Pak school attack: Border blurs as people come together in grief

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 19 Desember 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The shock and horror that Syed Mohammad Qasim felt over the Peshawar terror attack found expression in the face of a little boy painted across a building in Bandra, his arms wrapped across a multi-coloured carpet.

Qasim, a photographer from Delhi on a trip to Mumbai, clicked a photo of the painting on the yellowing wall, complete with a black fence and creepers growing on the wall. "In my photo, there's something menacing in the manner in which the thorny creepers snake around the child's feet. It's as if the child is saying, 'I don't like you. I'm leaving behind a thorny place for a place filled with colour'," says Qasim.

While the painting is by an international artist, Qasim's picture reflects the agony he feels about the attack. The picture, posted on Twitter, is one of the many expressions of grief and sympathy that Indians have posted on social media following the massacre of kids in Peshawar. Borders between two-otherwise hostile countries were rendered irrelevant as Indians extended their support to the families devastated by the killings.

Chintan Girish Modi, founder of Friendships Across Borders: Aao Dosti Karein, an initiative between India and Pakistan, has called on Indians to express their feelings on the community Facebook page. One of the posts is by Mumbai schoolgirl Zebaish Shaikh who shows her peering into a notebook, with a page filled with the word "peace" written in it. "I couldn't sleep. I wrote 'peace' as many times as I could, just to raise a question to myself and to everyone who's reading this: I ask for peace. Is this too much to ask for?" says her social media post. The other posts include poems from teachers, messages, paintings, sketches by children and photographs.

"Many Indians did not know if words alone would make any difference to those grieving in Pakistan. But we felt expressing solidarity with the victims would help them... We asked people to post their feelings on our Facebook page as we did not think that the bereaved families would be in a position to accept postcards or letters," says Modi.

While social media is often a sharply divisive medium, #IndiawithPakistan trended on Twitter. Besides a blood-donation drive at the national headquarters of the Indian Red Cross in Delhi, candle-light vigils are also being held across the country. "The killing of kids has brought liberals and democrats together across the border and amplified a message for peace," says Jatin Desai, general secretary of the India chapter of Pakistan-India People's Forum for Peace and Democracy. terror attack,Pak terror attack,Pak school attack

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