Aleppo, Chakwal, & Beyond: What is in Our Hands & What is Not

What do we do when we come across some upsetting news in regards to terrorism, killings, attacks, or similar tragedies, such as that of Aleppo, or the attack on the mosque of Ahmadi Muslims in Chakwal? Well, there is so much that we do. While sitting  back and relaxing in the comfort of our homes, when we are done listening to or watching breaking news highlights about all of these tragedies, the first thing we do is open up our social media app, from Instagram to Twitter and Facebook, making sure to post a few tweets of our condolences for the families of the martyred, as well as condemnation on what happened. Sometimes, we even change our display pictures so others know that we are with the sufferers, and we make sure to retweet some verified twitter users who’ve tweeted something supportive for the victims. A few days later, we find ourselves back in carrying out our ‘normal social media activities’, posting about how fun our lives are what we’ve accomplished and what we can show off for the world to see. By doing so, we don’t realize that we are missing out on some very important aspects of life.

What have we really accomplished in our lives? We wouldn’t even know what real happiness was if we hadn’t tasted it. For instance, a person who has never had 5G internet might think that a dial up internet connection isn’t slow. Similarly each of us have and will continue to come across many people wanting us to change our way of life, from earning, saving up for a new sports car, the latest smartphone, or a branded coat etc., to helping homeless, feeding the poor, giving charity etc., claiming that what we call happiness is indeed not real. However we fail to understand their point of view because we cannot relate to it. Well, it’s never too late to make such a change. Today what we need to do is to think of a way of what we as individuals can do to actually bring about a change. I know that it can be difficult and time consuming to come up with such ideas because we, the public, don’t have access to an immense amount of worldly powers to bring the change that those who are higher up in the hierarchy can, such as the world leaders, the politicians, ambassadors, the United Nations, and so on.

However, those are basically the top down controls that we are focusing on. Yes, we need to persuade our leaders to stop the wars in the world, stop supporting and funding these fruitless actions that cause nothing but taking the lives of the innocent. But, there are some bottom up control methods that need to accompany as the counterpart, which we, the general public, can control. What we need to do at this time is to first educate ourselves, remove any rancor against the ‘other’-(not mine) race, or religion or nation, and instead, need to start working on finding commonalities between us in terms of our race, religion, nation. We need to adopt and embrace the concept of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’. We need to love each other like we love our own families. After all, if we are all sons and daughters of Adam, why do we boycott one another, why do we spread hate and look down upon one another based on petty things? If we start focusing on reforming our thinking, and our behavior in order to get closer to each other, we will be able to develop the love and connection with each other that will make us feel the pain of those in Syria, of those who’s basic religious rights are being taken away in Pakistan, of those who are dying of hunger, and of those who become the target of some terrorist attacks.

Through all of this, one thing for sure: no peace can be attained by the help of weapons, no love can be created by focusing on the differences. We must challenge ourselves; if ISIS can radicalize people, if the so called scholars can instigate people against Ahmad’s, if people can spread hate against a particular race, nation or religion, then why can’t’ we do the opposite? Why can’t we educate ourselves and others to create love? Once we are educated, we can win this war. We can win because our opponents are weak, and they lack the most important and enlightening things in the world: knowledge, education, rational and logical thinking.

If we don’t take such steps starting today, we will be like among those who create chaos, because we will be doing nothing to stop them. We will be like a bunch of desensitized, heartless bystanders, watching people fight and kill themselves. However, if we start now, then if not today, we will be able to see the results of our efforts one day. We just need to do it, and stick to it till we make a positive change in the world or die trying!

–  Wafa Majeed

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