Book: Do We Not Bleed?: Reflections of a 21st-century Pakistani
Author: Mehr Tarar
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
The Pakistan we know is a country of militancy and terrorism, a country that has fallen into a deep dark pit due to its bad policies, extremist ideologies and deluded leaders. But there is a Pakistan that we do not know about. A Pakistan of almost 200 million people who are not at war with another country. A Pakistan comprising of ordinary people that love, hate, struggle, hurt, fight, and survive; like any other people in the world. A Pakistan that incorporates both the people that are oppressed, murdered, honour killed, beaten, as well as the people that torment, kill and destroy. Mehr Tarar through her book Do We Not Bleed? takes us through real stories of such real-life Pakistanis, giving us an insight into the real Pakistan in a manner only a Pakistani can.
A brilliant compilation of five sections about subjects that the author strongly feels about, the book takes us through a plethora of stories about real Pakistanis. She talks about women that perished at the hands of religious extremism, women that were murdered for standing up against patriarchy, and women that were oppressed, ill-treated, and murdered for not following the norms. She tells us through her own example what being a mother in Pakistan signifies-“Without the name of a husband on my papers, I could give all my love to my child, but I am not allowed to get a passport made for him. Without the name of my husband, I am not my son’s guardian.”
While she talks about Pakistanis who we have often heard about like Qandeel Baloch and Muniba Mazari, at the same time she talks about lesser known Pakistanis like Mahnoor Khan, whose story was one where I was completely crestfallen. Do We Not Bleed? does not just tell stories of injustice and atrocities, it also tells the stories of some remarkable Pakistanis like Haider Gillani who makes us believe in the goodness of humans amidst the prevailing evil. In the last section, she talks about the things she loves about India and has essays by remarkable people that examine the state of affairs between India and Pakistan.
When I became conscious I wasn’t feeling anything. There was one feeling: I was dead inside. Everything I had was finished, it seemed. I had a most awful feeling. In fact, I felt nothing. It was like everything I had had ended. There was numbness. The numbness felt like an act of mercy.
I completely loved every single aspect of this book, right from how each section was curated to each story that the author had narrated. I am absolutely at a loss for words to comment about the author’s writing. For a non-fiction to be an unputdownable read, the writing has to be exceptional, and Mehr did just that. Her writing had me glued to the pages and is nothing short of pure magic!
Burn the vehicle that was used. And burn the girl who helped. Simple. Van and girl. Both inconsiquential, both to be punished, both dispensable.And I wonder, why wouldn’t they burn the driver? Because he happens to be a man. Oh, that.