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Shallow Heroism


By Awaam

Whenever some big event or some tragedy happens it exposes the national character of a nation. So has the Wednesday tragic plane crash has done.

While the common people present around the crash site and the relatives of the victims reached there with an intention to help. The Pakistani government exhibited its usual uncoordinated and haphazard response to the calamity.  The passion of help and sympathy of the ordinary people show their characteristic of volunteerism. But the ill informed and misleading statements by the so called responsible officials on camera also show their shallow heroism.

The wrong information about the situation of the crash victims, by the government officials and the interior and information ministers, did nothing but to add on the sufferings of the aggrieved relatives of the victims. The statement by DIG Islamabad on media that the tragedy has happened and it caused great loss of lives, was unnecessary, as it had no news in it for the grieving relatives of the victims. Rehman Malik’s statement about the survivors of the tragedy also made the families of the victims linger between hope and despair. This created more chaos and pain among the families instead of lessening their suffering.

At national level, the recue agency, security and paramilitary forces had to face the same hurdles which hamper the rescue work whenever some unfortunate event happens; even though no attempts to alleviate those problems are ever made. The crisis management cell established for the special purpose to develop the disaster management policies and procedures and coordination between the relevant recue bodies, showed no improvement in the state of affairs in dealing with this disaster.

The photos and scenes of the site on media, show how ill prepared and ill equipped rescuers themselves were and what huge risks they were taking without appropriate clothing, gear, gloves, masks etc.

Among the other problems perhaps the worst was the media’s traumatizing style of reporting the tragedy. A lot of misinformation was spread due to the race of breaking the news first, regardless of the responsibility to check the validity of the news. The mainstream channels seemed excited as usual on getting the news for running their live transmissions and talk shows for next many days. Most unfortunately, this is still happening. They are finding the most unfortunate cases and sensitizing them to the most.

The media and government both need to realize the fact that the what we need in real is not the shallow heroism but the practical action and the nerve to work in silence to deal with the tragedies and overall crises that we face. The action should speak rather than those who sit in front of cameras to create false hopes.

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