Monday, August 16, 2010

Flooding in Pakistan


Ramadan is particularly significant this year.  As I watch footage of the worst floods in history ravage my home country, Pakistan, I cannot help but think about divine timing.  The most important goal of fasting during Ramadan is to instill a deep empathy for those less fortunate.  And nothing will make you stop and reflect more than abstaining from food and water from sunrise to sunset.  Come 1 p.m., when my stomach is growling and I have a dull headache from missing my morning coffee, I can't help but pause and think that there are millions people who are in this situation, not by choice but by circumstance, day after day.  And that number just grew in the aftermath of the floods in Pakistan.

It saddens me deeply to know that many of those people will not even have access to one meal a day to break their fast. And I think about how fortunate I am that fasting is a choice.  That avoiding my daily Starbucks is the biggest ordeal of my day.  That throughout the day, I know that I have the luxury of eating a giant meal at night.  Many people, whether in Pakistan or elsewhere, are simply not that lucky.


As my country of birth faces one of the biggest natural disasters in history, I hope you will consider putting your political views aside and donating to the relief effort.  Because really, when you look at the pictures of children drinking dirty water, mothers holding babies above their heads to keep them safe, and people wading through chest-high water, their precious few belongings perched precariously on their head, you can't help but realize this isn't a political situation but rather, a humanitarian one.


So, hold out on the daily Starbucks run, bring your lunch this week, and skip your manicure.  Donate that money to one of the great organizations involved in the relief effort.  Remember, we could all use the good karma and the good wishes of someone we've helped.

Relief Organizations:
Red Cross
UNICEF
... and more at the US Department of State

Photographs from The Boston Globe

24 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for the post. We all should be spending more time reflecting on how fortunate we are and how we can help others, regardless of our religion or beliefs.

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  2. Very moving, Azmina. I am so very heartbroken from this and even more so that the response has been so lacking. I turned on CNN and the flood wasn't even mentioned in the hour I was watching. :(

    These people are innocent and deserve our full support and help. Only if we could do more. I am trying to ignore nasty comments I have seen in regard to the floods and hope people can overcome any bias or preconceived notions they may have.

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  3. Thanks for posting this up. May Allah bless and place His mercy upon the people, who are suffering. Its so sad. And the fact that even nations have not come to help like they should have.

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  4. Such a heartfelt post Azmina. You're definitely right, we are very fortunate to have clean running water, enough food to fill our stomachs every meal, a roof over our heads and more. I hope that people will give not only during times of crisis and disaster, but on a regular basis. Whether it be every month, every few months, or every year, a little goes a long way. Thank you for this post Azmina.

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  5. Well said and thank you for pointing it out. Your passion truly shines through :)

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  6. This not only crosses political lines but religious ones as well. Thank you for the deeply personal words. I ache for the hurt you feel for your country and share the sorrow. We will be praying for you and I will challenge our small group and my church to help in some way. Blessings, my friend.

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  7. What a eloquent and timely post. I admire your willingness to share your own personal examinations. My heart breaks for you and your home country. I will pray for healing, protection and peace for all those who have been touched by these floods.

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  8. As hard as it is to fast I am very thankful that at the end of the day I can basically eat anything I want. I realize that not everyone is as lucky.

    It is so unfortunate that these poor people are suffering yet again, and during Ramadan no less. This crisis definitely crosses all political and religious lines!

    Great post Azmina. I tweeted about it to hopefully spread the word.

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  9. Very moving post Azmina. My heart goes out to all the people in Pakistan. My heart aches for the children especially. My thoughts and prayers will always be with them. God Bless.

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  10. Thank you, Azmina, for providing the links. Everyone who can, please donate...it only takes a few minutes.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this Azmina! My heart is deeply saddened too, you should feel empathy universally! My thoughts and prayers will be with them.
    -Gina-

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  12. Thanks for bringing this to all of our awareness, Azmina. You bring up such an excellent point which is that rather than just follow along with tradition like a sheep, we should think about the implications of it and the greater meaning. I will certainly donate. I could use a few less beers this week anyway.

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  13. a bit of much needed (ironic) perspective as i take my daily jaunt through food and fitness blogs. thanks for the reality check.

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  14. I really appreciate this post. You are so, so right about the need for unequivocal support. As it is, (and anyone who has spent any amount of time in India/Pakistan, Africa, or other less developed states) will tell you that people who have basically nothing will give you (a "rich" person from North America) the shirt off their back if you so much as compliment them. People with nothing are willing to give you everything and yet people with everything are afraid to give away just a tiny fraction of it all. My heart goes out to everyone in Pakistan affected by this disaster and I think it needs to be recognized that spreading the word is as important as giving. Thank you for this post :)

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  15. Thanks Azmina, for a sobering reminder of how much we take for granted, and how much worse our lives could be, no matter how lacking we may think it is.

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  16. my heart goes out to the people of Pakistan! It is just insane. Thanks for the post.

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  17. Thank you for the information and reminding us to count our blessings and pray for others in need.

    Plan B

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  18. Hello, I just found your blog from Ameena's post. Thank you so much for reminding us all about this issue- it doesn't seem to be getting enough media at all!
    I hope that Pakistan gets more aid soon; it seemed to be slow going at first, but now I think more countries and organizations are donating.
    I will definitely spread the word.

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  19. Your heartfelt words convey the pain and suffering that the women and children of Pakistan are enduring more than any news broadcast can. It's tragic that the country is not receiving the aid that so desperately need. We give several times a year to the Red Cross and will certainly make a donation earmarked for Pakistan today.

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  20. As everyone earlier mentioned, a remarkable post! No political view can soothe the suffering and hardships a common man goes through when natural disasters like these strike.Its only right to be human! My heart goes out to the people affected and I will definitely do my part to help!

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  21. Thanks for the information. I love your writing. I always tell my writing students about the power words can have. You definitely have it!

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  22. I was telling my mom earlier today that fasting is making me more ungrateful than before :( But I need to remember that the point of fasting is that exactly. I get to feast on the deliciousness of my mom's cooking while others do not.

    I think my post tomm will be about Ramadan. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.

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  23. Hey Azmina, this is heartbreaking. I saw it the other day on the news, and I couldn't keep watching. I'll check out these charities to see what they're doing. I always feel so suspect of charities, but I'll look at them now anyway. Thanks,
    Stella

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  24. Azmina -- your post has truly touched me. It is sad to see all the horrible events that occur in our world day to day, and even sadder when it happens to the place you call home. Though I am not Muslim, I have much respect for Ramadan -- it truly is a very special time for self reflection and compassion for others.

    Thank you for bringing awareness to the situation -- it is sad how events like this are so easily overlooked and instead is replaced by news alerts on trivial things like "Lindsay Lohan just went to prison!". Good thing there's people like you to encourage others to turn things around and become conscious of the importance of helping the less fortunate.

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