The heart goes out while watching the kids answering some absurd (I toned the word down otherwise it would never have been printed) questions on news channels by our respectful reporters and anchors. The incident itself undoubtedly moved us as a nation, however what has disturbed us more was the way the kids involved in the incident were mishandled by ‘all of us’.

The purpose is not to get into an institutional debate of whose fault it is, or what went wrong. The most surprising fact that stuck in my mind was the innocent eyes of the two daughters; the questioning face of that son; images of the little girl carrying a feeder in her hand all dressed up for the wedding and in the end the same poor angels being interrogated in the most bizarre manner on media and made as an object of sensational media. I am forced to doubt if anyone would have thought of keeping the kids away from whole situation to avoid PTSD. Those eyes had been haunting me since the incident took place. I was ashamed to tell my kids a made-up cover story so that they are not psychologically disturbed and that feeling revealed a hypocrite mother in me. For a moment the thought of those three kids’ psychological state comes to my mind and horrified to hair stand on ends.

The children may be requiring psychological assistance, help and counselling. Instead of flashing the incident in front of them every day, they need to forget those ill-fated glimpses. Instead of making appearances only for the sake of ticking the boxes, a substantial plan for the future grooming and upbringing of those kids would heal their bleeding wounds in a much more effectual way. Scapegoats and blame games are above the comprehension of those little minds to understand at the moment.

Have we as a nation gone insensitive? Dead? Numb? Every day, without even feeling guilty, we pass by the poor and needy around us on roads seeking help. Then how can one ask the government or other state institutions to stand for us and to carry out reforms overnight and revolutionise the country where every individual living here is responsible for the state of affairs we are going through today? Am I fulfilling all my duties at the individual level as a responsible citizen? This is the question every Pakistani needs to ask one’s self.

The anger behind, as a mother may have taken over the words and very rightly though. The passion and sentiments must be funnelled and worn to highlight the true and futuristic perspective. I think what we can do on the individual level to comprehend our leadership sitting at responsible position is trust. Faith in our state institutions, trust in our government and belief in our law enforcement agencies, though keeping the healthy criticism to crop side by side, would take us as a nation another mile ahead. Although the time may not seem appropriate keeping in view the chaos created around, however testing time demands at least a mature and appropriate behaviour from “all of us”.

Sentiments, feelings and emotions aroused by the unfortunate incident need be driven in the right direction. Taking it as a wakeup call and moving ahead, yet not closing eyes to harsh realities seems like the need of hour. A state is more than a government; that is clear so far. Thereby the components and units at individual and national level stick together, headed straight ahead, and could take the ship out of whirlwind. If we as nation keep on acting like Lippmann rightly defined as a “bewildered herd”, the emergence on shore after current deep dive would become complicated. The ‘change’ nation is seeking for and looking up to, would not come by using the unfortunate children to objectify the situation.

 

(The writer is PhD Scholar at NDU,

Islamabad)