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Bell Bajao!

A couple of years ago, an NGO started a campaign called 'Bell Bajao' against domestic violence. The concept was simple, if you are an audience to (i.e. overhear) domestic violence in the neighborhood, don't intervene directly - but make the perpetrator of this violence aware that someone is hearing / watching - social pressure of being watched will compel the perpetrator to stop. The video below illustrates, where the neighbor simply rings the bell to stop the domestic quarrel but when the door opens, he asks for Milk. 



This is a very effective mechanism - I am intrigued if this can only be applied to domestic violence - why can't it be applied to international diplomacy to reduce crimes against humanity such as the ghastly events at Peshawar?

As much as one is pained by the events and acts of Taliban, the larger pain is the apathy shown by most of the world's Governments including India. Just a message of condolence, a statement condemning the attack - is that all the governments of the world can do? If killing of innocent people in 9/11 could trigger a response which destroyed the whole Taliban apparatus in Afghanistan, are lives of children in Peshawar not even as valuable to trigger some similar response?

Taking cue from the Bell Bajao - why can't we simply "ask for Milk". So no one is asking the US or Britain or India to send in soldiers and drones, mass bomb Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to cleanse it (of Taliban and even the locals). In fact, this, can be the worst response to the massacre - fueling further animosity and hatred. But why can't we flood the area with charities - both in terms of money and charitable agencies working towards the upliftment of region?

The Peshawar incident is not the first sign of the deterioration of the region - Malala's case was an early warning. Rather than spend billions in the War Against Terror - if the same money was given to Pakistan for focused, result oriented and result based aid to improve education, health, sanitation in its border areas, this situation could have been avoided. The people of this region - not the godmen, not the already radicalized but those who are ambivalent - need to know that the world cares about them, it wants them also to succeed and get access to prosperity.

This is not a case in isolation for Khyber Pakhtunwa or Afghanistan - it is a case for the Red district in India, Kashmir, Libya, and several parts of Africa. I am borrowing from this Facebook post - "The best revenge would be to kidnap Taliban's children, invest in their future, give them world class education, send them to ivy leagues, enlighten their minds, make them honourable members of the society so one day they can return to their fathers, look them in the eye and say, 'I am ashamed that your cowardly blood is running through my veins'"

Of course the quote above talks in extremes and of course the sense of vendetta (of the children literally abusing their fathers) is not welcome. More so, providing everything from basic education to Ivy league qualifications to a handful of Taliban's children is neither practical nor effective. But what is needed is to spread the net of basic education, sanitation and health to the most remote parts of the world and that is NOT the domain alone of Bill and Melinda Gates or Warren Buffet. They are not the richest and most influential - our governments are!

Can America stop exporting weapons and soldiers and start exporting books and teachers to the troubled parts of the world? That alone can put a halt to the mindless, brutal and anachronic bloodshed we are witnessing and will continue to witness in the world if we don't act.

Someone please ring the bell!!

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