Never Forget Pakistan is an organisation that has launched a “What If You Knew The Victim” initiative. At some point, Pakistanis need to do more than just relish in the public holiday they get for celebrating Kashmir Day on the 5th of February. This initiative caught our eye because of its intent and creativity. They’ve swapped the faces of victims with that of popular celebrities while keeping the stories of the victims unchanged. The question remains “Does that make the tragedy more important?”. No! Because All Lives Matter
“You know these faces. Does that make the tragedies more important? The stories in the letters are real. The names signed under the letter are real. Just the victim you see in the picture is not real. But do you care what is the profile of the victim for you to sympathise and empathise with them? For you to speak for them? Why do we need to glamourize a tragedy in order for people to pay attention. Have we all become that numb.
This campaign is designed to highlight the atrocities and abuses carried out by the Indian Armed forces and Police who enjoy complete immunity under the Armed Forced Special Powers Act which has made a mockery of India’s claim to be a secular democracy. Scores have been blinded, several killed and hundreds injured by what India describes as a “non-lethal” weapon i.e. the pellet gun. We condemn and lament the criminal silence and inaction of the Indian Government and Cultural icons of India. Furthermore we strongly condemn the pick and choose policy of Facebook which convenient censors posts highlighting the plight of the Kashmiris and later excuses itself by calling the censorship a “mistake”.
This campaign is not about jingoism. It is about trying to create empathy. We live in a sad world where we have to present genuine tragedies in a creative way just to make people pause and think for a moment.
As advocates for human rights we believe that Kashmir, independent of any force and influence from India and Pakistan should have the right to determine its own identity and future.