A letter to Tehrik-e-Taliban from an American Climber
Congratulations. You successfully ruined, yet again, a consciousness that was finally beginning to change. After 12 years, the fear and hesitation was subsiding, a movement was beginning. Your countrymen, especially the poorest of folk in the remote mountain villages, had promise for rebirth in Pakistan’s summer tourism. Their eternal optimism was proving real results as the number of summer tourists, trekkers and climbers was beginning to rise. Hotel owners, who had shut their doors after the devastating effects of the post-9/11 void of foreigners, were opening again for the first time in over a decade. New restaurants opened for business. Porters of the Karakoram compared the 2012 portaging season to that of the boom in the 90’s. Tourism in Pakistan was on the rebound, worldly perceptions about the country were changing, and you went and completely ruined it for everyone.
Who are you, Tehrik-e-Taliban? Why do you hide in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area? Is it because you fear the world? Why do you choose only to reveal yourself during brief and devastating moments of callous bloodshed? Do you lack purpose? You hide behind your god with the weapons you carry. The climbers who you killed were in their own mosque—you may not know that Pakistan is a climber’s Mecca, our holy place. The most stunning minarets on earth pierce sharply into the heavens, and from these summits we find our understanding of purity, beg for mercy, and cleanse our selves of everything extraneous to the very place inside ourselves. You, of course, didn’t understand any of this as you killed pilgrims at rest, you xenophobic a%&holes.
So, once again, you’ve instilled fear in the minds and lives of all potential travelers to Pakistan. You say your actions were in protest to drone attacks. I hear you, and know that most of the climbing community joins you in your protest. We are on YOUR side in believing these attacks need to stop! But violence for violence is not the way, especially as misguided as your atrocious actions. You have consequently shafted hundreds of thousands of Pakistani, stolen annual salaries that would have fed families, ruined a meager but important tourism industry, destroyed perceptions around the world, and further alienated yourselves from humanity. Time will heal, again. But your actions will not be forgotten.
Because of you, I will not be coming to Pakistan this year. You’ve scared my family and friends with your heathenish actions, and because of my love for them I am sitting this year out. You may think you’ve won. But I will return—you don’t scare me. I know the love Pakistan has to offer.
Sincerely go to hell,