I Wonder…

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Published June 12, 2024

By Aatika Choudry

I wonder…
if man-made problems wreak more havoc
than natural disasters ever do,
if the problems we create are worse
than adversities falling upon us.

Nature can wipe out a people in an instant,
humans buried under scorching lava,
or swept out to sea by tsunamis,
or succumbing to death by virus.

History narrates, though, and the present manifests too
intentional destruction of deeply sacred spaces,
silencing of peacemakers, making souls to suffer
and dimming the hopes of a decent humanity.

The pain is more piercing when man destroys man,
when brother hates brother,
when one just like us, walking amongst us,
invents ways to crush men, women, and children.

Is not ethnic cleansing of a place, sanctity of life defiled,
far worse than any fire leaving nothing but ashes?
Is not a seed of hatred planted, growing in bursts of violence,
more ghastly than torrential floods that drown?

I wonder…
How you are blind that your own babies are precious cargo
yet you massacre “other” mothers with babes in arms.
You are so fueled by this fiery hate
that your eyes are hollow…and your soul and your humanity dead.

I wonder…
Why do you hate?
Because his hue is a shade darker than yours?
She was born across a border in a land you don’t like?
Or you fear the religion they study to know their Creator?

I wonder…
How it is that the greed of wanting and taking what you want
allows you to murder innocent, defenseless lives.
How you deceive yourself and the world that you are so right, so moral
while making a calamitous killing field upon this earth.

I wonder…
Why evil perpetrated by man shakes the soul of mankind
more than any powerful quake shakes the earth.
We need not bunkers from geologic upheaval,
but rather shelter from slaughter by deranged men.

I wonder and worry …
When will it end?
When humanity hates more than it loves?
When more structures are blown up than built?
When humans bury more of their own than they birth?

I wonder…
How you don’t see that your hubris deforms generations,
Knee upon neck, muting talents and wiping out hopes, dreams, and giants.

Avatar photo Aatika ChoudryAuthor Aatika is a second-generation Muslim American who strives to make her local and global community a better place, break stigmas that hinder growth, and promote engaging in civic duty. She holds a M.Sc. in Adolescent Psychology and has been working in the field of education administration for over 15 years in Islamic Schools. She remains involved in Islamic work, mostly in ICNA, through volunteering in various projects, relief work, and writing, and is a continuous student of Islam. She is an alum of YM. She is raising three children in NJ.

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