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29. March 2016

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Women and children, the human shields against terrorism

After wiping out entire Christian and Muslim families, who had been enjoying a peaceful Sunday afternoon in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal-Park in Lahore, the masterminds behind the attacks sought to capitalize on their cowardly act by trying to divide the community. Beyond taking lives, they hoped to foster the doubt that Muslims and Christians can co-exist in peace and harmony.

Mothers were watching their children on the playground, families were enjoying the picnics, and the park was filled with laughter and excitement when the devastating attack took place. Within hours, the voices of steadfast citizens flooded the social media landscape. One particular line caught my attention: “You can kill Lahoris, but you can never defeat them. People donating blood.”

Under #LahoreStrong, reports emerged that thousands of Lahori men and women went to hospitals and queued patiently for hours to donate blood. Another quote also quickly caught on: “Muslim blood will flow through Christian bodies. And vice versa. You see, in hurting us, you united us. Thank you.” Such statements are a strong reminder of what binds us together as humans. This is resilience. People are moving from victimhood to agency, beyond fear and prejudice. Minorities embraced the mainstream society, as Muslims and Christians, as women and men. And not as enemies and adversaries.

The extremists will not win. Because people are standing up and demanding dignity and respect for the other.

Mothers and their children must come to the fore. They are at the frontlines and have the capacity to save their families from descending into extremism and violence.

In solidarity with the brave civil society around the globe,

Edit Schlaffer and the Women without Borders team


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