PeshawarAttack: 10 ways we should not have reacted
[DAWN] The standing of a nation is determined by how they react to a tragedy. All nations face tragedies. Sadly, Pakistain faces them more often than most, but the events of Tuesday are unprecedented in history.

For a time, it seemed, the tragedy will unite the nation. Everyone was in a state of mourning.

if you can't say something nice about a person some juicy gossip will go well...
our reactions after the immediate mourning have ranged from slightly off bad to downright horrible. Every time I log into any social media platform, I am shocked by what I read.

1. Justifying/rationalising the attacks
Let's get one thing straight: there is no religion in the world that would call for a savagery like the Beautiful Downtown Peshawar
...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire.
attack. It is bad enough that you are so shorn of humanity that you will find the Peshawar massacre justifiable, but it's made even worse by finding its justification in religion.
You've got religious parties. Precisely that sort of massacre is exactly what most of them peddle.
The historical context also does not justify the attacks. Children have died in drone strikes and military operations but that does not make walking into a school and shooting young children any less indefensible. It is not less unjustifiable because they were army kids, it is also not worse because they were army kids; they were kids, period.

If that does not make your heart break, get medical (read mental) help.

2. Bomb their villages/Kill their families
It is our humaneness which makes us better than them. If we lose that, we are simply giving in to what they want.
You can also be wishy-washy and tolerant of savagery and dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back for your "humaneness."It's so much easier to do nothing and pretend it's something.
The need for vengeance is understandable. The attack left the entire nation fuming with rage, but we should not burn ourselves in that fire. It makes sense to demand that members of myrmidon organizations and adherents of myrmidon ideology are hunted down, killed or captured, but this does not call for activities risking the lives of innocent people. There is always collateral damage in war, but taking the collateral for granted will make the war pointless.

We have to be better than them, always remember that.

3. Hang them in the streets
I am torn on the issue of death penalty, I am not completely against the idea since Pakistain has a history of bully boyz breaking out of jails, and these criminals should suffer for their crimes against humanity, but it is something that needs to be done, not something we should enjoy doing.
Precisely why should the neck stretching not be publicized?
There is no reason to make a public spectacle of it and then share pictures all over social media. Using dead bodies to make a public statement is a very dangerous precedent to say the least.
You're not required to enjoy it, but you've got a duty to do it,especially given the frequency of jailbreaks in Pakistain and that fact that utterly horrible "inmates" seem to live comfortable lives "in jug" and continue running their operations from durance vile.
4. Nuke India
Most of Pakistain appreciated the support and sympathy extended by India to Pakistain in the wake of the tragedy. Many Bollywood superstars came out with condolences and condemnations. Anupam Kher even penned an open letter. #IndiaWithPakistain was trending on Twitter. It was heartening to see the people of the two countries set aside their differences to come together for humanity.

if you can't say something nice about a person some juicy gossip will go well...
some segments of the media fuelled the anti-India narrative in Pakistain. They didn't lose a second in blaming RAW for the attack, despite the fact that TTP had already accepted it. The ensuing situation led to many anti-India comments on social media, the worst of which was the suggestion of a nuclear war.
The same people utter the same charges against RAW every atrocity. As far as I'm aware of, none' ever proved out. On the other hand, even outsiders like us can usually call whodunnit to the TTP or al-Qaeda faction without much effort and with a fair degree of accuract. If you want to really fine tune it, glance at Bill Roggio's Long War Journal.
Often, both India and Pakistain are seen mentioning the nuclear option with frightening casualness. The governments and the media on both sides of the border should take a lot more caution; we will not only lose our children but also our unborn children if, god forbid, nukes ever come into play.

5. XYZ did it
Conspiracy theories rang on. Despite the TTP accepting responsibility for the attack, all kinds of theories were prevalent, ranging from Imran Khan
... aka Taliban Khan, who is the lightweight's lightweight...
orchestrating the attack to find a face-saving way to end the dharna to Nawaz Sharif
... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf...
being the criminal mastermind of the attack to get Imran Khan to end his dharna.

Could we not have forgotten about the dharnas for a few days, at least?

One popular anchor even put a clearly photoshopped picture on his Facebook account linking one of the dead gunnies to Malala. When Malala was shot, a lot of people claimed Taliaban could not do it since she was a school-going child. The Peshawar massacre should have brought these people to their senses, but surprisingly, some people became even more vehemently anti-Malala after the tragedy.
Malala, if I remember correctly, is fifteen or sixteen years old. Precocious little girl, ain't she?
6. Kill the liberal dogs/Kill the mullahs
As the divides between the camps kept growing every day, the unified front put up by the country was soon in tatters. Many used the #AskGHQ trend on Twitter to viciously attack liberals; blaming liberals for causing the attacks because of their "anti-army" sentiments.

I personally see no problem in asking for accountability, but people asking for every mosque to be shut down in Pakistain and every mullah to be hanged are too far removed from the ground reality. The extreme opinions on both sides of the divide simply make the chasm bigger. It has come to a point where death threats are being thrown around casually for anyone's liking on Twitter.
There's probably no need to hang every mullah, but occasionally hanging one as an example to the others would seem an effective policy. There's a difference between Maulana Sami and Maulana Fazl: Fazl's way more corpulent than Sami, and he's more subtle. Hang Mullah Sandwich and keep an eye on Mullah Diesel.
Then there are people criticising the holding of vigils for being un-Islamic. It only hurts the feelings of those who are taking some semblance of comfort in these shows of solidarity. These vigils bring prayers and compassion with them. Our religion is a religion of compassion.
Yeah. And "mercy." And we all know it's the "religion of peace."
Lets all learn to show some for each other.

7. Impose military coup
One of the oldest and quite venerable television anchors has appeared on television multiple times claiming that martial law has been imposed in the country, all but in name.

While it is true that the nation is in a state of emergency, and many of the decisions being taken without the legal process taking its due course, it isn't like the civilian government has lost all authority.

To use the tragedy to further your political beliefs, or to call for a change of regime or spread false chaos is utterly unacceptable. This is the time for the nation to stand united under the leadership despite having disagreements with them. You can question their decisions and call for accountability or transparency, but to call for an overthrow of the government at this time is treasonous.

8. Sharing all the images
Despite all the pleas, including by psychiatrists, to not share the images of dead bodies; warning people of the potential psychological damage, especially to children who see them; the images continue to be shared rampantly all over social media.

A mother told a story of how her little daughter told her she would not go to school anymore because she saw on TV that kids get beat up so much at school that they start bleeding. And that is so despite the fact that the poor soul did not even understand the extent of the tragedy.

This disrespect to the parents, family members and friends of the dear departed children absolutely must stop. Next time you consider posting an image, take a moment to think, how would the parents feel, watching pictures of their dead child on Facebook?

9. Interviewing kids in the hospital
Taking cue from popular anchors, many citizens have started going to hospitals and the houses of the victims to interview them. These poor children are forced to relive the worst moments of their lives. Unless you are a qualified psychiatrist, there is a high risk that whatever you say to the child may make the trauma worse.

The children are also being encouraged to take up militancy against the terrorists. While it is completely acceptable for these children to grow up wanting to join the police or army, using these interviews to encourage militancy may make some of the people watching them take up the law in their own hands.
...which is precisely what the TTP is doing. Their neighbors and their kin know who they are but they never do anything about them.
The last thing Pakistain wants is more myrmidons.

10. What if it was your child?
It may seem like a completely innocuous thing to say, but it is tangibly offensive to the victims and their mourners.
It is perfectly innocuous. Given Pakistain's record it's also likely.
What are you telling them, that one needs it to be their child to have empathy? That we must feel sadder because the kid was from a certain country, certain religion or certain ethnicity is against the idea of humanity. The world has been unanimous in their support and sympathy; we should do the same the next time there is a tragedy anywhere in the world.

Implying that someone would not feel the pain unless they imagined the victim to be their child is wrong and goes against the humanistic ideals we should be promoting in Pakistain. You should not have to imagine it a certain way; you should learn to feel for everyone's children.

Think about what you are saying the next time you share your opinion publicly. Sometimes even the best of intentions go astray with a few bad choices of words. We are all in this together; we cannot lose our humanity in the face of the worst tragedy that we have faced. It is the pain what makes us human, not the anger.
Posted by: Fred 2014-12-23