So Saad Aziz, do you really think that you killed Sabeen Mahmud on that night of April 24, 2015 when you shattered her car’s window and pumped five bullets in her? Is she really dead?
(Saad Aziz, a former student of IBA, at the Karachi University was arrested and confessed to the murder of Sabeen with other associated.)
Yes, in the aftermath of your dastardly, cowardly action, shock, and deep pain descended on all those who loved her, and they are a legion. Even after one year, many find it difficult to mention her in the past tense. We still go to T2F and steal glances at the door of her room, expecting her to come out and smile a greeting or wave a hello.
And her mother carries one of the bullets you pumped into her daughter. Her cat Jadoo misses her. And her 90 year old grandmother, who mercifully has dementia, keeps forgetting whether Sabeen had come to say salam to her in the morning or not.
But beyond the personal loss and pain you have inflicted on her friends and family, do you really think Sabeen Mahmud is no more?
After all, in your confessional statement, you had reportedly said, “there wasn’t one particular reason to target her; she was generally promoting liberal, secular values. There were those campaigns of hers, the demonstration outside Lal Masjid [in Islamabad], ‘Pyaar ho jaane do’ (let there be love) on Valentine’s Day and so on.”
So didn’t you see those values among the protesters who gathered each night for one whole month lighting candles before her banner, playing drums and tambourines to attract attention towards the need to arrest you and your ilk?
Did anyone tell you about the resounding success of the ‘Dilphainck’ exhibit that she had been working on with her committed and creative band of colleagues and friends? It showcased everything that she stood for, and all that you are against; culture, vibrancy, colour, art, music and gay abandon to practice it all.
Are you ignorant of the crowd that still throngs to T2F, making its events ‘standing room only’. There music, dances, films, documentaries, qawwali, and discussion on ‘difficult’, mind opening topics still happen. And what is T2F if not a physical space that has ‘Sabeen’ stamped all over it.
The art on the wall is as engaging and provocative, the books in the shelves beckon readers to open their minds, the brownies in the café are still the most delicious anywhere, the coffee has the ‘wake me up’ quality, the buzz of regular visitors who come in all shapes and sizes and ages has not died down since after the first few dark days of your ‘drive by shooting’.
You made up your mind to take her life because she spoke against the people who have taken the lives of more than 60,000 innocents? Because she spoke against those you owed your allegiance to, barbarians, who mow own women and children?
But look around. You failed even in this. Even the spot where you decided to ‘make an example out of her’ will have no memory of you. For those who loved her, and who had to pass that spot because it was on their route, with a feeling of unease, will be seeing something else there. Sabeen will be there standing tall, spreading her arms, with a thick canopy, and wearing the bright colours of nature through the amaltas tree planted there.
But you Saad Aziz? What will you be remembered for after you have been strung up? What will be your legacy?