30 Sep

Author: Savitri Grover

War and conflict is a sad fact of life. In many parts of the world, it's going on right now. No matter who's holding the guns, women, girls, and children are always victims. Whenever a conflict occurs, it usually brings with it physical or economic violence. Women and children are often targets of this violence, and women's rights are often limited in the process.

Amidst all the violence and oppression, women are still primarily responsible for taking care of children and families and worrying about their safety. In war-torn places around the world, women are the ones who help build communities and yet have little or no say at the negotiation table.

I find myself wishing that wars and conflicts didn't exist, but they do, and they cause so much instability - families losing everything they have, knowing nothing but horror. Currently, the situation in Afghanistan is not isolated. We've seen long-term war and conflicts in various parts of the world, making these regions unstable, which means women's rights are often neglected. This results in violence, sexual abuse, and trauma. 

In this fast-moving news cycle, it might be challenging to keep track of everything. Many of these events are forgotten before long, but these are real people who still suffer beyond the news cycle and constantly try to flee for their children's safety and a better life, which is not a safe journey for everyone. 

Most of us live in conflict-free zones; we might have issues or differences, but nothing as dire as a death sentence. Leaving one's homeland and everything they know in a circumstance like this is hard; given an option, people would love to have a say on their fate. Nevertheless, when people are trying to flee a deadly situation, they accept whatever they get. 

It's hard to leave everything and start over. When my parents immigrated from their home country for a better life, they made a choice that was still hard, given that they left their family, friends, and even parents behind. However, my parents had options. Imagine if you have to make this decision overnight, not having any control over the situation and not knowing what to expect next. I think humanity needs to show more compassion, even with our biases. I'll still argue that if conditions were better, people might make different choices. They wouldn't uproot their whole lives to move to a different culture and region where they can't even speak the language. It wouldn't be their first choice. At least they would come in a better circumstance, perhaps a happier one.

Hence I'd like to appeal to humankind to be more compassionate. If you meet a refugee, show your human side, show that even if you don't speak the same language, you're still capable of showing love and respect. Show them that we're capable of keeping aside our differences and still be able to share a laugh. 

I want to appeal to my sisters around the world. We need to support each other as women because we understand what it means to not have any rights, safety, or say in the decision-making process. We know our power and ability. This isn't new to us, so we can come together and help women from other motherlands feel at home. 

Now, the question is what can be done about it, or perhaps many of us wonder how they can help. Everyone who wants to make a difference does it in whichever way they see fit; some donate money; some contribute their time and skills. However, sometimes, even if you do not have money or time, you still have the most effective tools in you, your smile and compassion. Try it, and it can do wonders. 

After all, as the Dalai Lama once said, "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."

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