Students share a moment of silence to commemorate lives lost to terrorism

About two dozen Wits students held a vigil for victims of worldwide terrorist attacks at the Health Sciences Campus on March 20.

The vigil, described as a “moment of contemplation” for victims of terror, was organised by the Muslim Student Association (MSA) of medical campus, but students of all faiths were invited. Participants were given black ribbons to tie around their wrists to commemorate the lives lost to the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday, March 8.

“Terror is not only described as attacks on race or gender but as attacks on humanity,” said MSA member, Irfaan Mangera, who is graduating this month with a BEd. “Ordinary people often feel pain but this attack is one of many. As we have compassion and love, we should challenge those in power at campus level and in our communities.”

Another MSA committee member, Yumna Nose, 20, told Wits Vuvuzela that the motivation for the vigil was not only to the acknowledge the crimes committed in the New Zealand mosque shootings, but also to unite the student body across racial, gender and religious divides to form a community for all areas of the world affected by acts of terror.

“We want to unite the student body, and build a platform of respect, love and unity amongst students,” said the third-year health sciences student. “The word ‘terrorism’ is very closely related to the Islamic faith so I feel it’s important to unite people of different faiths under a banner of peace and love, in order to create an understanding that it’s not just one religion affected.”

Third-year medical student, Promise Thipane, told Wits Vuvuzela that he may not be a Muslim, but the issue of terror attacks affects everyone and  it is more important than ever to unite despite any differences. “So often people are desensitised. These events may come and go, but more people should actually engage and feel empathy. That’s the least we can do, we’re all human and that’s the one thing we all have in common,” he said.

Donations raised at the vigil will go to the Houghton-based Caring Women’s Forum, an organisation dedicated to community development.

FEATURED IMAGE: Students tie black ribbons on their wrists to commemorate victims of the Christchurch, New Zealand shootings.