This post is dedicated to twins Abdullah Khan (L) and Muhammad Bilal (R), born to Bushra Humayoun at a college converted to a camp for flood survivors by the army on the outskirts of Nowshera on August 12, 2010. May you prosper, dear Abdullah and Bilal. May you live long and fruitful lives. May you never see again a tumultuous calamity like the one you were born in the midst of.
This post is dedicated to little Shahabuddin of village Pore – fondly known as Zalzala Khan – who will turn five later this year on that day that will mark the fifth anniversary of the 2005 earthquake (read here).
This post is dedicated to all the children who spent last year’s Independence Day in Internally Displaced Pakistanis (IDP) camps across Pakistan.
All of you are survivors. Born into and in times of adversity, and rising above it. Your story is the story of Pakistan. You are the symbols of our strength. The carriers of our hopes.
This post is dedicated to all the children of Pakistan. Azadi Mubarak to all of you. May your generation make more of it than our generation – or that of our parents – did.
On this day – August 14, Youm-i-Azadi – let us continue the theme that we had started last year on this day. Then, in the midst of the IDP crisis, we had written that Azadi, freedom, is a journey, not a destination. Today, as we are caught in a spiral of unprecedented devastation brought by monsoon floods, we write to remind ourselves that Azadi is a responsibility, not a privilege.
Our azadi may not be perfect, but it is a gift we must cherish nonetheless. And it is part of that responsibility to make the quality of that azadi better for each successive generation. We have not done a good job of meeting this responsibility, but the journey must continue. This year we face the additional responsibility to rise in support of those who have been displaced by the recent floods. That responsibility is just one part of the greater responsibility that we must all remember on this day. The responsibility to make the experience of Azadi for each subsequent generation more complete and more profound that it has been for us.
Azadi Mubarak, Pakistan.