It is important to me that I tell you my side of the story of my death before the lies that the American CIA will tell about it become written in stone. Their lies would dishonor my family and my village, and perhaps even cause more deaths if enough people were to believe them. It is my hope that if you hear the truth, you will share it with others…and help us to stop the evil murders of innocents in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Whether you hear my message through the air while you sit quietly, or in your nighttime dreams, please listen carefully.
You will wisely have surmised by now that I am in the barsakh, or interval, awaiting the questioning of the angels that will determine whether I enter Paradise, or am consigned…to hell. Will I be considered a martyr? I like to think that it will be so.
Once I was told of their coming, I began to anticipate their questions, and recall much of my life…and especially the time just before my death. It has sharpened my wits after some initial confusion about my…condition, and whereabouts. I will speak of this to the angels, hoping that it will stand as supplication for them to recommend me for…Paradise.
Well over a year ago, my cousin Aswar Ullah was killed by an American CIA drone while riding his motorcycle near Norak. When I would close my eyes, I would see the monstrous white drone killers as voracious, killing wasps, legs drooping down toward the earth as they fly, the zzzzzzzzzzzzzz sound they make changing pitch as they circled around their prey.
Some of us run for shelter that may not always prove protective; others of us freeze like stone statues, dreading what the inevitable explosion will mean…death for people whose family and friends will grieve, and cause more anger against the Americans. Why can’t they just leave us alone to work, pray and live our lives? How have we harmed them?
A few weeks ago, there were phone calls from a lawyer to all of us who had lost relatives to the evil white wasps encouraging us to go to a meeting, a jirga, that had been arranged in Islamabad to discuss lodging protests against the drone airplane killings in Waziristan; we would join the village elders and men who had organized to help us.
I was proud to be asked to go, and made the eight-hour trip in a car filled with other young men. We spoke together about our nervousness at meeting with the Tribal Elders. but we also spoke of our love of playing soccer, which helped to ease our fears.
When we finally arrived at the hotel where the jirga was being held, we greeted the Elders, and touched their chests with our palms, as is our custom, then sat and listened to the lawyers who wanted our help in taking pictures of the people the drone bombs kill so they could use them in their court cases.
I was so proud to volunteer, and to receive the camera and instructions about its use; it was a task for a man, not a child, they told me. We would be determining also if women and children were among the dead, and that it would be hard. I remembered the stories from another man who had been doing this work in the northern mountains all year. He spoke about how sometimes all that remained after the explosions were small bits of bodies, or charred remains that made identification very difficult and sometimes impossible.
It brought tears to our eyes when he said that sometimes the only way to tell that small children had been killed was the presence of small rubber flip-flop sandals among the debris. Imagine that, please; the picture may come to haunt you with pain and sorrow as it does me. I hope it makes you angry, too; angry enough to help us force them to stop this evil killing of innocents.
After the meeting, we all went to a protest at the Pakistani Parliament that had been arranged by the famous cricket player, Imran Kahn, who is now a leader. It was a wonderful thing to be part of; my father would be so proud of me when he heard. We drove home to our village with our minds full of the future, and our tasks ahead, and the changes that might lie ahead in keeping our people safe, but we also spoke of our anger.
Someone in the car told about the deal he’d heard the Americans had made with President Karzai, who was said to have complained to them about the drone killings. The man said that they struck this bargain: if the CIA thought that more than twenty people would be killed at once, the President should be notified ahead of time; if fewer, it was not necessary. Again, I ask you to think about that: they agreed on a number, a number they seemed not to understand stood for the deaths of living people who often had done nothing wrong, maybe only knew others who had been accused of crimes…or might be women and children.
So we thought of our new missions instead, and tried to banish those thoughts.
Three days after we returned home, I went with my cousin Waheed and two men to pick up my Auntie Miran after her wedding to take her home to Norak. We were very close to her house when two missiles hit our car; I would have liked to have been with her and the rest of my family one last time before my death.
We have heard that the American President received an award for peace some time back; we don’t understand this thing. If you have any influence with him, please help to make him stop killing our people, not only for us, but his soul and for those of others who aid him in this. It will not end well, I think. We are known to be warriors in defense of our people, and we are angry. You should think of this.
And think of my cousin, too. He was just twelve years old; pray for him; Insha’ Allah.