Waves of sorrow and the fertile hearts!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The recent Monsoon season and the heavy rainfall we received poured some questions in the minds of many a people across Pakistan. In this post I would like to address three of such questions, according to my personal opinion, and would also like to know what you think about these questions.
The questions are:
·         Why did a natural disaster as devastating as the recent floods hit us?
·         What can we at an individual and national level do for the relief of millions of people who are desperately looking towards us for help?
·         In what way is the flood going to affect us, as a nation, in the long-term?

Considering from different angles many different perspectives can be observed. Some believe that the ‘timely’ construction of large dams in the country could have helped storing water in the reservoirs, hence reducing the chances of floods. Others are of the opinion that as regular cleaning of the river channels in the Northern region of the country was not observed, the swelling of the rivers occurred, resulting in floods. We also come across opinions such as calamities both natural and resulting from human activities are a result of our wrong doings and we need to consider what wrong we were committing to….!
I think there is one other way in which we can respond to the question. Calling to mind the Earthquake of 2005 and the relief activities for the affected ones, there were few trained rescue teams across the country at that time. The whole infrastructure for the relief efforts had to be created before we could set out to work and back then we didn’t have so many organizations within the ranks of civil society that could help the Government and the Army in the relief efforts, as we have nowadays. By the time the issue of IDPs from Swat and Buner came to surface, Pakistan had witnessed a noticeable change regarding the Rescue and Relief work. A bulk of organizations run by Pakistanis from different age-groups and different professional backgrounds made their way into the relief and rehabilitation of the IDPs. We not only handled the situation efficiently, but also with minimum foreign aid. So can’t we say that the Relief activities and the lessons of patience, relying on our own resources and training our own rescue teams after the Earthquake helped us fight and stand the Wave of terrorism and the issue of IDPs that followed it? If yes, then it’s possible that the floods and the worst plane-crash in the history of Pakistan are there just to prepare us as a nation for some crucial challenges awaiting us, where we need to bring these lessons of patience and courage into practice, which we are learning during all these traumatic events. Keeping this in mind, perhaps we need to exhibit more DISCIPLINE than ever, so that we are able to face every challenge that comes on our way with determination.

Before I deal with the second question, I would like to share (in my own words) a little story I heard somewhere.
A little child saw some fishes that had accidentally come near the shoreline and one after the other they were breathing their last. The child went near them and started throwing them one by one towards the sea. On seeing this, a man standing nearby went to the child and told him that it was impossible for him to put all the fishes back and perhaps most them would die before he can help them, then why bother spending time for them. To this the innocent child replied ‘It still matters even if I save a SINGLE life’.
So is my view, it matters even if I m able to help bring ONE smile on a face yet saving a Life is a deed much more admirable. This is the level of FAITH that can help us control and over-power the situation.  Whatever can be done, in whatever capacity, and in whatever way possible is the only way to reach those who need us and who are looking towards us for our Love and assistance.

After immediate relief of the affected-ones comes their rehabilitation and the long-term impact of the events on the ‘collective consciousness’ of the Nation. Reports conclude that great damage to human-life, live-stock, and food-crops has occurred and perhaps we need lot of time to fill in the gap that has been created.
Quoting UN humanitarian chief John Holmes:
“While the death toll may be much lower than in some major disasters, taking together the vast geographical area affected, the numbers of people requiring assistance and the access difficulties currently affecting operations in many parts of the country, it is clear that this disaster is one of the most challenging that any country has faced in recent years.”
According to analysts, the country will perhaps witness food-shortage in the coming year owing to the damage to food crops. The ones who have lost their houses, schools, and means of earning livelihood have to start from a scratch and they will surely need time and resources to re-establish themselves. Epidemics may result, draining the country’s resources for providing medical treatment and medicines.
The floods will surely leave an indelible mark on the psyche of the Nation in the long-term. With the memory of the disturbing events and the plight of the effectees another significant recollection may last long. Nowadays we observe donation-campaigns running all over our local electronic media. We can see people from different walks of life sitting with and sharing their varying views with each other on any TV channel you tune-in (singers and musicians sitting next to engineers and Army personnel during donation campaigns for flood-affectees). Such UNITY is the noteworthy aspect of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war which we observe to be all around us today. Perhaps new avenues of thought and fresh revolutions may result from the stream of this Unity, carving a new world of Ideas and shaping some new dreams for the Nation to pursue.
Summarizing the post I would like add that as those who are directly affected from the devastation of floods have lost their near and dear ones, their houses and properties are gone; schools, bridges and roads where they used to walk are no longer there, we must pay our regard to them and to their sacrifices. Acknowledging those who laid down their lives in this calamity as Martyrs is a small token of respect we can offer them from our side.
 I also feel that now is the time to revert to the principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline gifted to us by our Quaid, as the answers to all our questions lies there.
 At the end let me share some beautiful words of Iqbal here, guiding us to hope and ambitions.
Let not the sorry plight of the garden upset the gardener,
Soon buds will sprout on the branches and like star glitters;
Weeds and brambles will be swept out of the garden with a broom,
And where martyr’s blood shed red roses shall bloom;
Look how russet leaves have tinges the Eastern skies,
The horizon heralds the birth of a new Sun about to Rise.”

May we recover from this calamity soon and may Pakistan always prosper.


connie nash said...

Which relief organizations and key parts of them are doing the kind of relief you are longing to see? What is still missing if anything in these efforts?

What do you want to say to America as far as helping out were you to suggest such an appeal?

My heart is bleeding for all of Pakistan now for weeks. I am one with you in preparing for and seeking to meet these challenges with faith and diligence.

Notice how our themes of Heart and Sunset/Sunrise are common among us at RR these days.

I plan to be back to study your extremely well-thought out post soon.

Namrah Mahmood said...

There are many such organizations from all across the world which are working for the relief of flood affected people.

APPNA, The Citizens Foundation, Developments in Literacy, Edhi Foundation, Human Development Foundation, IMANA, Islamic Relief, Relief International, SHINE Humanity, UNICEF, Save the Children, World Food programme, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, World vision to name a few.

and I think every organization is putting in their maximum effort. What I want to highlight are just two points.
1. As a nation, every Pakistani including me and everyone else should take care of the ones who need us, and we should KEEP helping them till each one of the affected people get rehabilitated.
2. Whatever resources we have, plenty or scarce, all of us need to ORGANIZE them and utilize them in a way that we get maximum benefit. e.g if I have 2 pieces of bread and for the time being 1 of them is sufficient for me, why not give the other to the one who does not have even 1 of it.

Regarding American people and people from all over the world, if for humanity's sake and for the sake of good terms Pakistan has been with the rest of the world, anyone is willing to help us out, I feel grateful for their help from the core of my heart. The help can be in any form, direct or indirect. It can be in the form of volunteers, money, any items that are needed, or even to give due recognition and voice to the needy people in Western media. And many of the Americans and people from other nations are already on the field helping the affected people, and are promoting their cause as is evident from one of the articles written by Ethan Casey, here's the link

And as far as American government and aid from them is concerned, I personally feel that although we are in need of money for rehabilitation and relief work, it would be better for them (and for us also) to provide the aid in the form of some 'Real' friendly gesture. Prosperous Pakistan is in the interest of the whole world.

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

An informative insight into one of the most devastating calamity of our history, all three questions raised by this are very pertinent and should be probed thoroughly at all levels as you did.

Namrah Mahmood said...

Akhtar sahib i would really feel glad to know your answer to these questions and thanks a lot for taking out time to read the post.

Connie L. Nash said...

Dear Namrah,

Thanx for your excellent response. To keep things simple, I've highlighted mostly sending donations to Edhi Foundation. Does this seem like the right way to go for American donors - any of you at RR?

Also your answer to me was so good, I'd love to have you post the same Comment you gave to mine to oneheartforpeace or allow me to post for you with or without your name as you wish just as is. Leave as is or edit either way is fine. Feel free to let folk know of your blog-site if you wish or not...

Any of you, do let me know how to improve my news/updating/appeals for American and Europeans as you know from much closer up than I. Or add comments to the most recent item...

Connie L. Nash said...

I personally prefer working through Pakistani groups on the ground like Edhi and not through government...yet, what would this "real friendly" gesture look like to you in Pakistan? Hard to know what's political/what's not and what may be hidden/ulterior motives from what I've seen. But I love people to people help and sometimes we must be glad for whatever comes - I suppose - when special equipment is needed...

Namrah Mahmood said...

Dear Connie
very true, no one can be certain of what is political and what is not, and i feel so glad at your zeal and enthusiasm in promoting the cause. And as long as Americans like u are there, do we need the help of the American government (or from government of any other country)? Certainly not!
I feel Edhi is a very trustworthy organization with an excellent past record of working in the relief operations.
and u may include my comment if it is of any use, and u may include the name of blog or my name if it goes with the post. Thanks a lot for highlighting a problem that has shook everyone in Pakistan so hard.
Also I feel that who knows this problem may lead to improved relations between Pakistan and people of other nations (if not with their governments).
Thanks again.

Connie L. Nash said...

Excellent work and replies! I look forward to getting a little rest and soon updating using your comments and information among others.

Thanx so much and take care of self, friend.

ReeBz said...

NiCe post and the detailed one as well.

Wellflood hit us because of our own mistakes. we think with the mind of sindhi and punjabi etc but not with the mind and heart of Pakistan.we have no other option except reaping it..
yeah we can work together, to share the sorrow of our brothers, but we cant repay our farmers, our labour who has been feeding us by working hard, since ages,since the day first!! They had to bear such a great loss cause of our carelessness, our cruelty, and our faults! we need to remove the flaws, we need to differentiate between good and bad!between friend and foe! Yes, this is the time we should say NO to all our enemies, but well this nation is asleep!!
corruption,dishonesty,massacres,target killings is what we deserve now..

We need to realise that govts are always puppets, if we want a change then only WE can bring it! we need to get united,but nay who are we? I'm sindhi,are you? You are balochi,but nay how can i be your friend M patHan!! and hey how come you are living in khi! come on i'll kick you out!

This is what we are doing.. untill and unless we correct ourselves, we will never be able to face such challenges!!

Syeda Zehra said...

A very optimist and true post.
We need some morale boasters in these troubled times and your post is one of the v.best..:)_

BTY thanks for dropping bY mY bloG.

Namrah Mahmood said...

Dear Reebz
True, we can not compensate the great loss that our farmers had to bear, the ones whose hands provide food so that we can grow. But surely this time we can lend our hand to sow a crop of Love and brotherhood, together with the hands of those farmers. Sometimes its these calamities that prove the need for Love and fraternity, because when we are living in safe and sound conditions we take things for granted.
So don't worry, u and all others around us who have a beautiful spirit as yours will make it possible that we stand United, as Pakistanis, and against all our enemies. This is the moment to learn from any mistake we committed in the past and to ACT in order to prove the world that we are not a nation that is asleep and can not fight its own troubles. When we have patriotic youth like u, no one can say that this nation is asleep. Soon we will take our decisions in our hands. Don't feel sad, but just think what can YOU do for the sake of your country and keep doing that. This is the ONLY way in which we can progress.
Thanks a lot for taking out time to come and read the post. Think and Act in the way that can help Pakistan and create your OWN Pakistan with ur own hands.

Namrah Mahmood said...

Dear Zehra
Thanks a lot for taking out time to read this post. And i like the patriotism that is reflected by the posts in ur blog.
Keep coming :)

Namrah Mahmood said...

Dear friend Connie,
I highly regard all your contributions in helping the flood affected Pakistanis. Take care of your-self too and of all the people around you.

Connie L. Nash said...

Thanx dear friend for always being concerned about others even in such a crisis as this!

Connie L. Nash said...

And you do have strong abilities/gifts as writer of complicated facts/questions - placing them in solid, well-researched order and making needed connections. Realize that over the long-run, such work will be as valuable as any other at this time and don't feel badly if you can't do the work needed by others while you follow your own calling! Thanx for reminding and wanting me also to take care of self and people around me which I am trying to do...although hard to quit trying to work out systems to help the cause there...so appreciate your balance for self and others!

Namrah Mahmood said...

Thanks a lot Connie!
Your words helped in boasting my morale and your encouragement helped me feel confidant :)
Your ideas and efforts for the cause of humanity are what I appreciate from the bottom of my heart. Please keep helping me in forming my views and polishing my ideas. I always feel good to have you at my blog. Thanks again Dear :)

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