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Shaista Aziz is a freelance journalist who has worked for the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Guardian. She writes about race, gender and Islam.

On the afternoon of Easter Sunday, I was walking through the rain-soaked streets of Oxford, England, the city where I was born and raised, with my nieces and nephews on our way to play in the park.

Later, when we reached home, damp but happy, I checked my phone and read a message from a friend telling me about a bomb blast in Lahore, Pakistan – the country I've visited countless times and where my parents were born.

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I have never felt such emptiness and despair at the state of a country that is part of my DNA and my life.

A week ago, Belgium was attacked. Last Friday, 32 people, including children, were killed in a bombing in Baghdad, Iraq, while playing soccer.

In 2016, Turkey, Ivory Coast, Malawi and Nigeria have been targets of terrorism.

Rinse and repeat. Stop. Press the button and start the cycle again.

In Lahore, a park with mothers and children was attacked by a suicide bomber – not unlike the park I was in, an hour earlier on the other side of the world.

Pakistan was created on the ideological foundations of a secular, plural state where citizens are free to pray in their mosques, temples and churches. These ideals, along with the victims of fanatics, have been dead and buried for decades.

Pakistanis are left guessing who will be targeted next. In Pakistan, terrorism continues to take on new definitions.

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While their hatred for Pakistan's minorities is not in any doubt, these people also know how to secure global headlines in an increasingly polarized world where fanatics are dividing us on religious and ethnic lines, issuing statements guaranteed to boost those who aim to divide and rule.

A surgeon friend in Lahore told me that the victims he treated were Christians and Muslims. The bomb in Lahore did not differentiate victims or their bodies based on their faith.

On the day the news of the Peshawar school attack in 2014 broke, I wasn't in Pakistan. Later, I learned that my colleague's loved ones, including children, had been killed in the school.

The same week, I was in a café in Oxford, and a woman started discussing the Peshawar massacre with me. "I suppose with all the violence in Pakistan, people are probably used to this type of thing," she said.

I swallowed hard as my brain tried to compute her sentence. I don't believe this woman meant any malice toward me at that exact moment or the victims in Peshawar. She said what was on her mind based on her understanding.

I gathered myself and responded: "No, nobody gets used to seeing their children killed and nobody should get used to the kids of loved ones being killed by fanatics."

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So where do we go from here? Where do we look for hope? Launching wars to end terrorism isn't a winning formula. The flames of global conflicts have reached the shores of Europe. While governments are failing to change the course of their predictable rhetoric and repeat the same actions, its citizens are building movements of hope and solidarity, reaching out to protect the vulnerable and demand change.

In Europe and the Middle East, people are providing support to refugees and migrants – from the volunteers distributing clothes and food to those pulling people out of the sea as they try to reach Europe.

In Lahore, people placed victims in rickshaws and taxis to ferry them to hospital. Citizens mobilized to give blood, including doctors who were working on saving lives at the same time.

This is where we can find the hope, if not the solution: It's the everyday citizens who are collecting medical supplies for hospitals and civil society activists who are facing threats to their own lives as they push back against the hate.

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