Good fishing in flood waters

Published: August 12, 2010

Humans have a gift for profiting from the general misfortune of others.

Some of the things our countrymen have done in the aftermath of the flash floods, the plane crash and the ethnically motivated violence are stark examples of how far people will go to benefit from other peoples’ misery. It is ‘good fishing in troubled waters’ according to the Spanish – well, flood waters in our case – who believe that humans have a gift for profiting from the general misfortune of others.

So far, we have not proved them wrong. When flash floods forced people to leave Kot Addu, bus drivers charged them up to Rs15,000 for a ride to Multan. Petrol was being sold for more that Rs150 per litre and vendors had jacked up the price of biscuits for hungry people. And thieves and robbers relieved many fleeing residents of the few belongings that they were able to get away with.

The same sentiment was displayed by some after the Airblue plane crash who had the presence of mind to loot whatever they could from the debris. Some television channels reported that the looters got to the crash site even before the rescue operation could be initiated.

But what really irks me the most is not people stealing, looting and charging insane prices, as bad as all those things are. But rather speculative comments that try to take a plane crash and blame it on whatever is most convenient. I have even seen stories trying to push the theory that the plane crashed because it tried to land in Kahuta and that the automated defence system was what actually brought the plane down.

I feel it is convenient for people to come up with completely irrational arguments in crises rather than positively help out, or at the very least not do anything!

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2010.

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Omair Zeeshan

Corporate Account Manager by day and photographer by night. He can be found on Twitter @OmairZeeshan

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.