Courage Is Where You Find It

Aitizaz Hasan

Aitzaz Hasan

By GENE HOWINGTON

Courage and heroism are often seen in unusual places and from unlikely people. How courageous and heroic were you at age seventeen? The place this story is set in not unusual; a war zone like the town of Ibrahimzai, a Shia-dominated region of Hangu, in north-western Pakistan.  Hangu is on the edge of the highly volatile semi-autonomous tribal regions of northern Pakistan and subject to frequent attacks on the local Shia population by the radical Taliban and al-Qaeda influenced Sunni fundamentalist living in those rugged mountains.  The person in this story was what most would consider an unlikely source of heroism – a seventeen year old school boy (although the BBC is reporting his age as fifteen). He wasn’t a solider although people remembering him did describe him as brave . . . and a good student.  On the day in question, January 6, Aitzaz Hasan was just a young man hanging out before classes. Waiting for the start of a school day that for him would never come. He was with friends outside their school when they saw a man approaching wearing a suicide bomb vest. Although his friends begged him not to do anything, Hasan went to confront and stop the would-be suicide bomber.  He stopped the bomber, in the process saving unknown numbers of the estimated 2,000 students in school that day, but at the cost of his own life when the bomber detonated the vest.

Nishan-e-Haider

Nishan-e-Haider

Rather than focus on their loss, Hasan’s family is focusing on his bravery. “My son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children,” said Mujahid Ali, Aitzaz’s father.  Others still are calling for him to receive Pakistan’s highest military award, the Nishan-e-Haider.

Whether formally recognized by the state or not, it is not difficult to see the heroism of this young man’s selfless actions to protect his friends and schoolmates from traumatic injury and death at the hands of a radical who didn’t agree with the predominate religious tradition of the citizens of Ibrahimzai. Aitzaz Hasan may have been young, but the bravery of his act spoke volumes about his character. His family should be proud of him.

What do you think?

Source(s): BBC News, The Express Tribune

About Gene Howington

I write and do other stuff.
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1 Response to Courage Is Where You Find It

  1. Mike Spindell says:

    Bravery and heroism are terms that are loosely bandied about today with little regard to the reality of the actions that are being applauded. While it is true that some people must be brave to perform certain aspects of their professions, that bravery is mostly exhibited in the “line of duty”.
    The standard for the Congressional Medal of Honor recognizes extraordinary acts that went far beyond the call of duty. One could say Hasan had three choices. Stay and potentially be blown up. Flee because he recognized the danger early enough to do so. He chose the third to confront the attacker. His act was thus one I would see as extreme bravery since he had an option to save his own life, but chose to try to save others.

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