My beautiful boys, my murderers
“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” – Carl Sagan
“We killed our mother because she was supporting them.”
Read those words.
Read them again.
In fact, keep on reading them until you can find even the slightest hint of humanity in them. After all, they are the words from a son about his own mother. I have been doing that, in a desperate attempt to find at least some common ground between myself and these people. This was the line that stuck in my head when reading about the chilling story of the latest ‘honour killings’ that took place in Lahore a few days ago.
Two brothers took it upon themselves to ruthlessly rid the world of their own mother and stepsisters. Surely these women must have been the epitome of evil to warrant such a brutal outcome. The mind pleads with the eyes to produce even the most basic of evidence to justify the actions of those brothers. There was none.
The crime of the women in question?
They were of ‘loose character’.
Yes. That’s right. Loose character.
Where can I bury this incident? Whom can I lay the blame on? I need to move on, but I need to satisfy my conscience first, somehow or the other. In the absence of any real justice, I will even settle for a cheap substitute. Please. Just give me something. Anything. My mind needs to just shut up, process this reality, and digest it so that I can move on.
How does one find honour in killing their own mother and sisters?
I am a human being and I need to understand why I do not have the capacity to fathom such a reality.
We have to stop being comfortable. We have to stop thinking about all the good that radiates from amongst us. Forget the Abdul Sattar Edhis and the Malalas or the millions of thoughtful and warm members of this society that work tirelessly to improve the fabric of life. They are there and will always remain. I am afraid, however, that the stains of our sins will destroy the collective purity of any of our good.
A society that does not value death can never truly appreciate life. Our society is on the hunt for blood. We are on a murderous rampage. There is nothing keeping us from taking another life tomorrow. There is no defence. There is no measure of protection. Most importantly, there is no will to stop us. We don’t even name or honour the dead anymore, they are just statistics. The mother’s name was Sughra Bibi and the daughters were Muqaddas and Amna. That is all we know about them. Where is their story? Where the hell is their story?! I want to hear it. I want to mourn their loss by understanding who they were. What did Sughra Bibi like to cook? Where did she grow up? What shows did she like watching? What hobbies did Muqaddas and Amna have? Who were their friends? I need to know this. Do you understand?
This is not just murder. This is something far more chilling and soulless. You see, this is a complete breakdown of the very foundation of what humanity is all about. The women were killed in their sleep from within the safety of their own home by people they considered their own. They had let their guard down because they believed, foolishly, that just like the rest of the world, their family was their protection, not what they needed protection from.
Think about the psyche of a man who is prepared to kill his own mother for anything, let alone something as superficial as in this case. What has to have happened to him to be able to accomplish such levels of barbaric heights? Now, think about the psyche of a man who after killing his own mother and sisters, proudly announces it to the world that he has done so, and believes himself to be a hero of sorts. This is where every facet of logic and reason is thrown out of the window. There is nothing to address this level of inhumanity. What is evident, however, is that we all have blood on our hands. If even one person came out in support of those barbaric sons for the crimes they committed, then as a society, we are failing miserably. If we remain silent and do nothing, we are equally involved in the slashing of those poor women’s throats.
There is only one way to stop this decay of our morality, and that is to fight it. There is no point in trying to reason with those that are capable of such acts. While the long-term solution involves systematic changes in our governance, from education to law and order, there has to be an immediate short term solution. The only solution I can think of is to raise our collective voice. If we can spend weeks and months sitting at dharnas, surely we can spend a few hours protesting about this. We need to publicly shame those sons, ridicule them, embarrass them, and give them the harshest punishment that is allowed in the courts. We need to hold the names of their victims up in the sky for those brutal boys to know whose side we are on. They need to know that our society will continue to honour the victims long after death so that the value of death starts to lose its premium in their sick minds. We need to write to the courts, to the media, on the social networks, anywhere we can so that the rest of the world knows that we will not accept this in our backyard.
I can’t help but imagine what must have been the final few thoughts going through the mother’s mind as she was being killed by her own sons. It could very well have been thoughts of anger and disgust which one could completely understand. Or, it could have been very different. She could have been thinking about how she raised those boys with her bare hands, fed them, bathed them, kept them warm, protected them, and gave them a roof over their heads. Maybe she was thinking about how cute her boys looked as little toddlers running around the house. Maybe she was thinking that even until her last breath, in spite of what was happening to her, she would continue to love her sons. Because that is what a mother does. Will you forget her? Can we afford to forget her?