Rabeya Jawaid (Pakistan, LPC 10-12)
On Friday, the 28th of May 2010, gunmen attacked worshippers from the Ahmadi community in two worship places of Lahore, Pakistan on Friday, taking hostages and killing at least 70 people.
The gunmen opened fire shortly after Friday prayers (important Islamic prayers) and threw grenades at two Ahmadi worship places in residential neighborhoods in Pakistan’s cultural capital.
Mohsin Hamid writes: ‘Because if we can be silenced when it comes to Ahmadis, then we can be silenced when it comes to Shias, we can be silenced when it comes to women, we can be silenced when it comes to dress, we can be silenced when it comes to entertainment, and we can even be silenced when it comes to sitting by ourselves, alone in a room, afraid to think what we think.’
I think it is time to think. I think it is time to speak. That is why I chose UWC. I am a peace activist. Coming from a country torn by ethnic rivalries, political strife, engulfed in a nuclear arms race and struggling to sustain democracy, I appreciate the need for building bridges between different cultures, religions and nationalities. I believe that UWC is a place that will help us develop into mature citizens of the world who can actively work towards bringing about world-wide peace.
When I first browsed through the UWC website, I felt uplifted. To be able to go to a college where thoughts and ideas can be shared with people from all over the world was extremely appealing. I have always been a believer in talks. We need more conversations to avoid hatred and wars, because hatred really arises from misunderstandings, miscommunications and lack of forums where issues can be solved by debating. UWC is that forum, that place where we will be ambassadors of our respective countries and show the world that there is still hope in this world. In effect, UWC represents hope to me.
The idea of not only studying, but also living and eating with people from all walks of life and from all corners of the world is extremely exciting. I have always aspired to learn different languages, and I know that UWC will make this task easier for me as some friends that I have made via facebook have already offered to teach me. I also believe that someone at LPCUWC might be able to teach me how to make real paella or how to dance the salsa, and I would love to learn as much as I can about other cultures there.
I am particularly excited about the China Week at LPCUWC. Since I was 12, I have been actively participating in community service. The idea of giving back to society makes me feel alive, worth living and keeps the strong fire of love burning in my heart. Coming from a country where Ahmadis are not accepted, and mentally retarded children are still looked down upon, I appreciate the UWC’s call for equality. I hope community service at LPCUWC and my friends from all over the world will further enable me to become less biased and stop generalizing as I sometimes unintentionally tend to do.
Finally, going to LPCUWC in Hong Kong is the best thing I could hope for right now. Hong Kong is ‘the place to be.’ As I just saw the amazing architecture and natural beauty of China in Karate Kid, I am also excited about excursions into mainland China that LPCUWC will take us to.
The farewell will be dramatic, I know. After all, I am the youngest of my family and the one who has been pampered the most by her parents. Saying goodbyes and starting on a new journey, all by myself to Hong Kong will not be easy. I have started reading Harry Potter again just to convince myself that boarding schools are an amazing experience to do everything all by yourself. I know I am up for it though, because I will have amazing people there who will probably be feeling as scared and overwhelmed as me. I know that my dreams, hopes and aims are high and idealistic, but I know UWC will cater for that.
-United World Colleges Student Magazine-