I awoke in the middle of the night; something called me to glance at my phone. There was a message - 'Iram M has been marked safe in the explosion in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park...' The what? It was 3.15am my time when I opened Facebook messenger and began messaging friends in Lahore, Pakistan.
This is when Facebook works at its best. I received immediate responses from some; others I am still waiting to hear about their safety. And whilst I can breath a sigh of relief for those I have heard from, I feel intensely for the people who have lost their lives or are lying wounded in hospital and for their distraught and grieving families.
I wish to comment on two things:
On my recent visit to Pakistan, everywhere I went I met kind, open-hearted, generous people. People who spoke openly about the effects of fear on their children; people who want to be proud of their country, yet struggle with the knowledge that a few are destroying the image of a decent Pakistan; people who want exactly the same things as parents all over the world for their children - peace, love and security. I met happy, vibrant children and teenagers, fully engaged in their learning; wanting to know and understand global issues; wanting to be part of the solution. My heart goes out to you all on this day.
The second comment I wish to make is this.
To the people who perpetrate these acts, if you want your cause to be heard, to be known, then speak, because your violence deafens us. We invite you to the table to talk; we wish to work with you in peace; we invite you to welcome peace education into the schools of your children and to make non-violence a choice over violence. This choice will create a better future for you and your children. My heart goes out in this appeal to you today.
Margaret Hepworth is the Founder of The Gandhi Experiment: World peace through education. If you would like to sponsor a student conference that actively teaches non-violence as a choice, then please contact us on email@example.com
Peace education is the way forward to unravel the root cause of social conflict.
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