Aafia Siddiqui – Prisoner no. 650



Yes! I certainly remember. Once upon a time I was a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mother! I had a name of my own; and a family, a nation, people I could call mine. I belonged to Humanity, to Mankind, to this world! But now…

There surely was a time when I had a name I was known by, a family I belonged to, a nation I loved and longed to serve. I was proud of my nation, and my nation was proud of me. I felt among the stars, whenever my name was called to me. This name meant achievement and success to my nation; it meant pride and glory, and the fulfillment of golden dreams. The mention of my name caused heads to turn, and eyes to sparkle. It was a most glorious story of devotion and dedication, of fruitful labour and meaningful hard work. It was the name of an obedient daughter of proud parents, an affectionate sister of caring brothers, the faithful wife of a happy husband, the all-sacrificing mother of innocent children, and a dutiful daughter of her beloved nation. It was the name of a woman who struggled night and day to excel, sacrificing her human needs to serve humanity; the name of a remarkably qualified doctor.

But that was the past.

Or was it?

Was it ever a reality?


That is just a dream. The reality is something, I never dreamt about. It is something, I never even comprehended or expected.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqi is just a dream, dreamt by the sore eyes of Prisoner No. 650!

Yes, this is the reality. Number 650 is the truth – the undisputable truth!

She is certainly not a sister, as she has no brothers! Sisters are loved and protected, not sold and humiliated. Brothers sacrifice their own blood, to provide their sisters’ bread; they never sell their sisters for their own bread! She is not a sister, since a sister’s name awakens precious memories and proud feelings in the hearts of her brothers, it reminds them of her innocence, and love and affection. On the other hand, the name that makes them revise their calculations, and recount the money, that she was supposed to be worth; can that be the name of a sister??

Number 650; this is my name. It is the name of a commodity put out for sale. It is a number in the eyes of the buyer; perhaps the 650th item they bought. It is a number in the eyes of the seller; a number that equals the amount of money that the item fetched them. Number 650 was nobody’s sister, but she was certainly a most profitable bargain!

Those who called her sister; or rather, those whom she called brother, have sold her to be the subject of the utmost physical and mental torture. It is quite natural that they don’t care for what becomes of something, they have already sold and disposed of, and which has brought them way more than they expected in return. But, who says the seller has forgotten her? He has not. He remembers her, whenever he re-evaluates his wealth. He remembers her, as his most profitable business deal. He remembers her name, as she was worth well more than he bargained! He even pities her, for the name she is given.

But what is the significance of a name? Or a number?

Names don’t matter. After all, she was not the only one to be sold. No. 650 is the item code of just one sold item. Who cares for the names of the other items put out for sale, as long as they were paid for in dollars? Who cares about the numbers they are given, as long as the price they fetched was satisfactorily high? Who cares whether they are grey or black, as long as the gold given in their exchange is yellow??

Go ahead, Aafia! Go ahead!

If you still exist, and if you still have brothers; wake them up! Shake them out of their long slumber! Kill the darkness; light the fire! Sacrifice yourself on the altar, and give them glad tidings of a bright tomorrow!

Do whatever you can, Aafia!

As of now, the bright lights of tomorrow, means nothing to Number 650. No. 650 does have enemies; she has persecutors, lawyers, judges, and sadistic torturers. She has sellers and buyers, she might even have admirers. But, she certainly has no brothers…


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