As I write this, it is being reported that nine Pakistanis were among those killed in the Christchurch mosque shootings. But even without that direct link, I think we can agree that Pakistanis can empathise with victims of terrorism. And, I think that many of us maybe looking for ways to do whatever little we can to help.
Some of you may know that I write for the Sindhi magazine, Kawish Duniya. For this Sunday’s issue, I compiled a list of resources that could help. Both the families of the victims, and those of us who are trying to understand what happened. I thought that it would be helpful to have a similar list for our readers at The Kollective as well. This includes charities you could donate to, helplines if you have family in New Zealand, and a truly heartfelt remembrance.
1. For Immediate and Long-term Relief: New Zealand Islamic Information Centre
In the aftermath of the attack, many organisations in New Zealand have set up crowd-funding pages to help the families of the victims. Even as the dust settles, I think we have to remember that those who lost their lives left families behind. In some cases, households may have lost their main breadwinners. So, if you can, please give something towards helping them.
The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre has started a crowdfunding campaign which you can donate to here. You can also visit their website for more information about community efforts that are underway.
2. Profit Margins and Responsibility: Netsafe
Reports about a livestream video of the attacks have been circulating for a long time. There have also been concerns raised about social media platforms not clamping down hard enough.
In her widely lauded speech, the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Arden made some really poignant statements. One of them was directed towards social media platforms, that host such content and often fail to flag it or take it down. Her exact words were, “they are the publisher. Not just the postman. There cannot be a case of all profit no responsibility.”
Far too often, genuine hate-speech espoused on social media platform is accepted as just something that happens. But when rhetoric inspires this kind of violence, shouldn’t we be concerned? And, shouldn’t the platforms themselves do better?
One organization that has stepped up is Netsafe, a non-profit organization that deals with internet safety in New Zealand. In the wake of the attack, they have reported a spike in complaints. With people not just bringing the video of the attack to their notice, but also any kind of hate-speech they encounter. Netsafe is also assisting people who have lodged complaints with platforms like Facebook, and are unhappy with the response timing.
If you want to report something, or for more information, visit their website.
3. Always Remember: Know Their Name
Far too many times, we relegate those impacted by terrorist attacks to statistics. I suppose in a way, it is easier to deal with grief when you don’t give it a human face. But, every life lost matters. And, we should know who they were, to understand the gravity of their loss.
In Pakistan, reports of the incredibly brave Naeem Rashid who literally risked his life to save others, broke our hearts. As more information emerged, it was revealed that is son Talha, was also killed. And that he too, tried to help others before himself.
Following this, Naeem Rashid’s widow Ambreen Naeem spoke with a compassion that most of us couldn’t even feign.
There are also other stories. Many others.
A project called ‘Know Their Name’ has been started to recount all of them. Visit the site to read all the profiles.
4. A Time for Healing: Aotearoa Resettled Community Coalition
The mental trauma for anyone who was present in those mosques is unimaginable. And counselling is as imperative as monetary help. Organizations and volunteers on the ground have set up helplines for anyone who needs assistance. If you have family in New Zealand, these services could help counsel them in this difficult time.
In particular, Aotearoa Resettled Community Coalition (ARCC), an organization representing refugee communities, has set up multilingual helplines.
Here is the post with the numbers.
And for more information about the ARCC visit their website as well.
5. Educate Yourself
In the aftermath of violence, the truth becomes relative. How the media reports something, what is in fact reported, everything takes on a political tinge. And because nothing I write can ever do it the kind of justice that this video does, just watch.
(This is my introduction to this lady, and I think I like her.)
But here’s the thing. There are also people on the ground trying to sort through an incredibly confusing situation. So for anyone who wants more information, I’ll link some great resources.
First, The Spinoff has been publishing a lot of content about the attacks, and the political climate surrounding it. In fact, I found a number of the resources mentioned above on their site.
Secondly, a Facebook group tackling racism in particular was set up following the attacks. They are sharing some really relevant content.
Finally, there has been many shows of solidarity, even in this difficult time. And the New Zealand Islamic Information Centre is actually making a list of events taking place the world over.
This was an act of terror. And the devastation it left in its wake will never fully heal. But, some important conversations have also been initiated in its wake. And, I am hoping that we are all able to benefit from them and progress from this.