Grieving for Pakistan, and very angry, too

peshawar enoughPerhaps you know now that on December 16, Taliban massacred more than 130 schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan; death tolls are greater than that, and injuries even higher.

I grieve for Pakistan. I grieve for the hope we temporarily shared when Malala overcame the Taliban’s cruelty, and we prayed they had learned their lesson, but know now that they will never, as we watched that hope die with the children. I grieve for the children and the families brutalized by this tragedy. I grieve for those who have died and for those who must continue living without them. And I am overcome by loss.

But more so than that, I am angry.

I am angry that Pakistan has been damaged again and splashed across the headlines as this heinous, primitive country.

I am angry that Islam has been slandered again and splashed across the headlines as this violent, heinous, primitive religion.

I am angry that these extremist groups who pervert my faith and destroy lives in the name of Islam are seen as representative of all Muslims within the media.

I am angry that people continue to call upon Muslims to speak up, to apologize for these atrocities, and condemn the perpetrators; I grieve like you and I roundly condemn them, but I was not responsible and I will not admit complicity or guilt by apologizing, because this is not my fault.

I am angry that I have to defend my faith and my choices at every turn because of lunatics like these. I am angry that I have to constantly guard my actions and be aware of what people could generalize to being a “Muslim” thing, just because a Muslim did it, because let me just tell you it is exhausting to constantly think that.
I am angry that I have to be a constant advertisement to what a Muslim is; I am one imperfect human being. I am angry that people think I do not belong in this country because I am a Muslim.

I am angry that when I see the news and “Pakistan,” “Muslim,” or “Islam” are written there, neither my country nor my faith will be accurately represented.

I am angry that when I grieve for the loss of life and I pray for healing, I am seen as insincere or hypocritical, because the murderers also labelled themselves Muslim.

I am angry that these attacks keep happening and I feel useless to stop them. I am angry that I have to feel personally responsible for ending them, even if they were not my fault, because everyone keeps calling on the Muslim community to stop the brutality.

I am angry that the Taliban and other extremist groups so easily get away with saying whatever they want and labelling it Islam, and the popular news media does not question it; they say they murder little girls because they dared to get an education, but the Qur’an says every child, regardless of gender, should be educated and that mothers should be educated; they murder “Westerners” because they see them as infidels, but again they disregard the scripture and mercilessly destroy lives.

I am angry that this keeps happening. I am angry because I know this will feed into the justification of the recently-released CIA Torture Report; “see, they deserve no less than torture, this bloodbath is what we tried to stop with our ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’”

I am angry because I can practically see the hatred and fear that these attacks will incite against Muslims.

I am angry. So angry. And I don’t know what to do.