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"Physical wounds= Treated" "Emotional wounds= Not even recognised"

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

While the memories of the APS attack of 2014 in Peshawar bring the loss of lives and material at the forefront, and how it was a crime against humanity (which it clearly was and is), I feel the loss of those who survived the attack was never well considered or documented as a study area to understand conflict and post conflict dynamics. The most saddening part is how children were made to forget their personal-micro level struggles with coping up from the traumatic experience. We mourned for the dead but we didn't mourn for those who were dead inside-those who saw their friends and teachers stained in blood with bullets all inside and across their bodies, dead bodies being burnt to ashes in front of them and most importantly, how the whole perception of school and education changed for the survivors. There was no trauma coping and handling mechanism designed for them such as government offering therapists or psychiatrists but rather, they were left to "the magic of time" treatment and how time would heal all wounds. What the media and the government didnt realise was that if you let a wound sit for an indefinite period of time and do not give it proper treatment, it never heals and in fact, it gets worse. Some of the survivors who had the means were taken to places away from Peshawar like in UK and USA so that they could forget the trauma but that was just like brushing everything under the mat. Media channels and newspapers gave them some importance in terms of interviewing them but that had another problem attached with it-the absence sensitivity in media ethics. A lack of empathy was seen in such interviews where even if the children started crying when remembering the incident, even their tears were captured on camera and that too by zooming them in! Just for the sake of ratings, media people ignored the fact that they were interviewing children and not adults and that these children had been a witness to the worst "slaughter and killing" of human life. A change of individual psych has been quite a distressing outcome of the APS attack but unfortunately, we live in a society where the slightest of a physical wound is treated immediately but deep emotional wounds carried over generations are never treated and left to decay.

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Thank you for posting this, Laiba! Reading this, I immediately made an analogy to war in my mind. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the biggest mental health challenges that armies across the globe make. The US army, for example, spends millions of dollars every year in providing war veterans with the professional help required to tackle PTSD. Pakistani government and civil society actors should have done the same for APS survivors as the trauma they faced is no less than what soldiers; it is deeply unfortunate that this was not the case.

Polub

22110330
22110330
08 maj 2021

It wasn't until I took this course that I realized the importance of therapy to cope with trauma, post conflict. We have gone through years of violence, and yet most of us are completely unaware of this aspect. I guess with the exposure to constant terrorists attacks, we have lost our sensitivity towards these matters.

You have already highlighted the need for empathizing and providing the necessary support to the victims and their families. However, I think a tragedy of such a large scale required the schools and governments to understand the fears and needs of students and children from other parts of the country as well. I remember the first day that I went back to school after the…


Polub

This blogpost hits home. I find myself the most affected by the APS attack, and your focus on the lack of media sensitivity and the psychological impact on the students was heart rending. Thank you for writing this. And I completely agree, people kept calling those who were *murdered* "heroes" and said they "made a sacrifice" but what about the sacrifice that the people who survived made? What of them who lost their friends, mentors, and any form of mental peace for the rest of their lives? I am so afraid about the possibility that any of the younger kids feel less because they want to be a hero too. I am so afraid of the possibility that they may…

Polub

I remember coming home from school early and finding out about the APS attack of 2016 on the news. It hit me really hard since I had spend some years of my life in Peshawar and used to pass this school on daily basis while having many friends studying there. I agree with how the media exploits such victims just for the sake of getting more attention on tv channels as well as social media. One such example of this was the release of the a popular sentimental song after the incident and how it would be playing on every news channel without the realisation how this could trigger the victims of the attack. I believe humanity still has a…

Polub
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