When the Haiti earthquake occurred, the response in our country was immediate and overwhelming, and with good reason, as so many people lost their lives. The needs continue to be great and help should continue to flow.
The response to the Pakistani flooding, though, in both dollars and attention, seems to be muted in comparison. Perhaps this is so because not as many folk immediately lost their lives, though 1600 have done so already. Perhaps it is because the flooding, which covers an area the size of England and has displaced 20 million people, is on the other side of the world. Perhaps it is because some may view the people in Pakistan, particularly this region of Pakistan, as their enemies.
By way of laying my cards on the table, I am both half-Pakistani and a Christian, one who seeks (falteringly at best) to both care for the poor and dispossessed and to love my enemies. So, I have good reasons to help Pakistanis, people with whom I share blood kinship and whom God commands me to love.
Furthermore, I am an American, a member of a country that is hated by many in Pakistan, and this grieves me a great deal. Without sorting out blame from a very complex history, wouldn’t it be wonderful to see more U.S. military war planes delivering food and supplies with a message “From the people of the United States” emblazoned on the sides of boxes and bags, delivered by the hands of men and women from our country. See Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s plea here.
If you are motivated to help, please text one of the numbers either above or below, or check out the guide I have created for my work which provides more information and opportunities to give.
To explain a little more about the phrase “loving your enemies,” clearly many people in Pakistan and America do not regard each other as such, but many in both countries do. Pakistani rocker, Salman Ahmad, who tries to fight extremism through music, describes the problem in a BBC article this way:
Speaking from New York, he told BBC World Service that he realised that people in the West were hesitant about helping, asking why they should care for a country associated with extremism.
“[But] there are 100 million-plus young people under the age of 25 who can go two possible ways into the future,” he said.
“They can follow their dreams or they can give in to the extremists and the Taliban who want them to go blow themselves up.
“If they feel that the world cares for them, you may change the destiny of Pakistan. Not only is it humane but it is urgent self-interest – this is a moment to win hearts and minds.”
Finally, if you are moved to help with the flooding in Pakistan, please consider either linking to this post or writing a similar post of your own. Please feel free to use any of the images from this post, which have been synthesized from images gleaned from news sites.