my heart is in peshawar


Exactly one year ago was what some consider the darkest day in Pakistan’s history. Over one hundred children were killed at a school in Peshawar. Mothers and fathers sent their children to school, only to have them never return. Below I’ve included a piece that I wrote the evening of the attack last year. I read these words and still experience an almost debilitating sadness. I wish I knew what the ‘right’ thing to do was. I wish the world felt safer, better since this time last year – but it doesn’t. So I don’t know.

All I know is that I want to celebrate the lives of these children. I want to remember them for their quirks and know more about the life they led before it was cut too short. Dawn, one of the leading newspapers in Pakistan has created a wonderful tribute to all 144 lives that were lost that day, most of them children. Please spend some time today reading about them and say their names. Say their names so that they’re always part of this world and so that those who choose to terrorize innocent people know that we will never forget.

It’s been 5 long years since I’ve been able to visit Pakistan. Five years of little cousins growing up and being not so little anymore. Of missing family. Of craving chaat masala fries and Sprite in a glass bottle and the flimsiest straw known to man. Of street food. Of hugs from grandmothers. Of guilt trips about how long it’s been.

But today…today. I can’t stop picturing those poor babies. And how afraid they must have been. And how brave these kids had to be. How they don’t really get to be kids at all.

How is this real? How is any of this real?

Why does such tragedy exist in this world? And why, WHY does it happen to such beautiful people. In such a beautiful place. Full of people with the most humility and kindness I’ve ever experienced.

My heart aches.

All day, I haven’t been able to focus on finals. I’ve struggled to find the significance of the histopathology of the glomerulus when this is the state of the world. And I just really couldn’t. I started to think, “what’s the point? these things will just keep happening. no matter how many lives i can ‘save’ there will always be monsters in this world who commit such heinous and disgusting acts.”

And then I realized that if I continue to think that way, they win. And they do not get to win. Not today. Not any day but especially NOT TODAY.

So for all those who are also struggling with how to be okay with the fact that the world spins madly on after these truly horrifying things happen, I’m there with you. And no, it’s not okay that somehow everything keeps moving forward. It’s never going to be okay. But it’s also not okay that we let fear and terror win.

In my opinion, the best way to choose a career/life mission is to find the injustice that makes you the angriest and fight like hell to make it disappear. For me, it’s injustices in health care. And I’m fighting the fight. That’s why the histopathology of the glomerulus is important. Because it allows me to fight the fight against the injustice that makes me the angriest.

So let the world stop for a second and BE ANGRY. Let yourself be angry and figure out which fight you want to fight. And figure out how you’re going to fight said fight.

May God grant an endless bounty of patience to the families of the victims of this tragedy, to the residents of Peshawar, to Pakistan and to this world. May He bring coolness to the hearts of mothers and fathers that are aching in a way that we will never understand. May He bring justice against those accountable in both this world and the hereafter. And may He give us the power to make this world a more just place.

For more information about what’s going on:

I believe the Edhi Foundation is helping care for those affected and helping arrange the funerals. Link to donate:

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