Saturday, 4 October 2008

Dear All,
I hope you and yours had a good Eid.
Just a couple of thoughts to share with you all. Starting with some concerns that Omer Basir had shown.

Omer, You are correct in feeling the frustration at how everyone is reaching out to help victims of one extremely publicized tragedy while hundreds die without even a mention everyday as a result of pointless terrorism. Thank you for appreciating what is happening here... But let me elaborate that whereas we share your frustration, there are two reasons we started where we did:

  1. It is much easier to gather information on victims of a tragedy such as this as opposed to any act of terrorism happening in Fata or Swat etc. I understand it is not impossible but being laymen, we feel that this is perhaps a good place to start and if we gain enough momentum maybe we will be in a better position, or be able to develop contacts within the set up to gather more information on the other victims.
  2. We strongly feel that one has to start somewhere. I know helping three random victims’ families might seem like nothing in the grand scheme of things but I am sure that it is better than doing nothing. Like I said it is a good place to start and hearing from our friends who did visit the families, we can make a big difference to their lives.

Perhaps someday soon we will be in a position to help many more and it would only happen if we stand united. Some of our members have given extremely valuable suggestions and something very do-able is helping the families that have been displaced owing to the SWAT escalation. Their children are out of schools and they lack basic civic amenities in the camps. We are trying to gather information on that and it would be great if you can help out in anyway.

The second concern I would like to address is Nausherwan’s in the visits becoming a media frenzy.

Nausherwan I believe you did show up for the visits but did not go all the way, perhaps owing to some personal commitments or perhaps even owing to your disagreement to the presence of media. You would know that best. Anyway, I would like to start by thanking you for showing up in the first place, I know it means a lot to us.

As for the media frenzy there are a couple of things:

  1. All media showed up voluntarily and no one was specifically contacted to be there (I guess we have a lot of conscientious media people here in the group)
  2. My own personal point of view and it does not reflect on anyone else is that if the media’s presence there can highlight the issues that those families face, and those families don’t have an issue with it, then perhaps the power of media can work towards benefitting those families.

In case you felt that someone was trying to take credit for the event or blow their own trumpet, I can assure you that weren’t the case.

What I want to make clear again and again here is that this is not a one man show. It is as you may all see a group of people who want to help… that is really it. Nothing more , nothing less. People who can/ want to donate are doing that, those who want to give time are doing that, those who are just here to solidarity are doing just that. My point being that all your inputs and critique are more than welcome as together we are probably in a much better position to make a change, any change. I am sure different people would view this differently, some negatively some constructively and some positively… the cause belongs to all of us.

We are looking at making more visits to the homes of victims and this time the ones who live further away. We will keep all of you posted. If anyone can help in anyway, whether by providing information or support they are more than welcome.
I thank you for standing together.