“Amidst all this madness, all these ghosts and memories of times past, it feels like the world around me is crumbling, slowly flaking away. Sometime, when it’s this late at night, I feel my chest swell with a familiar anxiety. I think, at these times, that I have no more place in my heart for Pakistan. I cannot love it any more. I have to get away from it for anything to make sense; nothing here ever does.
But then the hours pass, and as I ready myself for sleep as the light filters in through my windows, I hear the sound of those mynah birds. And I know I could never leave” Fatimah Bhutto in “Songs of Blood and Sword”
Of all the words penned on loving a place that has changed, loving a place that is such a paradox that your head spins and you feel crazy, these words from Fatimah Bhutto are better and more beautiful than any others that I have read. “Why don’t you leave?” say the skeptics and cynics. “How can you love a place like that?”
But anyone who has loved a person that seems to others unloveable, knows that loving a place can be similar. You can’t help that you love it, and you will defend that love and continue to hope when everyone around you shakes their head in confusion that you would even bother.
This is what Pakistan is – a paradox, an unexplainable place, a place that others, who have never been and know nothing of the country, despise. A place that has seen too much tragedy and violence, that bears the weight of a blood-splattered beginning, a place where those who hope and fight for it are too often silenced.
But poets keep hope alive by taking words that make the soul ache with understanding. Understanding that becomes determination to continue praying for a country I love. That’s what the words above do for me.
Picture Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/mynah-birds-starling-india-95063/