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Terror Attacks, Media Analysis, And Then We Pray: Why I’m Tired Of The Routine

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By Pillai Vishnu:

The latest in the long long list of terror attacks was Turkey, and while I write this I hear there is a gun battle taking place in Dhaka. The senseless killing, the lists of innocent people dead, media uproar, tears shed, and then the cycle continues. How long has this cycle been repeating itself? Haven’t you got tired?

Behind those figures of “20 dead” or “40 dead”, we seem to have forgotten to realise that those were actual lives behind those numbers. Actual lives like yours and mine, lives which affected many other lives emotionally and physically. They should never be just numbers because they were dreams, careers, hopes, and futures.

I write this because I am tired of the routine. It’s sad it has become so predictable. A terror attack, some crazy person kills innocents in the name of his/her god, the terrorist is killed, and the media analyse and give us all these figures, plain numbers! Some monuments are lit up in their memory with the flag of the attacked country, je suis this and je suis that, candle marches, and finally the compassionate on social media post “pray” for the country.

You might be thinking by now: what an inconsequential article? What point am I trying to make? What is my problem if some people post “pray” on their Facebook wall? What is there to lose?

I see and understand the compassion behind all those posts, the humanity behind them, and the pain felt (even if it is only momentary) at the loss of lives. But I say it just isn’t enough. That compassion has to be extended in duration and into more concrete action. Your job doesn’t end when you post “pray” or when you sympathise, that’s when it starts.

I see a cycle, and the cycle doesn’t seem to stop. The point I want to make is, we are getting used to this cycle. We are going with the flow, unaffected. The compassion we should show at an individual level, at a human level is being wasted by these posts. One posts one of these “prays” and believes that his or her job is done, the outrage is over, normalcy can resume. He or she has done their part. Then wait for the next attack to do the same.

We should not get used to these attacks, these are not normal. Like we get nauseated with disgust when we hear of the concentration camps of the Nazi era, or the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombing, even after all these years. Each of these attacks should make us cringe by their brutality but they do not appear to anymore. We as a society are getting used to it, like we got used to news of rape. There can be nothing more dangerous. If this happens, our fight against terror is half lost when we have just started it.

No leader or government or country alone can eliminate terror because these terrorists aren’t aliens. They are one of us. We create them, we nurture them, then we pay for it. Our inaction is what these weeds of our society thrive on. If we take action, we can control them from within. That is what we should be doing.

New age terrorism uses social media to its advantage. It’s our turn to use it against them. It’s your duty to identify and report posts that try to radicalise people. You have to spread the right values of humanity, so that it drowns out the radicalising content on the web. In short, we have to start taking terror out of social media. It’s time to leave god alone, and start getting our hands dirty.

It is important to report any information of radicalisation of any form to concerned authorities. It is important to give voice to the moderates. It’s because we ignored the voice of this silent majority that we heard the radicals scream, and now it seems these radicals scream for everyone. Silence the radicals once and for all. For that, we should start ignoring their rants. It is important to not let religion and god come in the way of politics. If any leaders resort to it, identify them and expose them.

To end terrorism, you and I have to join hands. The fight would be a long one, we have to stay together however much the radicals try to divide us. It will be a difficult fight. So, I just want to tell everyone that praying on your Facebook wall just wouldn’t be enough.

Featured image shared on Facebook.
Banner image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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