Are floods a reality check?

Published: August 30, 2010

Flood victims are not a seperate nation. We will be impacted by the floods as well.

The eeriest moment is when someone tells you that the catastrophic flood is in fact a punishment sent for you. An article in the BBC discussed how a lot of people are debating just that question, that like the people of Saba who are mentioned in the Quran, a debilitating flood has been sent down to punish Pakistani people for their sins.

Putting aside such religious debates, the best we can do is realise that maybe this flood could be a much-needed reality check for us and could maybe help us to throw away the ‘them and us’ approach. Them, who are affected, us, who are not. It is high time we move away from such comforting dichotomies.

Them: They are suffering. But actually we are suffering because millions of livestock which make up half the agricultural output of the country is literally drowned and millions of acres of farmland came under water.

Them: They were the sinners. The fact that the spending of our elite has doubled as tax revenues have shrunk tells a different picture. According to the New York Times, while Pakistan’s income from taxes last year was the lowest in the country’s history, the assets of the current members of Parliament nearly doubled compared to the members of the previous Parliament.

Us:  Luck has sided with us, those not hit by the floods. But tragedies are occurring all over the country. We need to look at the two brothers brutally murdered in Sialkot, at the hundreds targeted in Karachi.

At the end of the day, given the frequency at which news of how low we can fall seems to pop up daily, whether through the media or even Facebook, it is time to extend a helping hand and realise our responsibilities. Because though this difficult period may hopefully end soon its effects will last much longer.


Khadija Husain

A graduate from the Lahore University of Management Sciences

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

  • rehan

    US:We all extend hands till a limit..till the time the drowning one starts tugging on it.,then we retreat it.All charities which we give are the ‘extras’ we have..and WE have a LOT!How many of US have stopped using air conditioners since late July when the horror started unleashing?How many of us have resorted to having only dates n water for Iftaar?How many of US have decided to wear our old(which are otherwise hanging startched in the closet)clothes this Eid?How many have taken a vow not to eat out for the next 3months?How many of us have thought of selling our Corollas and settling with a Mehran?The money which we will accumulate from the above will I think help sustain a poor family for one year.But no.We can only write,write and write(I included!).The poor don’t need our ideas..they need ACTION. Recommend

  • Sayyed Jehanzeb Bukhari

    I am little disagree with your thoughts Khadija, I think it may could be a check for us and for them but its not for throwing them or us, Throwing will be done by almighty if we still not understood the signs. In my view it is a reality check to give us the last chance to regroup, and re shape if we want to continue.

  • Nasira Parveen

    Khadija, It’s not very fair you pointed out. We should help they affected people. They need help.Recommend

  • Ghulam Rehman

    If the flood has been sent down to punish Pakistani people for their sins than question arise here are: why only the poor ones became victim of this disaster? Are our elites free from sin? Recommend

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  • Ismail
  • Safdar Husain

    Excellent article. This “us” and “them” divide is unfortunately as real as it is deplorable.

    We are all responsible and a day will come when every single person will be asked what we did at this hour of need.Recommend