistanis realize that they are running out of good people?

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  • kamran
    Jan 10, 2014 - 2:06PM

    But poor politicans of this country still rank this Brave kid lower than Malala… Shame on us

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  • Anon Ymous
    Jan 10, 2014 - 10:39PM

    A great lesson and a great victory! Many people try to be great keeping their good life and wealth, but this boy overcame evil by dying. Thank you Islam! You taught us (Christians) a lesson which we are forgetting, that the only way to overcome is to give our life for others. The only object of comparison I find with this boy is Jesus Christ, who overcame sin by dying. Strange conclusion… But those who give their life in the battle are the winners. When is the World going to learn the lesson?

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  • Gupshup
    Jan 11, 2014 - 2:00AM

    Is the nation sad enough to Celebrate this brave young man?

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  • Michael Carlon
    Jan 11, 2014 - 5:54AM

    Does anyone know if there is a fund for the family? What a brave boy!!!

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  • Susan
    Jan 15, 2014 - 12:03AM

    The most precious angel! I pray his shining courage shames all terrorists into renouncing evil! My heart goes out to his parents, and pray that shared grief is, indeed, lessened. We are all diminished by this precious boy’s passing, but we are all uplifted by his actions and example! May his memory prove a blessing!

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  • Joseph Marron
    Jan 21, 2014 - 3:11PM

    It is very sad indeed that this young man died in such a fashion. Brave, selfless, full of love and care for his friends and colleagues, he is a wonderful example to us all. He has certainly inspired me to be a better person. I hope his actions persuade at least some potential bombers to change their minds. Recommend

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