Kashmir: Happy Valley, Valley of Death
"DO NOT FORGET WE HAVE GIVEN OUR TODAY FOR YOUR TOMORROW."
So reads the epitaph on the headstone of a fifteen-year-old Kashmiri boy, laid to rest among a sea of gravestones and markets in a special cemetery for martyred children. I visited that cemetery on three occasions, during two of which I witnessed the burials of a thirteen and ten year old who were being lowered beneath the soil. At both burials I approached the grieving families with a sense of guilt and helplessness.
As the parents, family and friends realized who I was, despite the agony and grief which resulted, they lovingly unwrapped the bodies of their children for me to see the bullet holes, the torn flesh of innocent youth.
Then, with hardly a word and tears streaming down their faces, they mothers lifted their outstretched arms with palms turned upward and looking into my eyes and asked simply, "Why?"
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