13 November Baloch Martyrs Day

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Today, on November 13, we commemorate the martyrdom of our heroes. Today we remember those thousands of men, women, children and elderly Baloch — some of them we know by name and others are our unsung heroes laid in unmarked graves — who sacrificed their lives for a better future where their fellow countrymen will not face persecution, and will not be deprived of their social, political and economic rights. A future of self-rule, a future without fear, a future without religious fanaticism, a future without oppression.

Every human being should strive for such ideals and no one deserves to be killed for demanding these ideals. But the world is an unjust place, and Pakistan the most. Yet, injustice has to be fought out.
In Baloch history our people have fought against aggressors with bravery and dignity, no matter how strong the oppressive forces were. In the 19th century, the same day Mir Mehrab Khan, the ruler of Balochistan, refused to surrender against the much powerful British forces, knowing he will be eventually defeated. He fought until death, but didn’t surrender his country’s sovereignty to foreign invaders. His heroic decision was defined by a collective Baloch trait: injustice should not be tolerated at any cost.

Today we face a new aggressor with old colonial motives of plunder and exploitation. The world has changed and empires vanished since World War II with most of humankind enjoying relative peace and prosperity. Yet there are states like Pakistan that are employing the same old tactics of colonial aggression and exploitation on the pretext of delivering peace and prosperity. But we can identify the ill motives of an aggressor, as did our ancestors. We have fought against them in the past, we are still fighting them and will fight against them in the future.

Today we are faced with the chauvinistic Punjabi military of Pakistan. Today, our sons and daughters, the heroes of our nation, are still shown their uncompromising resolve to resist oppression through unsurmountable sacrifices.
Our sacrifices are not led by blind heroism or bravery. Like any other people, we cherish life and mourn death. Yet, as we weep, we also celebrate the death of our heroes, as their act of sacrifice is motivated by the aspirations of a better human society where we can freely live our lives according to our own values and without persecution.

Let us remember our heroes. All of them. Those who we know by names and those buried in collective unmarked graves. Let us light a kindle in their memory and cherish their sacrifices. Let us mourn and celebrate at the same time.

Let us honor our heroes by following in their footsteps and carry on the torch of resistance they lit with their sacrifices. We cannot afford to discontinue our struggle in the face of sheer brutality, as it will be tantamount to letting go the sacrifices of our heroes. Stopping the struggle in the middle means to justify Pakistan’s brutal use of force against our people.

Let us honor our heroes by an act of resistance, no matter how small it is. Let us show Pakistan’s military establishment we will not break in the face of tyranny and will not submit to the illegitimate occupation of our land. We will fight on, like our heroes.
November 13 is the day of remembrance and allegiance to those sons and daughters of the soil who knew they could not see a free Balochistan in their life, yet they sacrificed the precious lives for the future of our nation. What makes their sacrifice so great is their understanding of the significance of human freedom. Let us cherish the memory of those men and women who fought for this idea that humans cannot be deprived of their inherent right to be born free and remain free.
Our heroes were born free and they died free. They chose death over life for our free future. Let us honor them by refusing to surrender to slavery.