Social media sites overwhelmed by postings on Malala shooting
By: ANWAR KHAN
Social media internet sites, Facebook and Twitter were overwhelmed by Thursday by Pakistanis’ indignation over the attempt on the life of Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year old student activist from Swat Valley. Over the past two days, internet users termed the shooting of the teenage girl a brazen attempt in the militancy plagued valley. Reports about the incident in the international media were also widely discussed in the social media.
People continued to post and share file photos and recent pictures of Malala, with condemnations continuing to pour in ever since the first news report hit the country’s media on Tuesday afternoon. However, social media users were highly polarised, equating the attempt on the life of Malala Yousufzai with the killings of innocent people and children in US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal region.
People started posting photos of corpses of children killed in drone attacks were posted as soon as people started highlighting the attack on Malala, urging the government and civil society groups to raise their voices against the killings in drone strike as vehemently as they did in Malala’s case. They insisted that both the Malala shooting and drone strikes should be condemned with equal force.
Drone continued to strike targets in Pakistan’s border areas with reports alleging the killings of innocent tribesmen, which users particularly highlighted after the Thursday’s aerial strike. Many changed their profile photos on Facebook with Malala Yousufzai’s, sharing their sentiments with poetry and photos to glorify the teenager’s fight for spreading education. They called her a brave girl who stood steadfast against militants in the valley. International media’s response to attack on the life of Malala Yousufzai was unprecedented, with reports in the global media praising for her courage and undaunted struggle. Postings in Pashto, English and Urdu languages dominated other regional languages on Facebook.
On Wednesday, people started posting photos of school children praying for Malala’s recovery and women activists protesting against the attempt on the teenager’s life belonging to various political groups and NGOs in different cities. Various political parties also shared their views on the incident and denounced the shooting.
Some internet users also invited public attention the two other shooting victims, both girls. They sought greater role of the media and government to highlight their conditions and their families’ sufferings. Internet users believed that the media and government figures had overlooked the other wounded girls in their reports. The Malala shooting remained the most discussed issue in the last two days with participants equally divided between who should be blamed for the shooting: Some suggest Taliban were responsible for the shooting, while many disagreed and pointed their fingers at elements working under US intelligence apparatus in Pakistan.
A number of Pakistanis living abroad doubted the authenticity of reports which suggested Taliban’s involvement in the attack. They said that all violent attacks were either owned by Taliban or they were blamed for it, which makes things dubious for them.