Sadia Abbas in Dawn:
Words ought to fail us. But we can't afford the luxury of that failure anymore than we can afford the luxury of all the other potential failures staring us in the face as this phase of the 21st century performs a fractured, farcical, obscene repeat of the third decade of the twentieth.
Bombs. Suicide attacks. Drones. Bodies of Baloch youth turning up tortured and destroyed on roadsides. Death is the norm as alliances implode. America, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia bicker like graceless divorcees who don't know how to move on. You might call the jihadis children of this marriage, but in this custody battle, everyone fights to give away the children who, in turn, are determined to eat their parents. Vitriol against Muslims and Mexicans sweeps America, internment camps, repatriation, walls, bans on travel. Amidst declining oil prices and more disasters to come, the Saudis crush dissidence and abduct their own princes in luxury airplanes: rendition for the oil rich. Pakistan reaps the brutal, devastating benefits of years of state policy, grandly bankrolled by the US and Saudi Arabia. And no. Not just the cultivation of the jihadis in the service of delusions of regional grandeur and “strategic depth,” all other kinds managing to elude our “leaders.”
…People point out that more Muslims died than Christians. Is this consolation or schadenfreude? In any case, what do we with that fact? To what end does one point this out if one is a Muslim? Are we addressing the jihadis? As in: you killed the wrong people. Is that an implicit acknowledgement that killing the right people is well…right? I don't think that's what people mean when they point out the attack killed more Muslims than Christians. It does, however, seem a symptom of a profound moral aphasia. Out of which side of our mouth do we speak when we do point it out? What does it mean that this was an attack on Christians at Easter and the Muslims were just collateral damage? Let's try to be precise in our grief and rage and list some names: Bishop John Joseph, Shantinagar, Manzoor Masih, Ayub Masih, Gojra, Rimsha Masih, Aasia Bibi, the twin church blasts in Peshawar, Shahbaz Bhatti and…memorise this list. Expand it. Write an unconsoling history.
Now add the names of the dead of Lahore. All of them. And mourn, all of us, together.