Forget NUST, our Baloch brethren need our help

NUST was top trend on Twitter while over 300 died in Balochistan the same day. Did this bother you?

Butool Hisam September 26, 2013
NUST was the top trend on Twitter this week. 48 hours ago an earthquake of 7.7 magnitude struck Balochistan, the tremors of which were felt in Karachi and as far as Delhi. Tragically, over 300 people have died in Balochistan and according to The Express Tribune, 40,000 houses have been flattened.

All the while, Nust remained top trend on Twitter.



Photo: Reuters

Most people seem to have forgotten that a tragedy far bigger than Nust's dress code has struck Pakistan; either this or they don’t seem to care about the lives lost of their own countrymen. Instead of discussing relief measures over social media (which are very helpful in the aftermath of disasters), many are busy bickering over the Nust dress code saga. I understand that this is a source of frustration for most, but is it enough to divert their attention from the real tragedy that took place only yesterday?

https://twitter.com/MeeraGhani/status/382435505792483328





When disaster strikes, the first thing we look at is how we can send aid with whatever resources we have at hand. At times like this, social media is a huge resource if we really utilise it.

In 2011, in Japan when an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck, Twitter proved its worth in mitigating the disastrous effects. According to Tweet-o-meter, soon after the quake hit Japan, 1,200 tweets a minute were coming out of Tokyo. Twitter Japan also published helpful information both in Japanese and English including aftermath survival tips, evacuation information, and confirmation of safety of individuals etcetera.

Photo: AFP

Of course, Twitter is not the only platform one can use to help victims. We have many options available, but they can only be useful if we can take a good look at our priorities. Right now, venting our own frustrations seems to be on top of the priority list. This is a sad reflection of our own values (or a lack thereof). Nust may seem to be a more interesting topic, but does it call for our immediate attention as does the fact that our brothers and sisters in Balochistan are suffering by the minute?



So how can  social media to actually help in a situation like this?

For a start, you could find out what NGOs such as HMIBF (Haji Mohammad Iqbal Baloch Foundation) are up to. Their website has a message for those wanting to help earthquake victims; the least that can be done is to share this message so that those with means to help can get the message and act accordingly.

You can also look into the efforts of other NGOs involved in earthquake relief.



If as a student or professional, you are aware of public health measures, please share them. You can even look into how Twitter or Facebook can help establish actual lines of communication, if possible, to get information from the affected areas.

Photo: AFP



Ultimately, it all comes down to empathy and of putting other peoples' needs before your own; of responding urgently when help is needed.

Photo: AFP

Balochistan has always been to Pakistan the child of a lesser god. We need to show them that we care and that not only are they just Pakistani, they are our brothers and sisters too. If we truly mean it when we say, ‘We are Pakistani, we are one’, then let's act accordingly. Let us do whatever we can in our power to help those in need.
WRITTEN BY:
Butool Hisam A medical student aspiring to be a trauma surgeon. She blogs at: http://labyrinthine916.blogspot.com/ and tweets @ButoolHisam (https://twitter.com/ButoolHisam)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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COMMENTS (11)

Jamil | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend "Of course, Twitter is not the only platform one can use to help victims." Hmm.. don't know how to take this. So Twitter IS one of the platform for helping Baloshistan victims ? May I ask, HOW ? Perhaps follow the footstep of twitter Japan: "Twitter Japan also published helpful information both in Japanese and English including aftermath survival tips, evacuation information, and confirmation of safety of individuals etcetera." So If I would have published this type of information in a Tweet (240 characters) my fellow Pakistanis in Balochistan would have been able to read my tweets ? Where there are NO communcation lines, very few have smart phones/computers. Hmm I am unable to connect the dots. Okay, and how is this related to NUST issue ? Perhaps you need lessons in elmentary logic ? This article is wrong on so many levels wonder how did it get past editors desk.
khan | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend yes totally agree with author, privilege people in our country are more into trivialities than important issues. i request both the religious extremist and liberals fascist to not hijack the issues of normal Pakistani which are 98% and let us live our life the way we want
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