Sleeping amidst the ruin
There was a news story in The News the other day about the capture of three murderers who had killed a surgeon back in November of last year. The surgeon had come from America after having worked there for 31 years and brought his expertise and experience back to his country to construct a state-of-the-art hospital in Peshawar. He was a very rich man and happened to befriend three thugs who eventually took advantage of his kind nature and killed him in his house after forcing him to write a whole bunch of blank cheques. What was disturbing was the murderer’s description of how they killed this fine man, who would have been an immense resource to his country had he lived longer. They were invited by the surgeon into his house (they had been friends with him for months), talked to him in his house for 2-3 hours before suddenly turning on him. They overpowered him, tied him up, gagged him and then discussed what to do next. One thing led to another and they forced him to sign blank cheques and then tried to strangle him. Despite their best efforts, he didn’t die of the strangulation, so they whipped a knife out and slaughtered him like a goat. What was disturbing in the interviews of the killers was how they described the doctor pleading for his life in the hours prior to his murder. He didn’t die quickly in an unexpected ambush. His fate hung in the balance for hours as the three men probably searched the house. He was tied up for about 7 hours before they finally killed him. What must he have been going through?
The good news is that the Islamabad police caught these guys after a lengthy, professional investigation. All three are in jail, and hopefully the police are periodically beating the shit out of them for what they did. They snuffed out a man who came back a successful surgeon to serve his own country. The doctor was a dollar millionaire who could have easily spent the rest of his life in ease and comfort in his retirement age, but chose instead to start off the arduous task of building a hospital in his hometown.
My father was so moved by this story (I hadn’t read it myself until my father gave me the paper) that he told me he couldn’t sleep that night. He said it just shows how base human beings can get and how no one can really be trusted unless they are known very well to you. He decried the tragedy of it all. To lose someone in such a tragic way, and a surgeon at that! My father got really emotional when he was talking about it.
I read the story in a far more composed manner. I pursed my lips and tut tutted as I read along. Ever since the Abu Ghuraib incident, I’ve developed a resistance to being shocked by these kinds of stories. Its not that I care less or anything. Its more that I keep telling myself that no one will ever escape justice. You may get away with harming your fellow man in this world, but there will be a Day of Judgment where God will preside over affairs and everyone will get what’s owed to them. This world is temporary and we’ll all destined to move on to another, eternal plane. I’m comforted by the thought that the life we ultimately live is infinite; that we never really die, but just move on to another plane, and that one Day, God will balance the scales. No matter how atrocious the crime, no matter how harrowing the details, it is but a blip in our existence, and even so there will still be a day God will set things right. That helps me sleep at night.