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Friday, November 8, 2013

Islamabad innit!!!!!

Islamabad more popularly known by the locals as Isloo, is the national capital of Pakistan. Located about a four drive north of Lahore, Islamabad along with its neighboring twin city of Rawalpindi form Pakistan's fourth largest city. The twin cities as the locals like to call it, for a new visitor if it were not for the sign boards it would be very hard to tell when one Islamabad ends and when Rawalpindi begins. Both cities are quite different from one another one, Rawalpindi is an old pre-partition era urban center, which since partition has been home to the Pakistan armed forces and before partition it served a HQ for the British Indian army, the locals are proud to hail from Pindi, while people from Islamabad are even prouder of their city. Islamabad is a purpose built well planned city commissioned by the then president of Pakistan Ayub Khan to serve as the future capital of the nation. At the time the nation's largest city Karachi had served as the capital of the newly formed nation since its inception in 1947.

My recent trip to Islamabad carried with it a lot of excitement, as though I was not a first timer to Islamabad I had never gotten the opportunity to actually explore the city and its laid back vibe. My previous trip in 2010 to the twin cities featured a wedding in Rawalpindi which did not leave time for exploring Isloo, and the trips before that were either express visa trips into the diplomatic enclave or transit stops for journey onto hill stations like Muree, Bhurban or Nathiagali.  I can not even describe how excited I was to explore our nation's capital and the best part about it was going to be that for the duration of my stay, I would not have to worry about the state of safety and security which is a natural cause of concern for all those who hail from the city by the sea Karachi, which has a ridiculously high crime rate.

I am usually not the one to believe in the envious eye but my trip to Islamabad did not exactly kick off to such a great start. To get to Islamabad I hopped on the afternoon Daewoo Bus Service from Lahore to Rawalpindi (which is where the Daewoo stop is)  and half way through shortly after the mid point rest stop, the engine fan caught fire and our bus had to make an emergency stop around Kalar Kahar near the Salt Ranges of the Punjab province. We got on a replacement bus an hour or so later and made our way to the twin cities. I arrived in the twin cities a few hours but just in time for dinner. We had dinner reservations at this lovely outdoor-ish Italian restaurant by the name of Tuscany Courtyard, which as the name suggests had a nice spacious courtyard. The food was absolutely brilliant and worth every penny, considering we had a 4 course meal for 2K pp, so all in all good value for money. It wasn't long before we spotted our first parliamentarian. As we stepped out, speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq walked in with his family and surprisingly no security escorts, maybe its just a surprising thing for us Karachi City folks to see politicians with security left right and center.

Then began the touristy trail the following morning, I had already made a list of To Do Things and Must visit Places in Islamabad for my short trip. Due to the constraint length of the whole trip, I did not get the opportunity to visit Saidpur Village or the new Centauras shopping mall. We started Saturday with a visit to Lake View park located alongside  Rawal lake. The picturesque lake side park is not only a vast spread of green but also features a bird park for bird brains and bird lovers, paddle boating, hiking trails as well as a Go Karting for the the adrenaline junkies. All that fresh air was intoxicating.

Followed by Lake View park, we made our way to Shakarpariyan and the Pakistan monument, the latter being a monument made during the era of president Parvez Musharaf. The stunning monument in its impressive pillars carry equally impressive carving which are a reflection and testimony to national symbols and national pride. The impressive compound of the monument also offers spectacular views of the city, by far this has been my favorite stop in Islamabad. A quick lunch later, we proceeded to visit Serena hotel, which is by far the most luxurious and priciest of fancy hotels in Pakistan and a popular choice for foreigners as well as they can commonly be spotted around the hotel premises, in any case all over Islamabad foreigners can be easily spotted, be it convenient stores or luxury hotels. Something we Karachi folk don't get to see much off.

After a short rest, we proceeded towards the magnificent Shah Faisal Mosque which is not only a symbol of Islamabad but also one of the architectural symbols of modern Pakistan. With its enormous courtyard and massive worship capacity, it is easily among the largest mosques in the world this combined with its stunning and mesmerising modern architecture. As dusk kicked in, we proceeded to a popular Islamabad hang out among the youths of the city 'Chaye Khana'. Initially I was curious what the big hype was, why was it Islamabad's popular to go place, once there, felt like home, felt like I was in just the right kind of cafe. Definitely worth a visit on a trip to Islamabad, and they do pretty decent Peshwari Kahva and Doodh Pati. For dinner time in Islamabad, Monal located on top of the hills is a Must Visit for not only spectacular scenic views of Islamabad but also for its incredible Pakistani food. Unfortunately time constraints I could not get the opportunity to visit this restaurant during day hours and had to settle for illuminated night light night time views, which though not as breath taking as they would be during the day are still fairly impressive. Good food, good company and a good view, best of all peace of mind and safety.

As my trip came to its conclusion I wondered when I would be back in our beautiful and stunning national capital. I am not certain whether it will happen any time soon, but I do hope to return, finish my tourist trail and spoil myself with all that fresh air, for the time being I am going to see where my travels take me next.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Weird Kind of Rude

The awkward kind of rude, the weird kind of rude or the very totally majorly kind of rude. Some people are rude in just the weirdest way possible. Sometimes the weirdness gets borderline dumb, makes you want to go facepalm right there and then. Well this world will always be full of really rude people, dumb people and weird people, so why not have the really dumb and weird type of rude people? Very recently I had dinned out on a weeknight evening with a friend of mine at one of my favorite restaurants in the city by the sea and I had encountered a slightly bitter experience, not with respect to the restaurant itself but as a result of some other patrons confidentially not just present at the same time but occupying a neighboring table. It is one of the higher end establishments in this city, and by design it is a beautiful restaurant with a brilliant outdoor court yard for those wishing to enjoy the gentle sea breeze of the city by the sea. The staff at the establishment are brilliant full kudos to them for taking excellent care of their customers. For foreigners reading this blog, my nick names for home town 'Karachi' are City by the Sea or Shehr e Quaid, the latter if I am feeling very Urdu-ish. Just so you know, Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and is one of the official languages of India.

This particular experience with respect to other people was not happening as an occurrence in my life for the first time, it has happened fairly frequent. One thing is very common to the people that display such gestures of awkward rudeness. Their casual acquaintances in most circumstances, having met me just once or twice or max a handful of times in life. They do not know me on a personal or social capacity, which is what is the optimal required level of interaction required in order to form an objective opinion about another person. The behavior in Question I am about to describe is something not just myself, millions of us growing up have experienced it as some stage in life or the other. Very high likelihood of it happening while we were in high school of in the early years of our adulthood at University. This is when you as an individual walk into a place, you spot some one whose presence makes you uncomfortable, even though you mind your own business and go about your way, those very people can not keep a lid or check on their emotions and engage in rude, childish, immature and anti social behavior of certain sorts. For example if they are accompanied by other people who are strangers to you, they would start whispering about you using negative references to their peers and friends.

Now generally I am not some one who is bothered by what the individual ONE person thinks about me, it is a reality of life I can not be liked by everyone, though I try my best to like people, I can not like everyone either. My cause of concern arises when those that dislike me can not shut the fuck up with respect to how they feel about me or how they see me, they just feel too compelled to spread their opinions with respect to myself onto complete strangers who until that moment had no idea who I was, I was a complete stranger to them. Unnecessarily attention has been brought into my direction, people who are complete strangers to me now have some attention focused in my direction and not in the best of ways. Them being complete strangers having never met them I am unlikely to pay attention to their faces, let alone remember them, but since wrong attention has been brought to them about me, if I am ever in life to meet such people (strangers) in the near future, very high probability of them having already biased opinions and might act socially inappropriate towards me. At the time they might indirectly influence others accompany or those present at the venue or whatever in those circumstances with respect to who I am as an individual.

Such experience is not unique to me, what I am writing every single one of you reading this has probably experienced this at some point or the other in their lives. Let me share an interesting example of how people exchanging dislike for a person can translate into cyberspace and take the form of cyber bullying even. Last year when I was a graduate student in the United Kingdom, this Pakistani chap, I am guessing from his Facebook profile he was 20 at the time, he went by the name of Khizer which is a common Pakistani first name and was an undergraduate student at one of the universities in London. That fellow picked fights me on chat groups, Facebook fan pages, groups and even started to message me direct to my inbox of threatening to cause me physical harm also. His only argument for such behavior was that so and so person and so and so person 2 have said such and such about me, why would they lie, you must be this kind of person. My immediate reaction was ''how much free time does this weirdo have?'' and ''haven't his parents taught him that you respect elders? But then again kids these days, those born 89 and beyond, their a whole different generation from those born 83 to 85, hard to predict their behavior. One thing is certain though my generation at least respected their seniors and elders regardless of how much we hated them. I say this behavior constitutes as a kind of social bullying without a doubt. What makes this one interesting is that the person who was referenced as making a strong claim about me had only met me once or twice before. Back in 2008, i had experienced a huge difference of opinion with a friend in similar circumstances, in that case individuals referenced i had never heard off. It is also a very small world, so that does not help.

I would like to conclude by encouraging socially responsible behavior and etiquette but I suppose that is pointless in a world, where people are too judgmental and are continuously looking for reasons to hate one another . So I guess it is like talking to a thick brick wall, even after reading this blog, unlikely that people will change their behavior, change their mood, change their attitude and become more open minded. Some people will always be narrow minded and will always want to demolish people in their minds for a personal ego boost. For the time being I can choose to keep ignoring such people and hope bad word of mouth doesn't cost me or any of us when it really matters. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Of Shadi's and Segregation

As the holy month of Ramzan comes to an end we are greeted by the festivities of Eid, and immediately without wasting any further time as soon as Eid ends, it is the start of a very busy shadi season. It is almost an annual ritual off sorts, Eid ul Fitr goes, a busy hectic tightly packed shadi season begins. For me the tradition of having a schedule fully loaded with Shadi's continued post Eid in 2013 as well. By the time I am writing this, I have attended over 10 events following Eid, and I am still due to attend 2 more before I can say Shadi season is over, well atleast to the best of my knowledge I have just 2 more to attend. Another card pops or a Facebook invite, might happen, it seems everyone I know is in the rush to tie the knot get married. Weddings are and can be fun, depends on the setting of the wedding, the venue, the food, the entertainment planned out, the people in attendance makes Shadi's a great evening out also. And if it is a close friend getting married, there is no excusing missing Shadi's for every day outings or pure laziness.

The season started with one of my closest friends wedding. That was indeed a memorable wedding affair. It had the usual 3 function set up, the mehndi, the baraat and the valima. For foreigners who are not familiar with our marriage event set up ordeal, here is a quick summary. The Mehndi is a Semi formal event which can be a large gathering or a small one with close friends and family depending on the would be married couple. It usually comprises of application of Henna on the hands of the girl's usually cousins and close friends of the bride, followed by a dance-a-thon of sorts. The latter assuming the family is not conservative about guys and girls dancing off in a competitive style like it's dancing with the Star's in front of wedding guests. The Baraat/Shadi function is where the Groom's family arrives at a Shadi Venue usually at a Shadi Hall or in a Hotel with his entire army of close friends and family and the function ends with the Groom taking the bride home. This function is usually hosted by the bride's family with the nikkah ceremony taking place also if not already taken place at the mosque. The Valima on the other end is a religious tradition sort of event which is hosted by the groom's family for the bride's family, as well as their own close family friends. For many traditionalist families, this is the only event on the cards. If the wedding is in a Punjabi family in particular, expect it to be loud and colorful with very extrovert people.

Over the last ten to fifteen years or so, urban Pakistani society has started experiencing a wave of religious conservatism, a lot of credit for which should go to very extreme right wing religious schools such as the Al Huda School for men and women, or the men's religious revivalist movement the Tableeghi Jamat. The latter is famous for it's massive annual gatherings in Malir, Karachi, and in Raivand, Lahore. Both the schools as well as this revivalist gathering mission seems hell bent on proactively creating and enforcing a culture of rigid literal implementation of religion on Pakistani society. Pakistani society has historically been conservative and old school, but courtesy of the effects of local culture, sufism and having lived in a pre parition India for centuries, the religiousness effect has been relatively moderate through most of Pakistan's history. The effect's of the wahabi style symbolic ritual focused Islam kicked into Pakistan during Zia's dark tenure as Pakistan's head of state. Following Zia's death, society returned towards liberalization in the 90's as democracy also returned to Pakistan, however as we headed towards the late 90's and awaited the 21st century, these right wing religious schools gained prominence as well as the Tableeghi Jamat and began undoing the the years of social progress of society. Their goals include a literal implementation of Islam,  an over emphasis on symbolic rituals and a disconnect from the worldly life for the life here after.

This has had an effect on people's social behavior and as a by product an effect on weddings in Pakistan. Growing up in the 90's for me it was a rarity to see such religiously influenced wedding ceremonies even among the religious lot. The drive to have a Sharia Law compliant or a religious compliant wedding is very intense among not just the elders of the house but also among the youth of the house that have subscribed to such schools of thought. The result of which is you see a fair amount of gender segregation at Shadi's, the music and entertainment in many cases has disappeared and a huge rise in the number of religious people in attendance, or atleast visibly religious people. Such has become the passion with segregation that many even among Pakistan's educated urban middle classes find mixed gatherings a disgusting sight. Every shadi season every year I have seen the occurrence of where people including close family of the the to be married couple walk out upon discovering that the event is a mixed affair and doesn't involve segregation of genders. This puts also added pressure on families that usually do not have segregated affairs to enforce segregation in their events so that they do not end up having an event where close relatives are boycotting or people socially relevant to them. This not only prevents, friends and close family from meeting and socializing with one another, but it stimulates and reinforces a belief that all hell will break loose should a gathering not be segregated, and we will go all to hell at the sight or being spotted by a Non Mehram man/woman and severe punishments lie waiting for us in the after life.

So far I haven't seen all hell break loose, and a lot of these so called segregated events that I have attended do not fully adhere to segregation trends either. The staff serving is usually male, so are the security guards, as well as the camera men and photographers. In addition to that, in some segregated weddings, the groom is the only guy present in the hall sitting on the stage with his new bride while his friends and male relatives are kept on the other side not visible from the eye. One should spare a thought or two for the groom, bechara, one never asks how he feels, or the newly married couple how they feel about what is supposed to be the single happiest moment in their life forced away from plan due to irrational social and peer pressure, especially from the religious lot, who if they were truly religious would show compassion and enthusiasm as others celebrate new beginnings in life in very much the same manner others participate at their crucial events regardless of the segregation even though they may find it a needless practice. We can atleast try and not cave into bullying if our beliefs state otherwise, were just encouraging a needles trend.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Surviving Istanbul

Even though I hail from Pakistan's city by the sea, Karachi where major civil unrest is a regular occurrence and often comes without warning, never did I expect to find myself caught up in all this thousands of miles away from home on the cross roads of the two continents. Istanbul, the largest city of the Turkish republic and the only major city that falls between the two continents of Asia and Europe. Media coverage has been very minimal in Pakistan, some are however courtesy of foreign media outlets familiar with the events that unfolded in Turkey's largest city Istanbul over the past few weeks. 

It all began a few weeks ago with demonstrators mainly the youth gathering at Gezi Park  which is located next to the iconic Taksim in Central Istanbul to protest against a development project that involved the planned demolition of the park in favor of a mega shopping plaza along with luxury apartments. The arguments of the protesters in the early days were that it was one of the very few green spaces remaining in Central Istanbul and for environmental reasons the Park must be protected. What started off as  movement to protect the park evolved into violent and destructive anti government protests with calls demanding the resignation of the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyeb Recip Erdagon. Different varieties of Anti Government protest groups had joined the environmentalists in Gezi Park, and the figure occupying the park and adjoining Taksim square had multiplied.

Majority of Turks living in Istanbul and other major cities particularly the youth are very proud of their secular and non religious identity and they feel threatened by the Prime Minister's recent initiatives for mildly curbing the sale of alcohol. I say mildly because, the only restrictions he has introduced is that you can not have liqour stores around mosques and corner shops can not sell from 10 pm to 6 am. The latter is also applied across most European Union countries including the United Kingdom, hence making it essentially a very European initiative. His opponents now label him an Islamist dictator in the making.

I was originally destined to stay a few minutes walk from the iconic Gezi park and Taksim square, because of the nature of protests and demonstrations which had prospects of turning violent, I opted to stay at a hotel located about 1.5 km away from Taksim Square in an almost equally happening and vibrant part of town. I arrived back at the hotel around 930 pm on Saturday night, it was mostly calm around Taksim at the time, and everything in my neighborhood was business as usual. I woke up the following morning and saw the hell that had been unleashed in Osmanbey and Sisli neighborhoods of Central Istanbul. I had stepped out of the hotel in the morning as usual to witness carnage. The entrance to the hotel resembled a make shift clinic with doctors treating the injured protesters and the air outside was not breathable, there was enough tear gas residue in the air to cause a burning sensation in one's eyes and throat. After taking a few quick snaps, I rushed back into hotel and headed straight for my room. The street right outside the Hotel was unrecognizable and resembled a war zone. Through out the night and the morning a major conflict had taken place between protesters and riot and the neighborhood of Osmanbey had become the new front line in the battle. I later came to know, that the night before, the Prime Minister had finally lost his patience with the Gezi Park and Taksim demonstrators after issuing them ultimatums repeatedly to evacuate and had ordered the riot police to march into Gezi park and empty it.

I returned to the lobby a few hours later just in time to check out and leave for the airport. Battle between riot police and protesters had resumed outside the hotel with fresh rounds of tear gas bombs and rubber bullets being fired by the police while the former were hurling stones at them. By now tear gas had made its way into the lobby, and even the air in the lobby was intolerable. The staff was very cooperative and helping indeed, they facilitated my exit from the hotel through the underground staff car park through the back of the hotel as I hopped onto a cab and made my way to the airport for my flight back home.  There was momentary panic but it subsided once I reached the airport. Such chaos is rare for this beautiful city and I can only hope that these protestors and the Turkish government are able to find a common ground and life returns to full normality in Central Istanbul very soon.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Let's talk about Bullying- II

Bullying involves even a demonstration of power or inducement of fear when there is a percieved differential in status or power between two or more individiuals. The bully always percieves him or herself as being relatively stronger then their victim hence chooses to engage in such behavior towards them. Where percieved equality exists, bullying becomes a very rare occurance. Sometimes this demonstration of power that comes with bullying can involve use of brutual force or extreme violence, which can result in serious injuries or the worst case scenario 'death' inflicted upon a victim. That is exactly what happened this past weekend in the city by the sea, as a young soul lost his life under unfortunate circumstances.

Hamza Ahmad was the name of the 17 year old teenager who was allegedly shot dead this past weekend by the body guard of another teenager who was an acquaintance of his. Reports circulating in the press and on social media suggest, that the fight was over a girl or whether it was about one boy harassing the other's girl friend. Regardless of what the dispute was about, one young soul needlessly lost his life, because the other young man whose guard shot Hamza did not value Hamza's life as a human being, it is entirely possible that the guilty young man in question percieved Hamza's worth as mere bug splat or himself as some one supreme   ofcourse speaking in relative terms.

I first heard about the death of Hamza when I got a message on whatsapp from a friend of mine saying that a teenager has been shot and killed by a classmate of his on Khayaban e Sehar in DHA Karachi. She herself came to learn about these events through Facebook status's that kept popping up condenming the act and showing signs of solidarity to the family of the late Hamza Ahmad. On the risk of sounding borderline insensitive I would like to suggest that we should have all seen this coming, especially those of us in our 20's and 30's. With the amount of easy access weapons and people with weapons roaming our city, it was only a matter of time before our degrading of the life of another human being became a reality. There was widespread apathy towards the lives of others when we were growing up, those of us who grew up in the 90's or the past decade, it was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen before we felt no ifs and buts about extinguishing some one's life altogether.

The root cause is our apathetic behavior towards others, towards the lives of other people, be it the actual life itself or everything else that people hold dear to their lives, such as personal belongings, loved ones or even social relationships. I would like to go out on a limb here and assign some blame to my generation, the lot that grew up in the 90's, that the amount of apathy that we demonstrated and the culture of apathy towards the lives of others it created, has lead to issues such as the untimely deaths of Hamza Ahmad and Shahzeb Khan before him. The generation after us have become even more apathetic and this has given a lot of fire power to the bullies and how they go about treating those they percieve as below them. What I mean by the bench mark was laid in my time was that it became a widespread trend when I was in school that we on a collective scale would indifferent or pretend as if nothing was happening when our peers were being bullied, harassed, socially ostracized or beaten up. I myself have been on the recieving end of such violence as a teenager in high school, I still clearly remember the apathy and insensitivity of my peers, who would blindly look the other way with the attitude that this does not concern. Refusal to intervene in conflicts or disputes that your peers are caught up in, because you all have only your life is your concern attitude. Infact, I am certain some of you people take great pleasure in being distant observers of those being abused in front of your very eyes. How many of you have taken pictures of it or made a video of it and uploaded it onto Social media?

 You people were silent, absolutely stun silent, and I am certain even children and teenagers now a days are stun silent and caught up too deeply in their own selfish individualistic pursuits, that even today they would look the other way when some one in their school is beaten up, molested, mocked, ridiculed or character assassinated in front of your eyes. For a lot of you pathetic apathetic and insensitive types, instead you guys see the victim as a potential possible loser of the class hence every mistreatment warranted at them is justified and you further damage their survival chances by keeping yourself at Bay from them. Most conflicts start off as petty and small, not managing them timely and in a proper manner triggers all sorts of things.  People see for yourselves what your culture of apathy leads to, are you people satisfied or are you people just shedding crocodile tears? If your in your 20's and you feel sad about Hamza Khan, just how genuine is your sadness? Think about it, are you sad because an innocent soul lost his life, or are you guys sad because of the messages pouring on social media. If you can watch some one like yourself get beaten up right in front of your eyes and not feel a thing, how is it that you feel so much empathy for some one you probably have never met in your life. I am by no way condoning what happened to Hamzan, I am just giving you people something to to think. So Jut Think about it, just some food for thought. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

So Let's Talk about Bullying.

Bullying, is perhaps one of the most tabboo topics in our urban Pakistani society, it is probably as taboo as freedom of expression or talking about sex education for the youth. People often love to avoid talking about it, it is very very conveniently swept under the rug as if it is something no one wants to acknowledge that it exists to begin in. To put it in simple and straightforward English, bullying is more or less display or exercise of power between singular or multiple individuals where a percieved power differential exists. Bullying in itself has become so vast, that even in the corporate world bullying is talked about as a tactic that bigger companies use against the smaller ones and play the occassional game of unfair competition. For bullying to take place, there has to exist a perception between the bully and their victim that their supposed victim is relatively inferior to them based on their perception. We have always heard these words 'a bully never picks on some one their size'. This alone should answer a lot of questions about bullying. Among the existing literature, a very big focus of bullying is on bullying and harassment that takes place in school, most particularly high school, when young people are in those transitional teenager years when it all begins. It is bullying from these teen and pre teen years that carries onto adulthood and a host of other bullying related issues ignite later on.

The whole issue of bullying and its early youth origins has become a matter of even greater concern in the modern technology oriented and social media that we live in. We live in a day and age where the youth and our children have access to high speed mobile internet on internet enabled smart phone devices and have instant access to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which were not around when my generation was not in high school about a decade ago. Cyber bullying is going out of proportions on an epic scale, unlike what some of us would have imagined even a decade ago. The seriousness of cyber bullying has prompted many countries especially in the European Union to step in and intervene on the matter. It was really refreshing that on the widely popular Express Tribune Blogs, one of their web desk sub editors Zahra Muhammad who ocassionally blogs as well took a very bold initiative and brough to the attention of their online readers the issue of high school bullying and the impact that social media has on this whole episode. In her blog she mentioned that many well known upper middle class schools in Karachi have secret or not so secret anymore confession pages on Facebook.

In these confession pages students of these schools on their respective confession pages are verbally lashing out against their fellow students in an attempt to character assassinate them or socially demonize them. For a lot of people it might seem that all this is in good humour and one should just dismiss it as casual naive teenage behavior, but who are we really we fooling by saying this. As a matter of fact I agree the blogger Zahra Muhammad that we are kind of living in self denial when we show complete apathy to such behavior and disregard just how truly damaging this sort of social or antisocial behavior is. It can be truly damaging in the long run to the lives of those being bullied online with severe consequences in real life. While some of the confessions that will come on these pages will truly be light hearted humour and in good spirit, most of it is likely to be for the sole purpose and intent of damaging some one and bring about social, emotional and psychological harm to their intended victim. I would like to honestly say we are living in denial if we again think for a moment that children are naive and have no real ill-intent, a lot of us who have gone through high school and first hand seen the transformational effect it has had on our lives as well as those around us, should avoid being apathetic and try to put themselves in a position where they can feel empathy for the person being victimised. For those of us who have grown up watching teen movies would have seen countless movies made on the issue of bullying at school, how it damages lifes, tears people apart, and most of the aggressors are purely doing it for pleasure purposes or to give themselves an ego  boost so they can believe their superior to some of their peers.  

These messages The nature of these messages thrown out across social media can have long term damaging consequences for the person being victimised. It can lead to cases of social discrimination and marginalization that the victim might experience on behalf of their peers, even to the point of social isolation. Social marginalization and ostracization of the nature can damage a youngsters self esteem, confidence and social skills by instilling a fear of their social environment. Not just for the duration of the schooling years, but it is something that can carry on for years and years to come, playing an important role in hindering the development of that person on a social or even economic level. Also let's not forget that one nasty character assassination rumour, could lead to dozens more in the future, as it will give others the impression also that the person being targeted either through word of mouth on social media is in fact a soft and easy target. It would also encourage people to join in on the bullying who otherwise would not even remotely consider it if the intended victims are overly demonised to the point their reduced to social misfits or outcasts. There is also the tendency to create long term rifts through the process of stereo typing, for example for whatever some people get stereotyped as being your typical losers in school because their either too needy, or they can't afford the finner things some peers have, socioeconomic or cultural background or even for their poor ability to speak English (which by the way attracts a lot of unwanted attention in elitest schools) etc to just name a few.

What I am trying to say is that such attitude have long term consequences,that even among people who are indifferent to those being bullied, it will create serious distancing or pushing away attitudes towards these people without ever showing the desire to know them on a personal or social level, and such attitudes might continue well into adulthood. Some one's public reputation what it might have been during the school going days, their former peers might treat them the same way even as we all supposedly evolve into adult hood or may even create countless obstacles in life through an active continous chain of bad public propoganda. In other words, the person deemed yesterday as the big loser in school, might have trouble forming social relationships not only because of lost confidence and self esteem, but the negative public propoganda message might become so out of control, that it will serve as a barrier a brick wall of sorts to form future relationships.

With the advent of social media and mobile technology, communication travels at alarmingly pace, and in the case of bullying or cyber bullying this is something of serious concern. A lot of youngsters are naive to the point, they do not realize the consequences of their actions in the present and future tense, they may hate some one for the sake of hating some one, but they do not realize what damage their words and actions would do. This is where the responsibility lies with the sane adults out there, who have been there, done that, witnessed all of this growing up in a offline environment to educate their children with regards to making responsible choices in life, to explore the causes of anger and aggression in their children which they pour out on peers they percieve weaker than them and to foster a culture of empathy for their peers, as their behavior during adolesence will have a long term effect on their personality and the people they grow up to be.  Schools and their administrations are equally responsible, it is their responsibility to monitor such behavior whether it is happening online and offline, and provided councelling services to students that are victims of bullying as well as those who are committing aggression towards their percieved weaker peers. A lot of people can be saved if this matter is engaged proactively, a lot of lives and futures can be saved. I know it is easier said than done, it is one of the most difficult things in the world to actually make some one feel empathy for another human being but atleast we can try, just some food for thought. To conclude I would like to add just one final message, that those among us who are now adults, but took great pleasure during school days in character assassinating, socially ostracizing, bullying, harassing and in some cases physically abusing some of our peers, a good starting platform would be to make amends with such people, so that we can be good role models for our next generation.

Just some food for thought.