Tragedy in Pakistan: Peshawar’s horrifying loss
On Dec. 16, around 11 in the morning, the Taliban attacked a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing an unconfirmed number of people, somewhere between 145 and 150, 132 of them schoolchildren.
The attack was not on education itself, or even education of girls. Most children killed in the incident were young boys between the ages of 12 and 16. This school was targeted because most of the children’s parents opposed the Taliban rule. The number of injured and dead was so great that a sign was posted outside the hospital with information parents could look at to see if their children had survived or not. Pakistan, and the world as a whole, are still reeling after this tragedy and the previous one in Australia, only a day before.
Many of the students have come out since the attack, speaking about their experience and the incident as a whole. Some of them spoke of the bravery of their teachers, who gave their lives to protect and save these children. Once such woman, according to mirror.co.uk, was Afsha Ahmed. She told the men attacking that they would only harm her children “over my dead body.” The men then threw gasoline on her and burned her alive, but those children she protected got away.
One of her students, Irfan Ullah, tells of her bravery and selflessness, recounting her last words as “I won’t see my students lying in blood on the floor.”
During the time directly after, hospitals were experiencing a shortage of blood from the staggering amount of injured. News broke out of the shortage on Twitter and hundreds of Pakistani people gathered together outside in a rudimentary hospital to donate blood to those that so desperately needed it. The attack lasted seven or so hours before the last gunman was taken down. According to firstpost.com, Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister, has declared a three-day national mourning for these lost citizens.
Statements from the aftermath, provided by mirror.co.uk and firstpost.com:
“They finished in minutes what I’d lived my whole life for, my son. I can’t wait to join him. I can’t live anymore.” – Akhtar Hussain, father of Fahad, a boy killed.
“I saw army instructors falling on the ground first. I saw many of my friends getting bullets on their heads, chests, arms and legs. Their body parts and blood were flying like small pieces of cotton in the class room. Warm blood and flesh of my friends fell on my face and other parts of my body. It was horrible.” – Ehsan Elahi, survivor of the attack.
“I felt so selfish as we ran to save our lives instead of trying to save our teacher who sacrificed her life for our better tomorrow.” – Irfan Ullah, student of Afsha Ahmed.
“I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us.” – Malala Yousafzai, spokeswoman and survivor of a previous Taliban attack.
“It is a national tragedy. Those were my kids, my loss.” Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister, in a statement concerning the incident.