Something has bothered me about the deadly Gulshan-i-Iqbal blast but I could not put my finger on it. Yes, the senseless killing of children at a park is almost too horrible to imagine. And, yes, the fact that the attack was carried out in Lahore and not some remote area brings the war closer to home. However, still there was something else that was lingering in the back of mind. After reading Asif Aqeel’s piece in The Friday Times, today, I think I have finally figured out what has been bothering me so much.
Actually, it was the title of Aqeel’s piece that first hit me hard. ‘Bombs do not discriminate between Muslims and Christians’. This is something that I heard many people saying after the blast. I was told over and over not to call it an attack on Christians because more Muslims were killed in the blast. It wasn’t until this headline showed up in my email that I realised what bothered me so much. It was a simply question: What if bombs did discriminate?
The evil behind the Easter blast was easily understood as the dead were mostly innocent women and children. When asked about this, the Taliban spokesman said women and children were not their target it was the male members of the Christian community. The women and children were ‘collateral damage’. What if the Taliban had been successful in their plot to target only male Christians? Would we still be as horrified?
What if the bombs did not kill any Muslims? Would Army still be talking about Punjab operation? Killing of Christians is not new. Are we only reacting to this attack because the bomb did not discriminate? Are we only angry because we believe that we are not being spared? Are we willing to sacrifice our Christian brothers to save our own skin?
The answers to these questions make me as scared as the possibility of being in the wrong place during the next jihadi attack. We know that bombs don’t discriminate. What scares me now is that I’m not sure we don’t. So what does that make us?