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Lessons from Peshawar.

By- Romesa Qaiser Khan.

I'm well aware of the plethora of platitudes and sympathies and condemnations circulating around the internet at this very moment. Everything that could be said, has been. I'm also aware of how inadequate words are, how pseudo it seems to claim that we feel the pain of Peshawar victims when in reality we can't even imagine their state at this time because no one can claim to have experienced a tragedy of this magnitude. Yet, for the very same reason that Facebook is cluttered with black displays and statuses full of anger and empathy, that people are lighting candles at vigils all over the world, we too need to at least say something to alleviate the helplessness and hopelessness that this incident has brought on and to glean whatever we can to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.

The Peshawar attack was senseless, inhumane, it goes without saying. But at the same time, there are lessons from this we need to learn. If God forbid, should we ever face a similar situation, we need to see how these people have risen above the call of the duty and tried to save their fellows, their students. From the teacher who got set on fire defending her students to the soldiers who voluntarily went down fighting these terrorists, they were heroes to the end. We need to follow their example, we need to derive the inspiration to think not only of ourselves but also of others in time of crises. We need to stay calm and act smart like the little kids who saved their lives by pretending to be dead even after they were shot in the legs. Most of all as doctors, we need to learn the basic know-how of first aid that can enable us to save countless lives. We need to understand the protocols of emergency drills which tell you that in hostage situations, the very first thing to attempt is escape. Knowledge more than anything can save precious lives, for which we shouldn't wait for seminars and lectures but utilize the time we waste everyday surfing the internet.

Most of all, we need to be aware of our surroundings. We need to take the basic measures of observing suspicious passers-by and any unattended luggage. We need to curb religious intolerance at every step. Report anyone who tries to spread militancy by declaring these acts of terrorism by proclaiming them jihad, be wary of people who distort Islamic teachings to their ends and be wary of those who target any community specifically Shias, Ahmedis, or any minorities. Remember, extremism takes it roots from mispropagation of religious ideology. Read and understand the Quran and what it really says about religious compulsion and the sanctity of all life and pass on your knowledge to others.

Take everyday precautions such as closing your bus and classroom doors and locking them. Practice scenarios for escape. Have an emergency plan thought out. Be aware of all the emergency service numbers such as bomb disposal squad and keep them on speed dial. Keep basic first aid items like bandages in your bags.

Above all, don't let the martyrdom of the Peshawar victims go to waste. Remember them. Recite the Quran and say prayers for their maghfarat. Show your support for your army, for education, show solidarity in every little way you can. Stand united and know your enemies. This is the time for constant vigilance. The end is just beginning. There will be many more incidents in retaliation. Brace yourselves.


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