Suddenly, they came for me

People were being killed, murdered, raped or blown into pieces, but that was never me; they were just numbers.

Kanza Naheed March 10, 2013
Not long ago there was a time when I was relatively safe. I was someone who was a relative majority, and as far as the constitution and power went, my life was sacred.

My city, however, was never safe. Someone or the other was always being killed, shot, murdered, raped, kidnapped, tortured, or blown into pieces and then burnt alive, but that was never me.

Those were just statistics and numbers.

Those were just faceless names and nameless corpses.

Life went on and the riots escalated. The escalation initially was in far flung areas and thus not pertinent enough to my situation. Yes, maybe they mattered to someone somewhere, but that someone wasn’t me. I couldn’t care less.

I kept living and believing that life wouldn’t pass me by. I would live to see it all. I would live to become what destiny had chalked out for me. So I kept living, oblivious to all that happened around me.

One thing I had picked up a long time ago from the cowards of my society was to never wear your heart upon your sleeve or your beliefs around your neck. Thus I had removed both, wrapped them in a cotton cloth, put them in the lowest section of my cupboard, locked the cupboard and lost the key.

This was the recipe for success after all, everyone knew that.

Success was defined by becoming an intellectual bigot; anyone who felt or believed was of course an imbecile. The vaguer you were about these things, the better your life would be, that was what was written in the doctrine after all.

Many years went by, the situation remained the same. I won’t say it became worse because as long as I was living in my 2x2, it would to the best of my knowledge be safe to live in my space. I was after all unaffected and over protected.

It never mattered.

Pictures, cakes, weddings, vacations -- all of these memories started piling up one after the other until life became insufferable perfection.

Life was punctuated by those badly scripted action sequences where someone you knew had been held at gun point and given away their latest smartphone willingly.

What was ‘gun point’ anyways?

To the best of my knowledge, it was a negotiation tactic - a rebellion of sorts, very much similar to when kids want to run away from home. I suppose your mental peace gone in the blink of a second does little to your shake your belief system. No, this is what God wanted, salvation will come and we will redeem ourselves. So what if things are bad?  They can’t always be bad, right? No they won’t, even if they are, you won’t be affected. Don’t worry.

When it happened, it took me some time to register the whole thing.

Those milliseconds before the scream were hours in my head.

While all the theories of life and society echoed in my mind, the logical argument formation kept rolling until reality seemed unreal and unforgiving.

I was standing next to a corpse; can corpses bleed?

The familiar face had an expression of pain and shock, yet the eyes were blank.

Did I know them? I had reason to believe I did. Someone was tugging the body, trying to revive it. It seemed absurd. It was beyond redemption.

There was no hope, no salvation.

Someone was checking the ID card to identify and inform loved ones. The realisation hit me and a scream escaped my lungs. Suddenly I knew who it was but couldn’t speak.


Because it was me.
Kanza Naheed Loves travelling, art, beaches, and shoes. In that order. She tweets @KanzaNaheed
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