Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Impact of a Suicide Bombing

As I headed to work today, abusing the jackasses on the road, I had to stop at the traffic signal right before Kala Pul (the Black Bridge). My car happened to be parked one car behind a truck carrying, what I believe to be Army Commandoes (they had camouflaged uniforms rather than khakis). And for the first time in my life I was genuinely scared. I was scared that they would be targeted and I was scared to be anywhere near them. This is what suicide bombings do to you.

A citizen of this country has enough to be scared about, add more into the cauldron and you have a people crippled by paranoia as fear creeps into every sinew of the social fabric.

I have not commented on the terrible suicide attack in Karachi, I genuinely did not know what to say. The pictures relayed the horror better than anything I could ever write. The pictures however fail to represent the impact such an event has on society.

The bombings on army convoys has resulted in me being afraid of driving behind an army convoy, even though nothing has happened to me nor am I the target. The army personnel who are the ones targeted, and the ones most in danger, have no choice but to rely on fate to protect them. There is a similar thing that has happened with the 18th October bombing.

A 140 people died on that fateful day. They consisted mostly of Policemen and paid PPP supporters / workers. These were people who had little, real, choice about being there as they were either on duty (Police) or abject poverty had forced their hands (the ‘inner circle’ around BB’s convoy consisted of villagers from interior Sindh who had been paid to travel for a few days). The next time (if) BB holds a rally these people will, like the soldiers, still be there – the police will be on duty and the workers will be transported by the feudal lords.

Outside the inner circle however stood people who were there out of their own volition; people who supported the PPP; many who were simply curious and interested in watching the spectacle. A few people from my own office who live in apartments in the near by area were part of the procession for some time during the day, one had left minutes earlier (and they are MQM supporters). All of these people exhibited a willingness to be part of the political space and it is these people who have been scared from stepping into the political space.

Its been two weeks since the bombing. The Sharah-e-Faisal is as busy as ever. The next time there’s a political rally, it will not be so. The irony is that the people most susceptible to such an attack will still be there.

1 comment:

ayla said...

It's a damn crazy world.

This might sound kind of lame but thank you for sharing your perspectives - you're living there and by writing about it you give us on the other side of the world a way to connect to the reality which is just as awful as our imaginations, but which is also grounding in a way I don't understand.

There is much to be said for the individual reflection and it's worth. I don't know if that makes sense but I feel closer to humanity reading this than some report in the papers with its own agenda and political rhetoric.

Keep safe.