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IUK: Fisk - Saifullah, man of peace, killed by American cruise missile
By Robert Fisk
6/11/2001 1:40 am Tue
[Rencana ini dalam maksudnya dan begitu menyentuh perasaan walaupun
kelihatan agak bersahaja. Tuhan tidak memandang banyaknya wang yang
dikirimkan tetapi ketulusan yang menjiwai seseorang. Kisah ini pasti
akan membuat mereka yang berkenaan terangsang.....
Saifullah, man of peace, killed by American cruise missile
War on Terrorism: Victim
By Robert Fisk
30 October 2001
The Americans have killed Saifullah of Turangzai, MA in Arabic
and MA in Islamic Studies (Peshawar University), BSc (Islamia
College), BEd certificate of teaching, MPhil student and
scholarship winner to Al-Azhar in Cairo, the oldest university in
the Arab world.
He spoke fluent English as well as Persian and his native Pashto,
and loved poetry and history and was, so his family say, preparing
a little reluctantly to get married. His father, Hedayatullah, is a
medical doctor, his younger brother a student of chartered
Of course, no one outside Pakistan - and few inside - had ever
heard of Saifullah. In these Pashtun villages of the North-West
Frontier, many families do not even have proper names. Saifullah
was not a political leader; indeed his 50-year-old father says his
eldest son was a humanitarian, not a warrior. His brother,
Mahazullah, says the same. "He was always a peaceful person,
quiet and calm, he just wanted to protect people in Afghanistan
whom he believed were the victims of terrorism.'' But everyone
agrees how Saifullah died.
He was killed on 22 October when five US cruise missiles
detonated against the walls of a building in the Darulaman suburb
of Kabul, where Saifullah and 35 other men were meeting. His
family now call him the shahid, the martyr. Hedayatullah embraces
each visitor to the family home of cement and mud walls, offers
roast chicken and mitha, sweets and pots of milk and tea, and
insists he be "congratulated" on being the proud father of a man
who died for his beliefs. Hens cluck in the yard outside and an old,
coloured poster, depicting a Kalashnikov rifle with the wordjihad
(holy struggle) above it, is pasted to the wall. But "peace" is the
word the family utter most.
Saifullah had only gone to take money to Kabul to help the
suffering Afghans, says Mahazullah, perhaps no more than 20,000
rupees - around $350 - which he had raised among his student
friends. That's not the way the Americans tell it, of course. Blundering
through their target maps and killing innocent civilians by the day,
the Pentagon boasted that the Darulaman killings targeted the
Taliban's "foreign fighters", of whom a few were Pakistanis,
Saifullah among them.
That's not the way the Americans tell it, of course. Blundering through their target maps and killing innocent civilians by the day, the Pentagon boasted that the Darulaman killings targeted the Taliban's "foreign fighters", of whom a few were Pakistanis, Saifullah among them.
In Pashto, his Arabic name means "Sword of God". Mahazullah
dismisses the American claims. Only when I suggest that it might
not be strange for a young Muslim with Saifullah's views to have
taken a weapon to defend Afghanistan does Mahazullah say,
briefly, that his brother "may have been a fighter''.
Saifullah's best friend, a smiling, beardless young man with bright
blue eyes, says he telephoned the doomed man on 16 October,
two days before he left for Afghanistan, six days before his death.
"I asked him if he was going to Afghanistan and he said he was -
but just to take money to the Afghans. He said: 'If God wills it, I will
be back after 10 days.' I told him it would be very dangerous. I
pleaded with him not to go, but he said he just wanted to take the
money. He said to me: 'I know my life will be in danger but I'm not
going to fight. What can I do? The Americans are out of range.' He
said he just wanted to give moral support.''
Mahazullah never imagined his brother's death. "We never
expected his martyrdom. I never thought he would die,'' he says. A
phone call prepared the family for the news, a friend with
information that some Pakistanis had been killed in Kabul. "It has
left a terrible vacuum in our family life,'' Mahazullah says.
"You cannot imagine what it is like without him. He was a person
who respected life, who was a reformer. There was no justification
for the war in Afghanistan. These people are poor. There is no
evidence, no proof. Every human being has the right to the basic
necessities of life.
"The family - all of us, including Saifullah - were appalled by the
carnage in New York and Washington on 11 September. Saifullah
was very regretful about this - we all watched it on television.'' At
no point does the family mention the name of Osama bin Laden.
Turangzai is a village of resistance. During the Third Afghan War
in 1919, the British hunted down Hadji Turangzai, one of the
principal leaders of the revolt, and burnt the village bazaar in
revenge for its insurgency. Disconcertingly, a young man enters
Saifullah's family home, greets me with a large smile and
announces that he is the grandson of the Hadji, scourge of the
English. But this is no centre of Muslim extremism. Though the
family pray five times a day, they intend their daughters to be
educated at university.
Saifullah spent hours on his personal computer and apparently
loved the poetry of the secular Pakistani national poet Allam
Mohamed Iqbal of Surqhot - Sir Mohamed Iqbal after he had
accepted a British knighthood - and, according to Mahazullah,
was interested in the world's religions.
"He would talk a lot about the Northern Ireland problem and about
Protestants and Catholics,'' he says. "He believed that Islam was
the religion which most promotes peace in the world. He used to
say that the Prophet, peace be upon him, tells us that we can't
even attack a person who is engaged in war with us if he has his
gun over his shoulder.
"You can only fight a person who is attacking you. He thought that
every civilian should help the Afghans because they are being
attacked. But we are not extremists or terrorists as the media say.''
Saifullah, at 26 the oldest of three brothers and two sisters, was
unmarried. "Our father told him: 'We are going to marry you,' ''
Mahazullah says. "But my brother said he would only marry after
his studies. His father was trying to see which girls might be
suitable. It is our duty to follow our parents' wishes because they
have an experience we don't have.'' But Saifullah left for
Afghanistan. "Trust me,'' were the last words he said to his father.
Perhaps he was remembering one of Iqbal's most famous verses:
"Of God's command, the inner meaning do you know? To live in
constant danger is a life indeed.''