By Haseena Patel | Leave No Girl Behind International
16th December 2014
I’ve always believed in the concept that when a stone is cast into the sea on one side of the world, the ripple effect can be felt everywhere. Metaphorically that is true, as is the truth that Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of – “injustice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. How we are affected by world events goes way beyond the borders of our individual countries. There is no such thing as separateness. Like it or not, we are one world; one people with dreams, hopes, fears, love to give.
On a day like this, it is difficult to make sense of our sameness…but it is also a time where our sameness brings us comfort. Now that is a statement both incongruent and filled with paradox.
This afternoon I was on Skype with my friend, Hena. She is the human resources and admin manager for SAWERA, a women’s empowerment organisation in Pakistan. At 10 a.m. Pakistan time, this morning, the Army Public School in Peshawar was bombed by terrorists, who then went into classrooms and opened fire on students. There are approximately 1,600 students attending this school – boys and girls. Over 120 children were killed – the number hasn’t been confirmed yet. It seems that it was a Taliban attack. Various articles on the internet state different facts, but I’m going according to the sources posted by Hena.
Which brings me back to my earlier statement – it is difficult to make sense of our sameness. How can we share a common humanity with human beings who bomb schools; who gun down innocent children? How did they even get to the point where they could do something like this? Did they have any feeling for anything at all in this world? Who were their parents? Where were their parents? Were they loved? Did they ever love? For questions like these, there are no answers. There is no answer as to how any human being can take the life of a child.
My heart goes out to the people of Peshawar, the people with loved ones in Peshawar, and to the whole country of Pakistan. I wish there was some comfort for the mothers and fathers and siblings of the students whose lives were so senselessly taken. I wish there was some way to erase the trauma and images seared into the minds of those students who lived through the terror.
And then, immediately, the thought of: 'How can I help? What can I do?' So many of us around the world feel helpless being so far away and not being able to give anything to the survivors and the families of those who didn’t survive.
But there is something we can do, and my blog today is about what we can give. We can raise awareness. If we are able, we can donate to organisations such as SAWERA who will use the funds to help those in need, especially medically. If we have friends or family in Pakistan (or friends of friends), we can share that blood donors are needed in Peshawar – they especially need O Negative blood.
And while all these things are important, the most important way we can help is by giving the people of Pakistan moral support. We can send messages of comfort; prayers; good wishes. We can share our common humanity; our sameness. We can let them know that we, in the rest of the world, grieve with them, hold them in our hearts. We can let them know that we are not separate from them; that we stand with them. I am asking anyone who reads this blog to please put a message of support in the comments section here. People like Hena who are working to make their country a better place need your support, as do all the people of Pakistan.
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