The Voices Heard Around the World
By Claire Evans
05/19/2022 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The voices of persecution victims are often defined by their suffering. We hear people’s stories at the absolute lowest point of their lives. Often, their crying words are the first and last we hear from them. But, their words live on.
Videos circled the internet which showed the destruction from the attack, and the grief of the survivors was displayed to the world. The worst moments of their lives were broadcast to everyone. What happens when the headlines move on and families are only left with the memories of what once was?
Looking back years later, many of those families that lived through the attack recall feeling as if their privacy was invaded. “In the beginning, it felt like we were exposed to the whole world… it didn’t feel good,” recalled one.
Another added, “When the All Saints blast took place, the massacre reached international boundaries too. We were asked to share our personal views about it. Something which we did not share even amongst our own family members was asked from us to be shared by the masses. A difficult thing in my view.”
Many of those impacted by the attack routinely expressed similar feelings. Some shared a feeling of being exploited, as strangers came to take pictures and ask questions at a time when they felt a need for privacy. Most of those strangers never offered help. But that didn’t mean help never came.
“It was a [devastating] situation for us; we were helpless,” shared one individual. “My sister was severely injured and her treatment wasn’t available in Pakistan. It is all due to technology that her picture went viral and she was offered treatment in Australia. If it had not been for technology or social media, we would have lost her. For me and my family, technology has saved our lives.”
Another added, “Later, we realized if all of those [non-governmental organizations] had not taken our photos, taken our views and comments, how would that outside world have known what we went through or what our needs were or how vulnerable we were after the attack?”
Such comments reflect the reality that awareness always comes before assistance can be organized and delivered. The invasive nature of the media can leave survivors feeling victimized all over again, making it important for ethical journalism to be paired with helping victims access resources which provide assistance. Particularly in cases where the incident has a life-long impact, it is important that the assistance matches the need.
ICC has been serving among the All Saints community since the 2013 attacks, a commitment particularly made on behalf of the widows and orphans. As one beneficiary explained, “ICC helped us in our most vulnerable time and has been consistent for the last nine years. I would say that because of technology, our story [has] reached around the globe. ICC took care of me and my family, financially and morally.”
“Me and my four siblings felt helpless when ICC approached us. I believe that it is due to the advancement of technology that our story reached people all over the world. All of my siblings are getting a good education which had only become possible because our voices were heard in places we couldn’t reach ourselves. I am grateful to technology for becoming the bridge between us and the outside world,” another added.
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