Are we doing the right thing? Notes inspired by a Relief Camp Visit

The hollowed walls of a school to be have now been converted to a make shift relief camp. The media would have screamed about the incompetency of such a place, which neither has no electricity, no gas, no running water, and no sanitary arrangements. They would have you believe that they are being treated worse than animals and that the government has proved to be completely incompetent in making their stay enjoyable.

But lets be honest to ourselves, they really didn’t live in a house that had electricity, gas or running water, their lives were just as much hard, if not more than what the images are showing now. The only true thing that we can mourn about is the lose of their homes where they must have made several memories, the loss of their crops on which they must have worked everyday from twilight to dusk, the landscape of their villages that must have changed forever. Anything more than that is simply an exaggeration of the their condition based on our standards.

Yesterday, in the hollowed halls of that school, the spirit slowly faded down as a sudden realization dawned on me that maybe we are not doing anything good for them. Our efforts have been simply to enforce further the idea within them that they have nothing, while we are the blessed one. Our efforts are simply making life easy for just a moment, when in reality, in a few months after they return to their homes we would forget about them and they would know that their lives have nothing.

The spirit vanished as the smells of nausea, disgust, took over me, the spirit vanished after seeing the yet-not-functional bathrooms covered with human discharge. I wanted to throw up, or at least run away. So I diverted my attention to something else. I, for that brief moment of visit, became their official entertainer. Seeing a camera around my neck, the kids decided to pose one after the other. They touched my lens, they made me take their pictures, and then saw the results, only to bring back their friends and showing them their images to their jealous friends. It was a welcome distraction!

Here are the faces of the Flood!

To see the full stream of pistures, please see my Flickr Page.

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Pakistan Disaster = History in the making!

The year was 2005, it was the month of Ramadan, the disaster in the light of the present conditions now seems to be of a lesser magnitude, but it wasnt so at that time! The Government and the Civilian Institutes were weak then and are much weaker now! And at that time the situation was used by the Jamaat ud Dawa for its advantage, and there is no doubt that they are going to do the same again. And if the report published in the Independent is anything to go by, then they already are!

In a country where from the media to the Government Officials to the average bloc sitting at home staring at his TV Screen seems to be having some form of Amnesia, it is not very surprising that no one is thinking along these lines. In a country where only the Military and its trained elements, including its very own trained Jihadist like the members of this banned organization, are the most organized, it is not surprising that their relief efforts have been able to cover more ground than the Governments.

All they want is some relief from the misery that they are in. They don't care where it is coming from!

And the people who are suffering, do not really care where the aid is coming from. They can not be bothered to think about the politics and the Impacts of this situation on the years to come. They simply want an end to what they have been going through. They simply want food and clean water, and they are not the one that would be checking the labels of where the food is coming from.

But if any one of us had been able to recall what we had already witnessed in the valleys of Swat, we would have been on our toes. We would have known that it is moments like these that are used for public sympathy and for your own propaganda and promotion. And the Jamaat ud Dawa knows that this is once more an opportunity for them. Continue reading