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Mortality: at home and abroad

Mariam Durrani
By Mariam Durrani
Arizona Summer Wildcat
Wednesday July 10, 2002

KARACHI, Pakistan ÷ It has been said the only thing that you can depend on in life is death.

What becomes of us after death is uncertain, but there is a certainty in the fact that all of us will die. But how often do people actually think of death? How many times does a person actually realize that death is always around the corner and that each second we have is a blessing?

Last Sept. 11 was a turning point in the American perspective of death. It reminded us as a nation that life is extremely fragile and can be gone in an instant. Because we are a wealthy nation with a strong military and intelligent government, our national psyche had begun to presume that we were immune to death. After the attacks, our confidence was shattered for quite some time because it just couldnāt happen in America. It just couldnāt happen to New York. It just couldnāt happen to us.

Why not?

We too are human.

We are all made of this earth and we must all return to it. The only reason I can ascertain as to why we were so shocked is that in our safe and rich cocoon we had begun to assume that we have power over our mortality. Whether some terrorist force outside the United States hates us or not, we think we have built a strong enough fortress that no one can get in.

But they can and they have.

This summer I am visiting my family in Pakistan and getting back to my roots. But in the midst of my summer relaxation, something suddenly made me think of death.

On June 14, terrorist groups tried to bomb the American Consulate in Karachi. This attack just happened to be within two blocks of my uncleās house where my 10-, 13- and 15-year-old cousins were lazily waking up to the thunderous echoes they thought were the start of an India-Pakistan war as their second-story windows shattered due to the blast.

As the day wore on and more information came forward, we found out that 10 people died, all Pakistani nationals. By dinnertime, my cousins had adjusted well to the bombing and dealt with it in a much mature fashion than either my brother or me.

So I wondered why it is that people in Pakistan can handle such a disaster more readily than us Americans? Aside from the fact that they are also much more used to these kinds of incidents here in Karachi with the May-Sheraton Hotel bombing and Daniel Pearl kidnapping, I believe that they are much more resigned to the fact that they are human and as such, always vulnerable to their mortality.

They think that if their time has come, it doesnāt matter if they are at the beach, at a restaurant, or sleeping in the warm comfort of their beds. If it is their time to die, it will happen.

For those who died on Sept. 11, it was a very unfortunate tragedy, but it was their time to go. The way they went, just as those people who died on June 14 in Karachi, was very scary. But we donāt get to customize death like a Subway sandwich. It just happens.

Terrorist bombings or attacks should in no way be events we should submit willingly to. Security and safety are a necessity in todayās world but we have to realize ÷ no matter how rich we are, no matter how far we are from terrorist networks, no matter what ÷ if our time to die has come, we have no choice.

Humans are very fragile beings and we should realize it. And due to this realization, it becomes crucial to savor life.

Of course, it is impossible to justify the deaths of Sept. 11. However, it is absolutely essential to realize that some things were just supposed to happen. The longer we spend blaming the government for what they could have done, or how the attack could have been avoided, we waste more valuable time.

There are things that can be done to prevent future bombings, but once they happen we must realize that, other than mourning, there is little we can do. Those souls who are gone from this world are simply that ÷ gone. On June 14, Karachi mourned the loss of its citizens but they believe here that at 11 a.m. on that day, those 10 people were supposed to die one way or another, whether it was by heart attack, accident or bombing.

We must realize this. Because we spend too much time blaming someone for those who died and trying to avoid death with material items, we sometimes fail to realize what is really important.

The life comes before death.


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