Amidst war-mongering messages and revenge slogans trending online after the Pulwama attack, Pakistani journalist Sehyr Mirza has made a small effort to dampen this collective internet aggression.
On Tuesday evening, she posted a picture of herself on Facebook holding a placard which read: “I am a Pakistani and I condemn Pulwama Terrorist Attack”. Using the hashtags ‘Anti Hate Challenge’ and ‘No to War’, the journalist appealed to her fellow citizens to join her in condemning the Pulwama attack, which claimed the lives of more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force soldiers.
In a long Facebook post, she wrote, “We’re deeply disturbed over the tragic terror attack that claimed innocent lives in Kashmir. In such testing times, we need more sane voices to speak out against war and terrorism.”
She spoke out against war and bloodshed, quoting popular lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi’s poem Whether blood is ours of theirs, its the blood of humankind. The poem, similar to Mirza’s peace appeal, talks about the tragic consequences of war and ends with: “War is a problem itself. How will war resolve problems?”
Soon after, many people from both India and Pakistan came on board and hashtags #Antihatechallenge and #Notowar started trending alongside #Pulwamarevenge and other violence-seeking hashtags. Unlike hate-filled Twitter threads against Kashmiris and Pakistanis, the comment section on her Facebook post only had messages promoting love, peace and humanity.
Many people from Pakistan posted pictures with the same message on Twitter
I Stand with humanity!#AntiHateChallenge #NoToWar #YesToPeace
@BBhuttoZardari @BakhtawarBZ @AseefaBZ @sherryrehman @SenRehmanMalik @SeharKamran @omar_quraishi @nafi @ShahinaSaeeda @JavedNLaghari @Majid_Agha pic.twitter.com/3vGe6b7Su9
— Khalik kohistani (@KhalikKohistani) February 20, 2019
‘Whether blood be ours or theirs, Its the blood of humankind. Whether wars be waged in the east or west, It is the murder of world-peace. War is a problem itself. How will war resolve problems?’ – Sahir Ludhianvi #AntiHateChallenge #NoToWar #CondemnPulwamaAttack pic.twitter.com/dmK2oZWjvZ
— Maryam (@maryem_mirza) February 19, 2019
Whether blood is ours or theirs, Its the blood of humankind.
War is a problem itself. Today it will rain fire and blood, Tomorrow, hunger and scarcity. I am #Pakistani and Im against #terrorattacks anywhere in the world. #AntiHateChallenge #NoToWar #NoWeaponsButLove #JustPeace pic.twitter.com/4avvuvrGmQ
— Khalid (@Khalidgraphy) February 19, 2019
Indian actress Swara Bhaskar also took to Twitter to laud this initiative:
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) February 19, 2019
Mirza is not the only Pakistani who has used the online platform to counter narratives of hate. Last week, Pakistani comedian Junaid Akram posted a video on his YouTube channel Khalli Karao asking Indians why they were threatening Pakistan so much on social media.
He said that the only people who were profiting from this war-mongering were arms dealers and certain sections of the government.
Featured image credit: Twitter