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Author Topic: Some thoughts about Pakistan, the earthquake and lack of donations  (Read 12000 times)


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I posted this today in a discussion on Summitpost about why the western world donates a lot less to Pakistan victims than to Tsunami victims. Reasons posted were 'dasaster tiredness'but also some one posted 'Let them rot' as a reaction to Muslim extremism.

Maybe some food for thought, here was my reaction.

How many of the "let them rot's" have actually been there?

Yesterday we had a national telethon on Dutch Tv and raised 21 million Euro so far. Maybe more importantly than raising aid was the spreading of knowledge.

When I told my friends and family last year that I was goin to climb in Pakistan, they all switched from "stop climbing, it will kill you"mode to "Pakistan? Are you crazy?They hate westerners/everybody etc".

Of course, stubborn as I am, this made it more important for me to see the place and its people myself as I never take the hate-media for granted.
Yes, the women in our group were mostly ignored (though not assaulted or abused in any way) and that alone makes it not a perfect place to be. Many people speak english, all were friendly to me and my friends and helpful wherever they could.
I even saw stickers with 'we love america' on cars in Islamabad and in the highlands.

I asked one of the educated local people why Osama Bin Laden was able to hide in the lowlands. He mentioned that it was a cultural thing:
"One of the main cultural and religious assets of the Northern Tribes is hospitality. You will never be refused shelter. If I kill your father today and ask for shelter the day after, you will let me in.
Most people do not care about OBL and many do not agree as his actions go against all that Islam stands for. But the moment he knocks on a door, he will be sheltered and guarded with the lives of the hosts"

I am not religious myself and any extremism scares me whether it being NeoCon christianity or middle east Islam. But every religion has its merits, one of the islam being one of their 5 pillars: giving aid to others on a daily basis. You will see poor people sharing food and money with even poorer people.

The first people I met once coming down from the mountains were 2 goat herders, with obviously owning nothing more than a bunch of old goats.
I greeted the "Salam Aleikum" ("May peace be upon you", one of the greatest greetings in my view). They noticed me and my girlfriend, gestured us to come sit next to them and have a cup of milk tea they were boiling on a little wood fire in an old pot. They could not speak English and my vocabulary was already exhausted after the greeting. But we spend some time, each talking in our own tongues while the 2 herders insisted we take half of the only piece of bread they had.
They would not accept a no and so we shared bread with people from a different country, continent, religion, with us making likely more than 50-100 times as much money even if with an average income.

This is why I donated money yesterday. Pakistan needs about the same amount of money the US government has spent on aiding Osama Bin laden years ago. That backfired enormously and the money could have been spent a lot better on aiding honest and friendly people who have no place to sleep while winter is coming.

Do not take the media for granted and follow your heart. If you are religious, think about the core values you are taught and do the right thing. There is no such ting as a winnable war on terror.  But there is such a thing as helping your fellow humans and removing all grounds for hate for westerners.

May peace be upon you,
"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
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