For teaching me what it means to
be a human being. For
jarring me out of my overpriced, overprivileged stupor and
reminding me of what's important. For being the bravest
fuckin person I will never meet.
When you're mentioned in the
news or social media it's to
push some narrative or the other: PTI supporters link your
death to the drone strikes, anti-PTI supporters to PTI's
lack of action against the Taliban, you are labeled as being
so much more heroic than that stupid Malala, the
government is blamed for not honoring you fast enough, and
on and on, until all possible permutations from within the
quagmire of Pakistani politics are exhausted. The media
vultures squaw at each other around these issues on their
high pitched, rabid talk shows, and ask 'what more could we
have done', when really all they mean is 'how do we twist
this story to further the narrative we're getting paid for'.
And of course, suicide bombers the world over are way
pissed at you.
But that's typical. Everyone just wants to push forward
their own agendas, for which you are but a dead pawn, a
talking point, a showpiece. They miss the real magic of what
you were all about, because in their insular pursuit of 'The
Story', they've forgotten what humanity means. They
obfuscate the real lessons in an attempt to put the next guy
Because the truth, at it's
bare-bones, is that you were
simply a kid, man. A 9th grader. Yet a total rockstar. I've
always known people like you were out there, kings and
queens and giants amongst men, toiling away in little towns,
accepting your lot in life, yet putting the rest of us to total
shame just by virtue of your rockstarness. Of course all we
can do is chatter about the 'Big Picture'. We find it too
hard to come to terms with the incredible nature of your
You saved your friends by
tackling a suicide bomber and
forcing him to detonate.
That blows my mind. I can see it now, big kid that you were,
one bearhug from you would have stopped that bastard in
his tracks. He had no other option but premature
detonation. And that was that for the both of you. Disaster
averted, mission failed, hero lost.
I've put myself in your shoes many times. And truth be
told, I would not have done what you did. I would have made
noise, made some phone calls to friends inside to get out,
but kept my distance. I would have assisted in the relief
effort later on, dragging bodies out of the rubble. I would
have attended the funerals of my class-fellows, my
teachers, my friends. I would have lingered on, scarred for
the rest of my days by the haunting sense that I could have
But you, you saved your friends
by tackling a suicide
bomber and forcing him to detonate.
I have no words for that.
Thinking about it fills me with
pride and leaves me teary eyed at the same time. You
represent the best of the best of what this country can
produce, kid from 9th grade from a school in Hangu. And
you are no more.
So all I can say is thank you,
Aitzaz Hasan. Thank you for
giving me hope and reminding me that bowing down or
fighting is the only thing we have to decide when faced with
conflict. Thank you for teaching me what's important in this
little fart of a life: courage, goodness, selflessness, loyalty,
friendship. And what's unimportant: ego, selfishness,
material gains, petty disputes, fear. Thank you for
reminding me of everything I love about the Pashtuns, those
human cocktails of brash, valiant positive energy. Thank
you for giving me something to aspire to.
If I am ever in that situation
I'm going to do what you did,
Aitzaz. Simply to honor the memory of the bravest fuckin'
human I will never meet.