Overlooked #5 The Arduous Test of Life

So a few weeks ago my sister told me about how she came across this piece about a family really struggling mentally and financially. I decided to investigate further and discovered the situation was a very grave one indeed and the family was in dire need of assistance.

We decided the best way to get a gauge of the seriousness was to go and meet the family first hand. Once we reached there, we started talking to their eldest daughter, trying get a feel of the household and it’s struggles. The family consisted of an elderly couple and their two daughters. The father, a 79-year-old man who used to drive taxis, had suffered from a paralytic stroke a few years back, and the family had struggled to make ends meet ever since. Even prior to the paralytic stroke, he had had a series of medical complications throughout his later years, including a heart attack, but they had been improved considerably when he was operated on by a local hospital (The operation paid for by the generosity of Sharjah TV).

Relief for the poor souls?

After the operation, the family experienced their first pleasant period in quite a while. However, this was not to be. The father was involved in a car accident which, unfortunately, undid a lot of the progress made through the operation. From that day to this day, the man has been in a brain-damaged state, barely talks, and is in a semi-paralytic state.

Eldest Daughter elaborates:

“Throughout the years after the accident, we really felt like all our work and headway had been for nothing and felt broken and shattered. To make matters worse, our father’s visa expired and every year we incur fines for living here illegally; The total penalty accumulated so far is AED 65 000 and we have no idea how we will even begin to pay back such a colossal amount. My sister and I work, but forget about paying the debt, we barely make enough to get by. I’ve only studied until the 8th grade and so I babysit the neighbor’s kids. After all, who would hire a girl with no educational background? My younger sister does a pick-and-drop of girl(s) from a college, and my mother sporadically sews clothes, but that is about it for the income our family generates.”

Options back home?

“We can’t leave this country and go back to Pakistan, as our house over there was destroyed in an earthquake. As of right now, the land and most of the nearby places are not inhabited by people due to the damage, leaving most of the land virtually worthless. I hate to to say it but we are indeed in dire need of assistance.”

Our proposal

As my brother understood the situation, he had a pretty clear idea of what needed to be done. He knew a few people who wanted to pay their Zakat (Charity) and would be able to get aid if we presented a suitable case to them. As we stood up to take our leave, My brother and I tried talking to the 79 year old man. He couldn’t say much, was sitting on a wheel chair, and could barely move, but when I suggested that he would get better once he took his medicine, he just calmly looked up towards the sky, pointing towards God. I know it might seem bizarre, but despite his situation, he seemed quite content and an aura of serenity seemed to surround him, as if to suggest he had made peace with God and this world.

PS. We are trying to ensure that the money is used for the appropriate purpose and so will try to make sure the money is given directly to the debtors of the family, so as to ensure the money is not used for any other purpose. If anybody is interested in knowing more about the family, my email is: walock1996@gmail.com

The Fallen – Lest we Forget

7th January 2014

Hangu District, Pakistan

A 17 year old had just been reprimanded for tardiness and denied entry to class. As Aitzaz Hasan waited outside his school with a couple of other tardy kids, he saw a strange man approaching them. The man asked, in an unfamiliar dialect, about the location of the local school.

There are different accounts about what happened next.

Some say Aitzaz approached the stranger cautiously, and upon seeing a detonator in his heavyset jacket, quickly alerted his peers to run and inform authorities. Others say the man got spooked and tried to make a run for the school before Aitzaz even got to him

But all accounts agree on what happened next.

Aitzaz ran after the Suicide Bomber, fearlessly taking him down. The struggle resulted in an explosion engulfing both of them, and Aitzaz sacrificed his own life in the process.

He selflessly traded his own life for the lives of thousands. Not a single innocent soul harmed except his own.

Later on,  during an interview, his father emotionally says,

“My son made his mother cry but saved thousands of mothers from crying for their children.”

Truer words have never been spoken. Not only did he save thousands of lives directly, he saved the thousands of family members who would have been mentally obliterated had their child or sibling died that day.

The epitome of a real life hero: Aitzaz Hasan

He deservedly received the “Sitara-e-Shujaat” (Star of Bravery), the highest honor a civilian can receive. As the Chief of the Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif said, “ He is a national hero, who has sacrificed his today for our tomorrow.”

He ignited a bright fire within the nation, a flame that said the country would not back down against these extremists who seem hell bent on targeting and killing more Muslims than any other group

The reason I write this is to remind us all about the past and how we cannot allow it to be forgotten. After all, if the past is forgotten, it inevitably ends up repeating itself. We self-centered people are not deserving of a gallant soul like Aitzaz. But we can correct ourselves. We need to ensure that Pakistan does not need another Aitzaz to extinguish would-be disasters. We need to learn, and learn quickly for time is a great teacher but it will eventually kill all its students.

aitzaz

“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life.”

No safe passage for Hungary Refugees

Picture This:

You sell your house, your car, and All Your possessions. You get on a tiny little boat, Risk your life while traversing the unforgiving sea, and cross into Europe, all for a better life for you and your kids. You’re making good progress, thinking you’re journey to a safe haven is finally making decent progress, and when you’re almost at the penultimate stop (Hungary) the Border Patrol says “Sorry, nope”.

Okay they didn’t exactly say that but you get the picture.

A lot of the refugees have no choice but to take this treatment on the chin, as armed men, water cannons and tear gas separate them and their destination. Thus, the actions of some of the younger refugees are quite understandable, as they resort to throwing stones and bits and pieces. Being told to go back* would have built up some dissatisfaction to say the least.

Brand them as Criminals?

The Hungarian PM, Viktor Orban, had the audacity to call these Refugees “Criminals”. However, in a different setting (Say, a football derby), it could very well be easily be classified as teenage hormones and that would be the last of that.

I mean if you’re going to put up inhuman and cold-blooded measures to protect the supposed “sanctity” of your nation, the very least you could do is be straight forward to the press.

The Hungarian PM

Mr. Orban, who has always favored communism and stood firmly against liberalism, has been denounced by fellow EU leaders before this and been compared with Bashar Al Assad, which is an insult to say the least.

His stance on the refugee crisis with this strict migrant policy against a Muslim majority refugee populous, has helped him regain a favorable reputation with his voters.

Somebody please explain to Mister Orban that IOM (International Organization for Migration) laws are clearly being violated. But I wonder who can, or rather will, school him?

Side Note:

A few days ago, Al Aqsa (A holy site for Muslims) was entrenched in bullets and violence. It seems like anarchy and chaos are around every corner. One must ponder, what is happening to this world?

*Back to Serbia in most cases, as this is the route most of them have traveled through.

You in whose army?

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the poor Syrian refugee boy who washed up on the shores of Turkey. Reportedly, He was one of at least twelve Syrians who drowned on Wednesday. Incidents like these are now becoming commonplace. Just a few days ago, on the 26th of August, more than 50 bodies were found inside the hull of a ship about 50 kilometers off the coast of Libya. People are willing to risk everything as they try to reach safe havens in the form of Europe and the West. However, even if they reach there, travelling perilously through the stormy weather and unforgiving sea, they are not generally welcomed simply because their passport (If they hold one) is of a different shade on the color spectrum.

In fact, the very family of the boy (who washed up ashore) had their refugee claim rejected by the Canadian government, like many others I’m sure.

Most of the prominent authorities have condemned such treatment of refugees. But, judging from what they’re doing about it, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most of them don’t lose sleep over the issue. Their job is to prevent injustice WITHIN their own countries borders, so why should they care for foreigners & outsiders? These countries and governments have their own agenda to tend to and it seldom involves helping out immigrants. We try to convince ourselves that our countries would lend a strong hand and help up the victims. But the fact of the matter is that all they do is condemn “this” and criticize “that”.

Remember the big uproar by everyone when Gaza was bombed? Remind me again what happened to those war criminals guilty of those atrocious crimes. About 2 million still live miserably in Gaza and approximately 75% of the families still do not have enough to eat.

People need to understand that just because it isn’t happening here, does NOT mean it’s not happening.

Before I end, I’d like to say that Germany is one of the few countries I can wholeheartedly commend. With 100 refugees coming in every hour, they are doing what they can to accommodate those in dire need. Their interior minister recently announced that he expected more than 700,000 people to seek asylum in Germany this year. And towards the end of August, Angela Merkel’s cabinet raised the federal support for local communities to €1 billion. Merkel is keeping the far-right activists under control as well, a feat in itself.

This endeavor of hers should be set as a role model for the other “leaders” around her, who have conveniently abdicated their responsibility. Bayern Munich, the dominating Bundesliga club of Gemany, have donated $1.11m to refugees. Even the German National team supported their governments policies and stood up against xenophobia & called for integration.

Even though this has little to do with football, I am overjoyed knowing that it was compassionate and sympathetic people like them who won the World Cup.

Overlooked #2 – The wife of Steel & Silver

I conveniently left out a key facet of the gentleman in my last piece.
His wife.

The reason for this is that a couple of decades ago, in the early years of his married life, his wife & children met with an unfortunate Hit & Run.
The story was so compellingly sentimental that a separate piece had to be made, no question.

The following is his account (Though, Not in his exact words).

My kids were very small, and the third one had not yet come into this world. It was a public holiday and we decided to take the kids for a day out for the day. My friend and I had recently exchanged cars since he wanted to run an errand over the weekend which required a bigger car, so he gave me his car which had a full fuel tank and, since man has greed instilled in him, I decided to go to a place farther than usual to capitalize on the complimentary petrol. However, Half way through the return journey the car broke down. I pulled over to the side, deciding we would take a taxi or Rickshaw back home since it was getting pretty late and I walked to the nearest man-made structure (A Rest Stop), about a mile away, to see if I could hail one. The effort was in vain but as I returned, I saw a group of people huddled around what looked like bodies. 

I could hear people muttering about a hit & run, and as I investigated closer, I was shocked to see the bodies of my very own kids, lying there unconsciously. I quickly gathered the kids, who seemed all bruised up, and started looking around for my wife. It was near midnight and light was limited, but I saw a body sprawled across a little further down the road on what looked like a broken pedestrian guard rail. As I came closer to the broken rail, which was pointing upward in a spear-like manner, I started fearing the worst. As the light from cars passing by flashed across her body, I almost blacked out. It was her.

The railing had impaled her left side completely. The spear-like shape protruded from her shoulder and a deep pool of crimson had settled itself under her, constantly expanding. Fortunately, a man quickly ushered us to his car and took us to the nearest hospital, though he presumed her to be dead.

She was in a very critical condition but she scraped by that night. I had to sell my car overnight for half its value to pay the medical bills. They kept her in the hospital for six months, and to finance it, I had to sell the little house we lived in as well. I was left with nothing but my kids, who had thankfully only sustained minor injuries, and Hope.

Gradually, she started to recover. The doctors replaced her shoulder with a prosthetic metal one. Her left leg underwent surgery as well and is now mostly made of silver.

Fast forward now to this day, She is able to walk around now, though she has to avoid being excessively strenuous. I do not think I could have had a more patient & optimistic wife than her. While others might have cursed their circumstances of having two of their limbs replaced, she prays every day and is grateful to God for a second chance at life. She also helped give our children a very disciplined and well-trained upbringing, even with her medical condition.

What I’m coming at is that the right woman can make all the difference in the world, no matter the circumstance. If I lived a second life, I would marry the same woman all over again.

Why the Political to Peace approach is BS

You lot must be getting bored by constant yapping about Nuclear warheads and what it did AND what it can do AND why we’ll all better off with it eradicated. Fear not, This will be my final piece on the subject and I’ll try to keep it succinct.

But a Nuclear War wouldn’t really happen man. Our country wouldn’t propagate one and other countries have no reason to target us. Besides, Other countries and the UN would intervene, blah blah blah” – Average Joe

All these assumptions people live under can be proven otherwise in one word. Palestine.
Although the bombs weren’t made of Plutonium or Uranium, Palestine was still hit with bombs leaving a deep emotional and mental scar on those innocent souls. The Palestinians probably thought that they were safe, living under the false pretense that the World would not allow such injustice. That they would intervene. Surely the UN would stand up for their most basic right of human safety? If not, at least their fellow Arabian countries, with whom they share a common bond of Religion, language and customs?

But not a single body answered their call for aid. All the Palestinians heard was a dead line on the other end.

Fear not though, since it was “condemned” by the majority of the world. That should make up for the 2000+ Palestinians killed (500 of them just little children). Shouldn’t it? YOU be the judge

Statistically speaking, what happened to Palestine probably wouldn’t happen to us since the majority of the readers/writers here live in Developed countries with proper defense systems in place. Lets take the example of my country, Pakistan, and India. The situation is not dissimilar to that of Russia and the US. Both have most of their Nuclear Warheads pointed at each other. However, neither lifts a finger since each is deterred by the certainty of the other’s response and the inevitable destruction it would cause. Besides, neither developing economy can endure the repercussions of a war.

On the other hand, lets not forget most of us have have a very limited role in what our government does. We might be able to elect the person we think is “Right for the Job” (ie if we live in a democracy) but we have no control over his/her actions. One wrong move at the wrong time by a higher up and millions could end up paying for it with their lives, especially if it triggers a war. And lets not even ponder the possibility of a country involved in a war having access to Atomic Power.

I wandered off topic a bit but my point is that this is a very serious issue taken lightly by most of us. And the current approach in trying to secure world peace while simultaneously trying to juggle Nuclear missiles is never going to work. Do these politicians deliberately patronize us by thinking that we are so naive?