Posts Tagged ‘survivors’

today i cried

June 24, 2017

today i cried for the 22 loved ones lost in manchester

today i cried for gul rukh tahir

today i cried for the 70,000 loved ones lost in pakistan

today i cried for my helplessness

today i cried for having lost faith in a fate fated

today i cried as i sat looking at the blank tv screen for i did not have the strength to reach for the remote and see manchester

today i cried as i saw my reflection in the tv screen juxtaposed with scenes from 10/05-09 till today

today i cried at not feeling sad, angry, mad, crazed, but at just sitting numb – living the moments with the loved ones left to mourn the 22 of manchester

today i cried at the agony of those waiting for news of their loved ones in hospital.

and today i cried for i do not know what.

tahir wadood malik

23/24.05.17 midnight till 01.00 hours

My Talk at School of International Law

October 11, 2012

talking to the students at SIL

Talk at School of International Law

(http://sil.edu.pk/) Islamabad

Thursday 04 October 2010. Tahir Wadood Malik, Founding Director Pakistan Terrorism Survivors Network

MY TALK “Pakistan, Terrorism/Violent Extremism and Us,” at the School of International Law, thanks to an earlier informal interaction with students arranged by Ms. Nida Tareen, the Director / Principal, attracted a good number of students despite the Semi-finals of the T20 Cricket World Cup between Pakistan and Sri Lanka later that evening.

I STARTED the talk with a reference to how we have become so immune to extremism that we ‘change the TV channel’ when this news comes on. I followed this with how Islam prohibits extremism, and suicide. Then highlighted that this narrative was obviously not working because a number of youth still get radicalized, and vulnerable youth were joining the ranks of the extremists. Which gives rise to the question whether this extremist movement is about religion, or some other cause like political, economic, personal etc., is the motivation? For this I reminded them of the recent ‘lone work terrorist’ and how they had operated in random incidents across the globe.

I GAVE the students the following possibilities/actions to ‘Say No to Terrorism”:

  • Be watchfully alert for radicalized / at-risk / vulnerable youth.
  • Be aware of radicalization trends in youth.
  • Based on what they learn, craft a counter narrative which should include religion, politics, economic, or ideological parameters.
  • As they surf the net, use online social media, or other media channels, be watchful for the media used by these groups and suggest counter media hints.
  • If they learn of any survivor in their environs, connect them to us.
  • Read up on PTSD and understand why some people in their surroundings behave as they and not because of any other (insane) factor!
  • Be politically aware, find out about their legislative representatives and try to reach them through letters and other means to make them aware of the feelings and thoughts of the youth in their constituency.
  • Make efforts to improve their physical strength and stamina so in case they are needed to assist in any area of terrorist action they can do so.
  • Impressed upon them that leaving Pakistan is NOT the solution – even if they can and do, what about the kith and kin that will still remain in Pakistan?
  • They should not fear death – because everybody is going to die one day, remove the fear of death from your heart.

WHAT CAN institutions do?

  • Protect the students and the facility physically.
  • Arrange trainings like first-aid (PRCS) and rescue operations (1122).

–      Training for all – the old, the young, the youth, the ladies the disabled, even the peon, cook, driver and more!

  • Inculcate responsibility about life in students so they:

–      Are alert 24 hours a day.

–      More alert when travelling through crowded places.

–      Inform their family about their whereabouts. Also ask the family to inform you about theirs.

–      Look out for & report suspicious objects, persons & bad elements in the surroundings.

FROM HERE we moved on to watch the Global Survivors Network video “Hear our Voices” which created an impact and many students were moved to tears.

https://vimeo.com/32102588

A QUESTION/ANSWER/SHARING session followed, with students coming up with probing question, sharing experiences, and generally accepting that they did not care about this issue because it seemed so remote.

One of the students then narrated her story of losing her brother in a horrific incident over five years ago, and the trauma that they family had to undergo and still does, every day due to this. Her emotionally charged tearful narrative was straight from the heart, and even I had trouble remaining composed. She had a valid point to make about how some organizations play on the emotions of the survivors by raising funds through musical concerts and such activities which can hurt the emotions of survivors.

Another student remarked that while she felt emotionally involved but this feeling did not last long, and she had ups and down’s and she felt sullied for not doing anything about this due to her short feeling span.

Another student whose family is running a seminary, narrated the experience of how her husband went missing for a few months and returned to tell how he had been kidnapped by some extremist elements who wanted him to be a part of their network.

Other students talked about the role of the seminary system (madrassas), my response to this is that many actual perpetrators were educated city folks, like those in the audience, so putting the blame on seminaries was ‘scapegoating’ these. And this was supported by the lady mentioned in the previous paragraph.

The students were moved by these narratives and some came up to me and thanked me for giving them the chance to speak, and how it had shown the effects of extremism in their midst. Something they would not have known ever.

A SUGGESTED counter narrative was written by a student and given to me (attached).

FINALLY I told them the reason I addressed youth was:

  1. Because youth have unadulterated passion & belief in them, which is a weapon that no act of terror can stand up to
  2. This same unadulterated passion & belief is used by the extremists to recruit youth!
  3. We can no longer afford biased, orthodox ‘adults’ with no regard for new & unconventional ideas to lead the way, we can combat terrorism only if we welcome new ideas and allow the youth to voice their opinions

The students and management decided that we will have another interaction with the students in a months’ time to talk about taking the “Say No to Terrorism” further, and see what the students had done about what we discussed that day.

ENDING ON the Quranic verse, Surely, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change that which is in their hearts (Ch.13 – V 11),I am confident that at SIL we have laid the foundation of a group of young Pakistanis who will be in the forefront to “Say No to Terrorism.”

Pakistan Terrorism Survivors Network: http://www.paktsn.webs.com

My blog: http://www.gsntahir.wordpress.com

Global Survivors Network: http://www.globslsn.net

Against Violent Extremism: http://www.againstviolentextremism.org

Peace Direct: http://www.peacedirect.org/

Counter Narrative Comment Written by a Student

The person who is committing suicide – if he knows what is he doing, I think then he is to suffer in his afterlife. But, if the suicide bomber doesn’t know what will be the after effects of his action, in my point of view he is innocent. And only because of one reason that is – he is doing what someone else (that of sound mind and age) wanted him to do. That particular person brainwashing other innocent people to kill themselves and others, do it by getting hold of the emotions and sentimental values of those bombers and terrorists. Only if we get hold of a person’s emotional and sentimental side, we can direct the mind of any person at any point.

All we need to do is to build a bridge, have a heart and show others we have it. I think that is all that matters. This is the counter narrative I have.

PS:

Everyone needs help. Even the terrorists. Because the cycle has been going on – like you said, it has to be stopped. Terrorism comes in many forms … Silence is one of them.

Be patient.

Orphaned by Extremism

September 8, 2012

my article on the lifeafterhate site.

—————————————————-

No child is immune to the traumatic effects of terrorism, whether they are in New York, Bosnia, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, London, Lebanon, Rwanda, Kashmir, Darfur, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or elsewhere. And while many children are resilient after traumatic experiences, many develop a variety of emotional and behavioral symptoms that can be severe and long-lasting.

http://lifeafterhate.org/2012/09/orphaned-by-extremism/

Workshop on “Promoting regional security cooperation: what role for civil society and multilateral engagement?”

April 19, 2012

i have been invited to participate in the workshop on “Promoting regional security cooperation: what role for civil society and multilateral engagement?” on 26-27 April at the Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore.

i have been asked to make opening remarks during the panel on countering violent extremism, and share some thoughts on how survivors of terrorism can help counter the appeal of violent extremism.

any suggestions on what to say and how to approach this are welcome. thank you in advance for your input.

Allah bless and keep you safe.

Background papers at:

1.       Civil Society and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy: Opportunities and Challengeshttp://www.globalct.org/images/content/pdf/reports/civil_society.pdf

2.       Countering Terrorism in South Asia: Strengthening Multilateral Engagementhttp://www.globalct.org/images/content/pdf/reports/south_asia.pdf

3.       Strengthening Regional Security Cooperation and Capacity in South Asia: Key Observations, 17-18 October 2011 – http://www.globalct.org/images/content/pdf/summaries/KeyObservations_SouthAsia_civilsocietyandCT_Oct2011.pdf

4.       UN Counterterrorism site – www.un.org/terrorism

survivor network activities undertaken so far

December 13, 2009

1 – talked to the rector of islamic university about activities to be done … will follow up
2 – visited parade lane mosque attack survivors and spent time with them
3 – opened communications with air university about possibility to plan some activity related to terrorism/anti-terrorism
4 – working on 2-3 posters for use on occasions related al, networkto this activity
5 – looking for volunteers to stand with me during a few vigils that i plan to hold in islamabad

remembering october 5

December 4, 2009

tomorrow will be two months to the un wfp islamabad, pakistan bombing, which took the life’s of five people.

two months ago the lives of five families were altered in an unimaginable manner, mine too, as my wife is one of the five.

tomorrow i plan a remembrance meeting at the site of the blast. a short meeting, with a minutes silence, prayers, candles, and tying ribbons to the tree outside the building in memory of the dead and injured.

while we will remember our loved ones for ever, this is my way of keeping the world involved in our fight against terrorism — keep the memory alive, speak, for silence is no longer an option.

i am a survivor of terrorism & went to amman jordan to meet survivors like me.

November 12, 2009

just back after a four day learning, invigoration, eventful, loving, and caring trip to amman, jordan, organized by global survivors network.

http://www.globalsurvivors.org/default.htm

got to meet 9 other survivors of terror, and share our thoughts, feelings and desires for the future with each other.

http://incaseofemergencyblog.com/2008/09/21/ben-borgia-advocate-for-bali-terror-bombing-victims-what-should-we-tell-the-publicnational-preparedness-month/

http://www.madforpeace.org/

the highlight of the activity was the commemoration of the jordan attacks of 2005.

“Disease, natural disasters, fate do not discriminate. But terrorism does. It discriminates against the innocent. We, in Jordan, know this firsthand,” Her Majesty Queen Rania said in a statement marking the occasion.

it was an event that moved the people to tears, made them hold hands, and just stand silent and look, for speaking would have made them betray their emotions, the tree planting was attended by the ambassadors of the countries of nine of the survivors, and your guess is as good as mine, the only ambassador conspicuous by his absence was his excellency the ambassador of the islamic republic of pakistan (even after confirming that he would be there), so we, dr habiba, and i just planted the tree by ourselves!

i’ll write up my impressions of the trip and the events, but till then here is the coverage.

http://www.jordantimes.com/?news=21463

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/09/global-survivors-network-launch

i would like to thank wolfgang harbinger, the country director of the world food program in pakistan, for thinking of me and getting me in touch with carie lemack and the global survivors network,

PLEASE find the time to visit the GSN site, to show your support to the survivors of terror, because here in pakistan, with every passing day we add to the number of of survivors of terror.