Shahid Batalvi Speaks

with apology to Black Elk for he speaks first

“Don’t Fire Until You see the White of Their Eyes”

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The origin of this alleged command to the American patriots at Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775 may have been Col. William Prescott’s order to reserve fire and aim low because powder was scarce. Reputedly Israel Putnam passed on the order in these words: "Men, you are all marksmen—don’t one of you fire until you see the white of their eyes." The British won the battle, but the patriots’ stubborn resistance at Bunker Hill became a symbol of American resolve.
The current challenge and perhaps the pathetic situation in Pakistan is that the nation has waited far beyond seeing the white of the eyes of a systemic and endemic disease that corroded its entire organism for far too long. I am afraid all we are doing now is palliative surgery of that organism.
Perhaps the only hope is the collective awareness that the combined salvation lies in addressing the core issues of illiteracy, poverty and disenfranchisement. Everything else is a consequence.
May 9th, 2009

Written by Shahid Batalvi

May 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Analysis

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