Where do we stand?

Published: August 5, 2010

Maybe if we could generate the same sort of spirit that drove people in 2005 we could avert a bigger disaster. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Express Tribune website recently ran an online poll asking visitors if they had made an effort to help flood victims in the current crisis. The results were a clear indication of the state of apathy our society seems to be sinking into: 92 per cent responded with a “No”, while only eight per cent said “Yes”.

For most of us, our lives revolve around the little worlds we have created for ourselves. So it’s always my family, my friends, my career, my home and my job that occupy our time and attention. Seldom are we able to step out of our little worlds and give a thought to the problems of those around us. After all, with so much going on we hardly have the time, right?

We need to pause our fast-paced lives just for a moment and ask ourselves: didn’t most of us take up the careers we have and the jobs we do to make a positive contribution to society, each in our own capacities? But then, what happened along the way? When did we lose that vision and get caught up in the rat race we call life? Are we really so busy that we cannot spare a moment for our fellow citizens who need our help in difficult times? We can help them in many ways: by volunteering our effort and time, by contributing in cash, and yes, also with a small prayer.

The death toll from the floods across the country has crossed 1,500 with over three million affected. The number of people affected is nearly as much as those devastated by the 2005 earthquake which saw an extraordinary outpouring of national sentiment and aid. Now is the time to act. Maybe if we could generate the same sort of spirit that drove people in 2005 we could avert a bigger disaster. There are many ways to help. But the question is: Where do we stand?

You can donate Rs10 to help affectees by texting ‘D’ to 2471. To learn more about how to help visit D for Donate.  

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2010.


Naureen Aqueel

A Karachi based journalist working as subeditor on the web desk of The Express Tribune

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

  • Ferya Ilyas

    :'( a guy on PTV said that in his whole life he haven’t seen such empty Imdadi Camps! Recommend

  • Jameel ur Rasheed

    Well in my opinion that reflects the failure of state and Government of time. I haven’t contributed to flood victims any thing yet but i do want to contribute. The question is how? Imdaadi camps now seen at Islamabad and Rawalpindi caption thereselves to be affiliated with some NGOs and some other organisations we haven’t even heard about.
    An other point here is there are only 8 million internet users in Pakistan and how many do you (yes you “tribune”) think read your newspaper online and would have participated in your vote???
    So you better not mention in the essay above that only 8 percent of the people have helped the flood victims.

    A better approach is that you should inform via your platform what organisations and institutions are genuine and donations to any such bodies shall surely reach the flood victims.

    Peace. and God bless usRecommend

  • Naureen

    @Jameel I agree that the poll may not be representative of the entire population. My point is only that among the people who did respond only 8% had actually done something. The post is not meant to blame and point fingers, it is meant to motivate us all to do more (myself included).A list of organisations where you can contribute is included within another story linked to this post. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?id=737727603&pid=4778630#!/adnan.hashmi1985 Adnan Ahmed Hashmi

    Well i totally agreed with Jameel and Naureen. We need to motivate and educate the masses in our own capacity,the best media that can be used is the SMS or Facebook status…Lets all join hands in hands to help everyone..!! Good thought provoking article..!!!Recommend

  • Sarah B.Haider

    People have become so self-centered that we cannot think of anyone else’s suffering other than our own. I remember working as a volunteer to help the October 8th’05 earthquake victims at PAF Museum Karachi, and while packing the stuff for them, which people had sent, I was astonished and yet extremely sad to see that a lot of people had merely discarded their old stuff in the name of ‘aid’. I saw dirty, totally torn clothes, used dirty socks, dirty blankets full of dust,blood stained clothes and what not? And I remember, at that time the media had greatly praised the nation for becoming ‘one’ in times of crisis and coming forward to help their ‘brothers’! Just wonder if one can send torn and dirty clothes to one’s blood brother in times of crisis?Recommend

  • maha

    Well i disagree to that fact that people are backing out and not helping! people are out there and willing to help these flood victims infact majority of the help that by far has been provided to the flood victims is by ordinary people you and me.
    The youth by far has been playing a very vital role in donations and volunteering the facebook pages made for donations are flooded with post of people willing to help, universities, school,colleges setting up camps for donations, willing to volunteer to even go to the affected areas. there is no way you can blame the people if you want to blame someone blame the high authorities cause they have not created a body to provide these services to the flooded victims. There are no proper channels or bodies for things to be carried out in a proper manageable way. At this point I totally agree with Jameel, the part where he mentioned about NGOs and the part where he has mentioned about the number of people readin tribune.Recommend

  • http://w Usamah

    Thats not the case as reflected by the poll. there is a lot Pakistanis are doing and they are very concerned to current scenario. I have solid proofs for that but its not the time for it. There are more important things to think about.
    I request you people to spread awareness in a more positive way and encourage people to come forward and provide help rather than running such kind of polls.Recommend

  • fix-a

    thanks naureen for raising SUCH an important and urgent issue! It is extremely upsetting to hear that there is not a similar outpouring of support as we saw in 2005. I wonder if it is evidence that we as a nation have, finally, become numbed and ‘bored’ enough that nothing shocks us into action anymore. Does it have to do something with the fact that the disaster-struck people hail from the northwest, a region whose troubles we have chosen to ignore lest ‘we’ come under attack. Is it that we as a nation, as an expansive imagined community, are becoming defragmented. Is it that ‘we’ are not ‘one’ anymore?

    It is important also to remember firstly that all was not well even during 2005. Though our memory is great at preserving the best parts of an event and maybe even rose-tinting them, we should remember that the episodes of people selling the donated clothes and blankets etc. in the streets of Karachi. (Which is not to belittle the exhilarating, almost spontaneous, camaraderie of that October) Secondly, we should keep in mind the backgrounds of the people who we expect to visit the Express Tribune site. It is not fair to paint everyone, regardless of their class and social background, as one. A few years ago there was a study in the US which found out that those who are the poorest give the most in charity.Recommend