It was the day before Chanukah

peshawar-india
It was the day before Chanukah
And all through the school
Children wrestled and tussled
But not to be cruel
This was home for them all
A place of content
A refuge
A dream
Hours well spent

 

In the main auditorium
Gathered to learn first-aid
A teacher leapt up
To prevent those on stage
Burned her to death
In front of their eyes
Final cut, final image
For those who survive

 

The day before Chanukah
A blood soaked mourn
Hearts bleeding out blood
Parents forlorn
Gather bodies and books
Cellphones
Shattered glasses
Wounded souls
Scarred for life
Won’t return to classes

 

No more physics
Just revenge
Only one thing in mind
No more engineering
Just revenge
Hatred can blind
It was the day before Chanukah

 

I write this poem as parents and relatives sift through the carnage and rubble to find remnants of their beloved ones in Peshwar. Other parents and relatives nurse those who are recovering from their wounds; others hug those who are left scathed with the sights and sounds of senseless murder.

 

Two boys who survived are in hospital recovering from wounds.

 

Mehran Khan, 14, was shot with three bullets – in the hand, leg and back. Khan said from his hospital bed that cricket used to be his main passion before the attack. His life has changed forever; he will not rest until the meaningless deaths of his classmates have been avenged. “I am angry. I’m a physics student but now I don’t want to be an engineer. I want to get out and take revenge for all the deaths. The ones who killed, my friends. I will not rest until I finish them.”

 

Aamir Ameen, 18, was at a chemistry exam when the attack started. He fainted after taking a bullet in his hip. The assailants left him for dead. “When I woke up, everyone around me was bleeding and dead. I stayed silent and lay there quietly for hours. When I saw army officers run past I started screaming and they rescued me.” Ameen’s life has changed forever; he does not know how he will get over the loss of his friends and teachers. “I want to get better and get out and help people. All the people who helped save my life, I want to do something for them.”

 

On the day before Chanukah Rabbi Jamie Arnold melodically sang to our faculty a Chanukah song:

 

Bring some light into the darkness,
bring some darkness to the light
As we dance among the shadows
flickering in black and white

 

All things dark are not just evil,
all things light are not just fine
Can we learn to bless our difference,
God in your face, God in mine.
May this be our blessing over the Chanukah lights.

 

David’s blog will return the week of January 5th.

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