Growing up, the word politics left me feeling out of my depth, uncomfortable, annoyed. It was a word that signalled conflict, it was synonymous to me with 8pm talk shows where everyone talks over each other and no one listens. It was always a grown up thing. It’s confusing to a second grader when her friends ask her what political party she supports. I was eight, I only supported a bedtime that wasn’t 10 PM. I’ve learned, however, that it’s not possible to live a life completely separate from politics. Our existence is political, our silence is political, every like and retweet and status and story shared is a political move. Only the very privileged, the safest, the kind of people who will always be on top no matter the bloodshed, no matter what kind of war we fight, are the ones who can afford to remain “apolitical” Which is a political statement in and of itself The world’s turned into an interconnected web of constant communication. What we remember as calmer times were simply a lack of people with the ability to put their voices out there. The world’s always been on fire, we’ve only recently become aware of the fires burning in our own backyards. In our friends’ backyards, across the oceans, beyond borders. Because they’re seen, shown, on the screens in our hands. So the written word and digital pen is in the hands of every citizen across the world. The power of what we say and do not say has increased. But why is it that the only times it counts is when it’s about the chaos everywhere. You have to be controversial to be heard amongst the endless sea of voices. But just controversial enough to find people who agree with your “out of the box” opinions. It’s 16th December, five years ago the Army Public School in Peshawar was attacked. Classrooms were washed in blood, families were torn apart, the nation was in tears – and I started eyeing the threat level board outside my school with more seriousness. How? Why? What was the reason? Why target children? How could something so barbaric even happen? It’s five years later and the biggest threat we face is our own people. Hospitals aren’t off limits any more. Everywhere is fair game, rip each other to shreds. Why does the news look like a scene from an apocalyptic movie? What’s more barbaric than storming a cardiac institute with no regard for the innocent people battling their lives within? Tear gas and shattered glass and fist fights in the wards. I wonder why I’m still shocked when we cross another limit of humanity. In a nation where babies go missing and lose their lives to monsters before they’ve barely gone past the thresholds of their own homes. It scares me how easy it is for humans to let go of the sliver of something that makes them civil and makes them worse than beasts. How does a belief rip nations apart and send students to the streets in protest. How do the people in power just give the green light to torch hostels and take lives and black out whole regions of land and keep children in cages and camps and “re-educate” those who disagree with them and harvest them like a commodity. And how do they get away with it? How do these things get swept under the rug? How does silence prevail? Do they think they’re untouchable? That the blood they bathe their streets in won’t turn to a flood and drown them? How does this keep happening? How does this violence keep coming back? How does pain turn into numbers and those to facts that can be doctored and forgotten? Look at your textbooks. This world is a broken record on repeat. How do we keep forgetting the song? We can’t afford to look back on these days 5 years from now, scratch our heads and ask “how did we get here?” We’ve been here. We’re supposed to be smarter than this. We need to be better. We know these patterns. We know how this ends. We know how it will begin again. And again. And again. Silence in the face of such adversity is complicity. I can’t stand the quiet.