The blast in Lahore, yesterday, is yet another one in a series of terror attacks that have plagued the country over the last few weeks. While, officially, there are still doubts over whether the blast was a terrorist activity or an accident, one thing’s for sure. It was an extremely tragic incident and one that has left many, traumatized.
However, during the coverage of that particular blast there was news of another blast in Lahore, in the Gulberg neighborhood. It soon turned out that it was just a rumor but many, many had been unnecessarily panicked.
We don’t really realize how things unfold once there is “news” of a tragic incident, unless we’re in one so here’s an account of how young school kids, their parents, teachers and people in the Gulberg area were traumatized because of a rumor.
Maira Omair Rana is a teacher, and a parent herself with kids in schools in the Gulberg area. She posted a status yesterday, that has since received thousands of responses
“We, who were at work, responsible for the lives, safety and security of hundreds of children were in a fix! We had no way of verifying the news, because every channel was playing the same rumors.
Schools nearby the Gulberg locations kept saying they haven’t heard anything to prove a blast, but they still had a potential lock down, because of the fear created. Terrified Children were picked up early by harassed parents, classes were disrupted, traffic was out of control. My terrorized parents kept calling me frantically to get home, and I told them I can’t. I am on duty.
Please. Please. Please STOP spreading unnecessary fear and believing panic stricken news. We are already knee deep in fear every single day. We don’t need more of this.
Let’s face it, we are living through the toughest of times. When it’s not war, yet it is. When life is not normal, yet it is. We are under threat ALL the time. We need to be brave, not stupid. We need to hold each other’s hand, not grab it and run in whatever direction everyone else is running in. We need to teach our children to stay calm, to think, to follow instructions, to take care of themselves and their fellows, not run for cover at the first sign of distress leaving everything and everyone behind.
The loss of lives today is immense and for many irreplaceable.
What happens as a result of verified incidences is understandable. Being vigilant and cautious is the need of the hour but the chaos because of misinformation is nothing less than cruel. I feel these media houses, who create hue and cry if their rights are violated need to be questioned very seriously at the display of sheer irresponsibility today. They should be held accountable too. Just to win the bloody race of who-displayed-which-news-first, they have no ethical boundaries.
Please pause, think and verify and share such news responsibly. It takes a click to share it but it causes mind numbing stress for so many.”
We are all responsible. We all make mistakes. Let’s not be quick to throw stones at others, let’s try and be responsible together. We’re glad Maira, her students, and many other young children were safe. However, thousands of lives that Pakistan has lost in this unnerving war against terrorism must never be forgotten.
Update: This piece has updated to attribute the status to the correct person. It was attributed, earlier, to someone who had plagiarized Maira’s status. To the person who did that: Shame on you!
Cover image via: geo.tv