"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.