7th January 2014
Hangu District, Pakistan
A 17 year old had just been reprimanded for tardiness and denied entry to class. As Aitzaz Hasan waited outside his school with a couple of other tardy kids, he saw a strange man approaching them. The man asked, in an unfamiliar dialect, about the location of the local school.
There are different accounts about what happened next.
Some say Aitzaz approached the stranger cautiously, and upon seeing a detonator in his heavyset jacket, quickly alerted his peers to run and inform authorities. Others say the man got spooked and tried to make a run for the school before Aitzaz even got to him
But all accounts agree on what happened next.
Aitzaz ran after the Suicide Bomber, fearlessly taking him down. The struggle resulted in an explosion engulfing both of them, and Aitzaz sacrificed his own life in the process.
He selflessly traded his own life for the lives of thousands. Not a single innocent soul harmed except his own.
Later on, during an interview, his father emotionally says,
“My son made his mother cry but saved thousands of mothers from crying for their children.”
Truer words have never been spoken. Not only did he save thousands of lives directly, he saved the thousands of family members who would have been mentally obliterated had their child or sibling died that day.
The epitome of a real life hero: Aitzaz Hasan
He deservedly received the “Sitara-e-Shujaat” (Star of Bravery), the highest honor a civilian can receive. As the Chief of the Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif said, “ He is a national hero, who has sacrificed his today for our tomorrow.”
He ignited a bright fire within the nation, a flame that said the country would not back down against these extremists who seem hell bent on targeting and killing more Muslims than any other group
The reason I write this is to remind us all about the past and how we cannot allow it to be forgotten. After all, if the past is forgotten, it inevitably ends up repeating itself. We self-centered people are not deserving of a gallant soul like Aitzaz. But we can correct ourselves. We need to ensure that Pakistan does not need another Aitzaz to extinguish would-be disasters. We need to learn, and learn quickly for time is a great teacher but it will eventually kill all its students.
“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life.”