Peshawar 16/12/2014 Attack

pakistancontrolmap_300

Pakistan has been fighting the Taliban on a daily basis for years with many being killed injured and scared for their lives and families. The worst affected area has been the northwest region in Pakistan. On 16th December 2014 Militants from the Pakistani Taliban attacked an army-run school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children and nine staff members.

Many of the students were 16 and under and were the children of military personnel.

This massacre shocked the country as it has been the deadliest attack by the Taliban yet in Pakistan. Victims who survived said the militants moved from classroom to another shooting indiscriminately.

This is not a stand-alone attack from the Taliban in Pakistan, and over the years they have been many attacks and killings:

22 September 2013: At least 80 people killed at a church in Peshawar, in one of the worst attacks on Christians

10 January 2013: 120 killed targeting the Hazara Shia Muslim minority in the city of Quetta.

28 May 2010: Attack on two mosques of the minority Ahmadi Islamic sect in Lahore, killed 80+ people

18 October 2007: Rally for Benazir Bhutto in Karachi at least 130 dead. Unclear if Taliban behind attack

Former cricket captain and leader of PTI Imran Khan condemned the 16th December 2014 attack as “utter barbarism” and called off his four month protest to get rid of the current government.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN?

It is often confused that because it is the Taliban who are a group of far right extreme idealists who use religion as a defence to cover their intentions, that every time they attack it is in the name of religion or to stop western influences.

They are simply terrorists, despite their religion but are always labelled as ‘Muslim terrorists’.  In the same way if a Christian murdered 100 people, does this change the fact that a murderer is a murderer?

The truth to the attack on 16th December 2014 which has been confirmed directly from a Taliban spokesman who told BBC Urdu that the school, which is run by the army, had been targeted in response to military operations. Another, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurasani said the militants had been “forced” to launch the attack in response to army attacks.

The Taliban reacted as they felt under threat- not religiously motivated. It is not just the West who is under threat or affected by the Taliban – many suffer from Taliban Occupation in Muslim countries.

Sochi 2014: I Want Equality At The Olympics

Its not a crime being true to yourself
-respect comes from equality

Gymnesia

Sochi 2014 I Want EqualityIt’s disgusting that the bigotry and homophobia the LGBT community in Russia are currently experiencing still exists in 2014. And it’s absolutely mind boggling that the Olympic Committee have chosen to mar what should be such a fantastic global sporting event by gifting Russia with the opportunity to host the Winter Games 2014, knowing full well about the countries blatant inequality and inhumane treatment of their own people.

View original post 89 more words

Stereotypes-It affects us all!

I  came across the Pantene labels advert, if you have not seen it check it  out …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOjNcZvwjxI

As I was watching it made me think in broader terms in society, of gender inequality presented in different situations and where gender is positioned differently from the other. In the Pantene advert, there is a direct comparison of males and females that depicts a negative female stereotype. BUT whose eyes are we the viewer taking the perspective from, (is it a males gaze?) because yes there are labels being used and I do think in some situations there is an inequality towards women….

For instance the representation of women in music videos and video games increasingly objectify and sexualise women as mindless puppets for male gratification.

However, this got me thinking-  we often hear how the media influences women/girls in particular by the photo shopped images, thin models, celebrity lifestyle, beautiful faces etc… which can have a negative impact on women/girls with their self esteem, body image, confidence as they are aiming for that desired appeal of the belief that beautiful means you can have everything .

This stereotype appears to only affect women/girls…but it does NOT stop there

Boys/men also feel a pressure and have their own desired image which they associate with. 

In society the most beautiful attractive and appealing men are shown with 6 packs and sculptured bodies with physical strength, tall, have money, charm, and are a hit with the ladies and so on… 

This is also seen in games, films, men’s health magazines etc…

 The idealism for men is marketed differently than women but is ultimately the same thing. To be accepted in society it is all about appearance.

Men also feel expectations to work towards and share a similar belief as women, that beauty means you can gain everything attitude. The idea of being beautiful and muscular means getting any girl, marching in and grabbing a great job and finding a new confidence.

This constant comparison with the perceived ‘beauty’ and the goals of getting there to achieve and accomplish this, that and so on..can become an obsession.

I also want to raise the subject on Men and Eating Disorders which again is stereotyped as a ‘girls only’ condition when in reality Eating Disorders are complex mental health issues that can affect anyone despite their age, gender, background, etc

Here is some information on Exercise Disorders From the website MEN GET EATING DISORDERS TOO:

Bigorexia

Basically, the reverse of anorexia. Instead of looking in a mirror and seeing themselves as fat, men see a puny shape – even if they appear well built to others. This distorted image means that they are obsessed with becoming muscular and are never happy, whatever size they achieve

Compulsive exercise

This is usually a problem encountered with people who have anorexia and bulimia. What makes exercise ‘compulsive’ is when someone will spend many hours a day exercising several days a week, if not every day. They cannot feel good about themselves and the day may be viewed as ruined if they do not reach their goal which increases as they become driven to achieve more each time.

 

P.s: when I am talking about women and males in this post I am not stereotyping and saying this is what ALL males/females think and feel, I am saying that it is some, and that both men and females can feel the stereotypes and labels.

=Labels affect both male and females

Lets end it

 

Talk Out- Why Be Ashamed ?

In some parts of the world Mental Health is a buried secret that is often unrepresented and misdiagnosed. This has be shown especially in religious communities, minority groups and has been seen in the West.

There can be an element of shame attached where mental illness can be ignored, due to a lack of education and the stigma attached making it harder for those to speak up and seek the adequate help needed.  Rather than admitting to the problem presented and viewing it as a psychological and physical illness-some mistakenly interpret it as supernatural forces such as devil possession, thought to be brought on by personal weakness and punishment for sinful behaviour.

Where in truth, this is NOT the case and is NOT a life style choice. The reasons people may suffer from a mental health illness can be due to a result of many factors such as biological, psychological, social/environmental, psycho-social stressors, and many more…

Mental Health is as equal and important as physical health-

This attitude still has a long way to go all over the world…

However, in the UK there are mental health organisations/charities MIND and Time To Talk  and many more who work towards ending discrimination towards mental health. Their hard work has raised awareness in an attempt to break barriers by openly talking. It is estimated that each year 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem.

The organisation are also holding a Time to Talk day on the 6th February 2014-with the target to spark one million conversations.

As a society we are more willing to visit the GP or get something looked at if it is a physical problem and get it treated. But when it comes to emotional and mental state we can sometimes sweep it under the rug to escape from the situation in hope it will go away by itself. This, can only make problems worse, lead to further denial by running away from yourself.

If you are worried, talk to a loved one a friend/family or visit your GP, visit trusted websites such as MIND and Time To Talk for more advice, help and support.

AND most importantly…Don’t feel embarrassed to help yourself. !! 🙂

Aside

Aitzaz Hasan…The Hero

Image

Too often we remember the names of the villains in the world from the choas they leave behind.

When we are forgetting about the individuals who have shown that one person can have a positive impact on those around..
They need to be praised and not forgotten for their courageous acts are not easily done

 
I am writing this blog to make sure he is remembered for the hero he is and the bravery he left behind…

Aitzaz Hasan was a 15 year old boy from the North-Western region of Pakistan, which has strong Taliban and al-Qaeda presence, where the area is known for sectarian violence against Shia Muslims.

On the 10th January, Aitzaz saw a suicide bomber approaching his school and made the decision of tackling him and intercepting his path.
His own life was caught in the cross fire for the heroic sacrifice he made- to protect his school and the 2000 people inside.

It is a shame to see his noble heart cost his life
But, he made a conscious decision to act-which only a few are brave enough to do, and faced evil in the flesh to put an end to lives being destroyed.

I truly respect this young courageous boy, who had strength and a big, open lion heart.
I wish his soul lives on in peace

As a HERO is never forgotten….<3
  

“Follow Your Rhythm”

Image

…Transform like a butterfly, find your wings

Philosophy, religion, history, arts, debates, ideas and so on, is interesting to me as it highlights the fact, that there are many ways of thinking and nothing is purely black and white. To me personally, I enjoy the idea of learning for my own pleasure, and not for the purpose of passing an exam for an outcome. Put bluntly, I think exams are memory tests, with the end result of a letter next to your name.

I remember sitting there on my exam thinking these thoughts over and over in my mind, the meaning of sitting this exam. I observed how others same age to me would frantically write down everything they were told to think as fast as they could, without a mind of their own.  Or ever question ‘why’, and not just the why to answer for uni or to get a good grade but the real ‘why’ am I doing this?

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the subject, I enjoyed it very much and to me the book meant a lot. I could articulate my deep thoughts when talking amongst my peers who would force me into revising because I resisted. It shocked them when I actually knew what they were talking about, as I felt passionate talking about it, allowing the expression and my personal interpretation of the book to ooze out.

Studying hard and getting an education to compete against others gives the impression that is where happiness is met. It’s presented as the right solution to everyone’s problems, from all backgrounds and differences, and is used to maintain order, a platform for social change and the means to provide fulfilment and satisfaction in a materialistic world. This ideal stops people thinking, and enters them in an endless race to prove their place. 

But what if you’re not in this race, and don’t want to compete with others? Does that mean then you are a failure, or that you are not intelligent or free thinking or inspirational?

To me, I think it’s far more important to educate yourself in many areas, to create a well-rounded human than to do it to seek rewards. It is about finding inner peace within yourself!

I made a point not to follow the system, as it did not agree with my personal thoughts and beliefs. This may limit my success in the future, but that again depends how you define success.  🙂

As people we are all learning and growing on our own journeys.  I realised that I was in a situation which was meaningless to me and didn’t make sense, where I was surrounded by programmed minds that obeyed because it was ‘told’ to them as the ‘ONLY right’ thing to do. This scared me and woke me up, as I was constantly looked down on by others with the same mind-set, and was told I would be labelled uneducated by the eyes of society. This suddenly made me realise, I would have to be something that I’m not in order to feel successful.

And why should I justify myself of who I am to fit a mould I’m accepted to, I felt as though my mind and free thoughts were being suffocated.  I was a triangle being forced to fit a square world-and I’m glad I don’t.

I am going at my own pace, finding my identity and voicing my individuality.

 Don’t put an age limit on what you want to achieve, and don’t be led astray of society’s thinking or give in to the expected thing to do.  Change comes from free thinking and doing what you believe in, not doing what you are told.

I took a step back; ignored others, listened to myself and realised I needed to “follow my own rhythm” 🙂

Wipe the Bloodshed

Our knowledge of countries is limited to what we are shown through the television and reported on the news,
which becomes how we associate and remember that part of the world.
For example, if I asked some people randomly what do they know about lets say Iraq/Afghanistan
I will probably be hit with phrases such as war, American troops, UK soldiers, weapons of mass destruction and so on…

When, we are forgetting that there is a lot more to these countries than the chaos, that are rich in culture, history and hold a diverse range of ethnic groups.
For instance, did you know that Iraq was home to the oldest civilisations in the world or that Afghanistan has more than 13 ethnic groups?

Discover for yourself what these countries are all about…
Research. Learn . Read

Lets not destroy the identity of millions

Don’t let the bloodshed wipe away the beauty

Children On the Frontline

When you are shown destruction in day to day life it throws you on a human level.

I recently watched the channel 4 documentary “Children on the Frontline” shown on Wednesday 22nd January, which certainly did its purpose of drawing you in,  putting the faces behind the headlines and waking you up.

A country brought to recent news for the on going conflict in the middle east which has lasted for 3 years, and over a million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.

What I personally took from watching the programme, and felt was that when you are living in another country that is war free and protected you become immune to the chaotic world. As a society we have become ‘normalised’ to hearing of wars, disasters and disruption that occurs around the world. It allows us to keep the threat at arms length because it is somewhere far away, it has no meaning so we can keep it there and detach ourselves from that because it is not our reality.

Let the borders dissolve and the differences disappear…

An active protestor Aboude aged 13 lingered in my mind until days after watching. He frightened me from the truth he spoke, as it struck a similar chord to the World War 2 Poem “First they came” by Martin Niemöller.

“If We Keep Silent Our Turn Will Come” Aboude-Children On the Frontline

“Then They Came For me-and there was no one left to speak out for me”- Pastor Niemoller (Victim of the Nazis)