February issue 2009
“I may not go to school again”
I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.
Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this [the Taliban’s] edict …
I was getting ready for school and about to wear my uniform when I remembered that our principal had told us not to wear uniforms — and come to school wearing normal clothes instead. So I decided to wear my favourite pink dress … During the morning assembly we were told not to wear colourful clothes as the Taliban would object to it …
I was in a bad mood while going to school because winter vacations are starting from tomorrow … In the past the reopening date was always announced clearly. [But this time] the principal did not inform us about the reason behind not announcing the school reopening, but my guess was that the Taliban had announced a ban on girls’ education from January 15.
This time round, the girls were not too excited about vacations because they knew if the Taliban implemented their edict they would not be able to come to school again …
I am of the view that the school will one day reopen but while leaving I looked at the building as if I would not come here again.
Thursday Jan 15:
… Today, I also read my diary translated for the BBC (in Urdu) and published in the newspaper. My mother liked my pen name ‘Gul Makai’ and said to my father ‘why not change her name to Gul Makai?’ I also like the name because my real name means ‘grief stricken’…
I am quite bored sitting at home following the closure of schools.
Some of my friends have left Swat because the situation here is very dangerous. I do not leave home. At night Maulana Shah Dauran (the Taliban cleric who announced the ban on girls attending school) once again warned females not to leave home.
He also warned that they would blow up those schools which are used by the security forces as security posts …
Maulana Shah Dauran also said in his speech on FM radio that three ‘thieves’ will be lashed tomorrow and whoever wants to see can come and watch.
I am surprised that when we have suffered so much, why people still go and watch such things? Why also doesn’t the army stop them from carrying out such acts? I have seen wherever the army is there is usually a Taliban member nearby, but where there is a Taliban member the army always will not go.
I woke to the roar of heavy artillery fire early in the morning. I remember the first time when helicopters flew over our house at the start of an operation. We got so scared that we hid … One day toffees were thrown from the helicopters and this continued for some time. Now whenever we hear the choppers flying we run out and wait for the toffees but it does not happen anymore. A while back my father gave us the good news that he was taking all of us to Islamabad tomorrow. We are very happy.
My father fulfilled his promise and we reached Islamabad yesterday. On our way from Swat I was very scared because we had heard that the Taliban conduct searches. But nothing of the sort happened to us. It was instead the army who conducted the search. The moment we left Swat our fears also subsided.
Islamabad is beautiful … but as compared to my Swat city it lacks natural beauty.
My father bought popcorn from an old man outside Lok Virsa. When the vendor spoke to us in Pashtu my father asked him if he was from Islamabad. The old man replied: “Do you think Islamabad can ever belong to Pashtuns?”
He said that he hailed from Mohmand Agency, but because of an ongoing military operation [he] was forced to leave his abode and head for the city. At that moment I saw tears in my parents’ eyes.
Courtesy BBC News
This article appears as a box within Who Destroyed My Paradise?