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Collateral Damage: Diary of a young girl

20 October

The night was filled with the noise of panicking people running around to save their lives. I woke up to see but my mother asked me to pull the blanket over my face and sleep. I could hear explosions behind the mountain. In the early springs, I like to go to the mountain and feel the brush of fresh air over my face. I cannot go there anymore.

My friend Sana has got a new born brother. I and my mother are going to see her tomorrow. My father tells that the baby has got olive coloured hair. I want to touch him and play with him.

24 October

My Grandfather came today. He says that twelve people were killed on the mountains by American drones. He knows one of the men that were killed. His name was Jameel and he used to herd sheep. We bought a sheep from him last Eid. It had the softest fur that I had touched.

Father says that Jameel was not a radical. He was a good man. But the drones flying above the air cannot differentiate between the good and the bad.

We went to Sana’s home to see her baby brother. He smiled at me. I smiled back and kissed him.

26 October

America is a big and powerful country on the other side of the globe. My father says that the people in America are very rich. The Americans live a good life compared to us, without any fear or any poverty.

Our beautiful valley has been taken by religious fanatics. They say that we cannot go to school. They say that girls should stay at home and should not wear colourful clothes. But I love reading. When Quran was revealed to our Prophet, the first commandment of Allah was to read.

28 October

American drones killed 7 people yesterday that included 2 women also. The women are not terrorists. They do not wield any guns or bombs. They are housewives and they struggle to meet family needs at home. I feel sad for their death.

Why not the Americans understand? Not everyone here wants to harm them. Some of them are just fathers who have lost their sons in war – The war against Afghanistan in which America helped us. Some are brothers whose sisters were killed in similar drone attacks.

30 October

Nobody will feel better than me if the Taliban are pushed out of our beautiful valleys. I want to study and become a Doctor. I want to heal people like Allah does.

American drones have killed some of those Taliban’s but they have also killed many of our own. They have left many babies without their father. They have left many women without their husbands. Can America feel our pain? Your love hurts us.

2 November

It is getting chilly here. I feel terrible, coughing all night. There were explosions very near to our house. American drones blew my school because some Taliban were hiding in it. It was the only school I had. I can fill a cup with my tears. Sometimes I do not understand about who is our real enemy- America or Taliban?

3 November

My father says that we will have to move to Islamabad from this place. I do not want to leave my beautiful heaven. American drones have killed many Taliban and I feel happy for that. But the drones have also killed many innocent people. My mother was picking firewood in the forest last evening and there was a blast very near to her.

Father says that America is not concerned about us. It is only concerned about its own people. If one American dies, drones will kill a hundred of us. We are not people to them. We are Collateral damage- a damage that was unintentionally done to secure the life of important people. The dreams of our children do not mean anything. Sana’s father has decided to stay back in the valleys. I pray for him and his family to Allah.

[ I am Fiza, the wind over the mountains, the clouds over the sky. I am not and can never be collateral damage. When you kill me, tell everyone that a 14 year old girl who wanted to become a doctor and who liked to pick flowers in spring has died. Please, do not call me Collateral damage. ]

This diary is not real. But the pains reflected in this diary are real. According to the report by Bureau of Investigative Journalism, more than 160 children have been killed in the drone strikes. I understand that Collateral Damage is an unintentional but sad consequence of drone attacks and the real targets in this war are terrorists. But one cannot deny that many terrorists are also created because of such practices. A father whose son is killed in such a strike does not care about who was the real target. For him, America becomes an aggressive and imperialist bully. Sometimes you do not kill a terrorist; you just create two of his replacements. While the war goes on, children die continuously and several dreams are lost.

A few weeks back, a young angel, Malala Yousaf was shot by Terrorists from the same region for spreading secular values and raising her voice for education. The whole world sympathized with her. She was flown to UK for treatment and her photo appeared in the front page of every newspaper. I want to ask:

–          Where is the first class treatment for the children injured in drone attacks?

–          Where is the international condemnation for the children killed in drone attacks?

Do not get me wrong, I myself support Malala and I have written a lot against Taliban and radical Islamists. I am just raising my voice for the concern of the innocent people that have been affected in this crossfire between USA and Taliban.

Can there be any other method to neutralise the terrorists? You can share your views. I think that investing in schools and jobs in the affected regions of Waziristan and FATA can help. The government of Pakistan has a huge responsibility here. It should start a dialogue with the local people of these areas and try to assimilate them into their country. Guns should always be the last resort. Infact, I would say that a gun with a bullet should be the last resort.



About Bobby-Allen

I am a business student, biotechnology graduate, free thinker and rationalist living in my own dream world, floating along with the speck of dirt that we call earth. I love reading books, traveling, movies, music and all the amazing things that this life has granted us. Though only a few among us appreciate their true value. I consider myself a seeker, for truth and salvation. I have looked for the truth in human emotions, feelings, dogma, superstitions and now I have only come closer to the perimeter of truth which just keeps on shifting further and further away. Hope one day I reach my goal, the post where I have tied my dreams.


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