Tuesday’s news was hard to read. The Taliban senselessly murdered schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan. Stunningly, 148 young lives were taken – with the number still rising.
On Wednesday night, a few hundred people came to Dupont Circle in Washington, DC to honor these innocent victims in a candlelight vigil. In fact, that was a common theme of the night: lost innocence. Peshawar parents dropped off their kids at school, not even considering that their precious sons and daughters wouldn’t come home to play with their toys after school. Their innocence could not save them from the Taliban’s savage plans.
Amnesty International’s Noor Mir, who helped organize the vigil, explained how they gathered 140 candles to represent the lives who were lost. The candles were surrounded by pictures released from the hospital in Peshawar.
Attendees also contributed to the display with signs they made, including one that had this powerful message, “The smallest coffins are the heaviest.”
Mir explained that Peshawar parents found out their children were dead by coming to a hospital and seeing a sheet with the victim's name and age, with the word, ‘Dead’ next to it.
Famed journalist Raza Rumi also addressed the crowd, especially thanking the Pakistani Americans in attendance for practicing solidarity. He urged participants to keep in mind that all Taliban are terrorists.
"There are no good Taliban and there are no bad Taliban."
The organizers were only able to find 40 of the victims’ names. They read each one as quiet sobbing could be heard throughout the crowd.
The vigil ended with a participant reading off an original poem he penned in response to the Peshawar attack, entitled, “Innocence.” I thought this was the most powerful line:
“A school that was supposed to be a fountain of knowledge, became a pool of blood.”
The senseless terrorists who performed this cowardly act are dead. Yet, the Taliban still looms.
May they be brought to justice.