x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Green is the colour of peace movement launched in Dubai

A campaign, launched in the UAE, against terrorist attacks in Pakistan urges people to wear green today and meet in protest against the violence.

DUBAI // The spate of terrorist attacks that rocked Pakistan recently has inspired a protest campaign launched in the emirate that is urging people to show their support by wearing green today. Anthony Permal, 29, the head of marketing at an events company in Dubai, launched "The Dhaani Movement" after his friend's sister was kiled in a suicide bomb blast at the International Islamic University in Islamabad last month. "My friend left the campus just 15 minutes before the blast, but his sister could not," he said.

Mr Permal said the incident was the catalyst for him to start the movement on Facebook and other social networking sites. "My friend's sister got killed in the blast and I could not sit around doing nothing." The explosion, which left six people dead, was one of several bomb blasts that have killed scores of civilians and injured many more in the past few weeks. "Dhaani", which means "green", is a symbol of unity among Pakistanis, and the movement aims to unite people against terrorism, Mr Permal said yesterday.

The Facebook group, named "Hum Sab Hai Dhaani - We are all Pakistani", now has more than 17,000 members, all of whom have pledged to wear green today in support of the peace movement. The group has also named several sites around the world where people are encouraged to gather to show unity against terrorism. "The locations were only decided today. However, the idea is not to restrict them to one location but to wear green wherever you are and whatever you are doing," said Mr Permal.

In the Emirates, supporters have been asked to gather at the Qanat al Qasba in Sharjah at 6pm. Other locations have been chosen in the UK, US, Canada and Pakistan. Mr Permal said thousands of people had registered for the movement in the UAE. "We are not political, but a social movement. I am surprised at the kind of people who have come forward to show their support. "We had 15-year-old teenagers, graduates, CEOs of companies and also a priest from Australia," he said.

Other nationals involved included Indians, Afghans, Yemenis, Saudis and Hungarians, he added. "We always believe that it is very difficult to unite people. The Dhaani Movement has just proved that thousands of people can be united for a cause. These people just do not have a voice. We gave them a voice." He said support garnered by the movement would later help the troubled country tackle its problems.

"After uniting thousands of Pakistanis worldwide, we would then give them practical reasons and issues to deal with and make a tangible difference to a better future for Pakistan," Mr Permal said. pmenon@thenational.ae