Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Photos which unite us

While the boats brought to the new lake have been a great help for the stranded people, concerns for safety of the passengers remains a major issue. Photo taken on May 2nd, 2010. (Zulfiqar Ali Khan/Pamir Times / CC BY-NC-ND)

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This is such an unusual and heart-wrenching set of photos in so many ways -- not least is that they immediately show how many connections we have with each other on opposite sides of the world: natural beauty, loss, heroism, community, caring, fragility of human kind along with unbelievable strength.

Landslide lake in Pakistan
Five months ago, on January 4th, 2010 in the remote Hunza River Valley of northern Pakistan, a massive landslide buried the village of Attabad, destroying 26 homes, killing 20 people, and damming up the Hunza River. As the newly-formed lake grew, authorities rushed to evacuate and supply those affected in the landslide area and upstream. The lake is now over 300 feet deep and 16km (10 mi) long, submerging miles of highway, farms and homes. Earlier this week, the lake reached the top of the natural dam, and began to spill out - rapid erosion of the landslide debris has authorities worried about a potential breach, and locals have been evacuated as officials monitor the developing situation. Special thanks to the Pamir Times for sharing their photos and coverage of this event. (38 photos total)

The comments add to the marvel and concerns raised by the photos and descriptions. Here's one of the over 100 comments which cover many aspects of this event:

Nature vs Man - it continues!
I live in the Punjab Province (the plain lands of Pakistan) and have to admit, there's no other word for it, that these pictures are mesmerizing. I've never physically been to the mountainous terrain of the country but surely this is another tragedy to the already war-torn country. My heart goes to the people who are suffering.

As for all the Western and other non-Pakistani readers/viewers, there's much much more to Pakistan than what probably is depicted in the media at your place. The denizens of this country are normal people like those of any other. True that a war has currently been raged against certain extremist elements, but the fact remains that these constitute only about 0.01% of the population of this country. What precisely my point is that people in other parts of the world should not categorize us and stick to a stereotypical image of a Pakistani. People here strive to live a normal happy life and wish to see their children grow and families prosper.

Similarly, Paki people are competing with the world in avenues like academics, sports etc. Students from this country get admitted, on a regular basis, into leading academic institutions of the modern era like Harvard, MIT and Oxford to name a few. Whereas teams of selected students are sent to participate in the International Science Olympiads annually and have been bringing laurels for the country.

Talk about sports, Pakistan has some of the most competent sports-persons in Cricket, Hockey, Snooker, Squash etc.

So we basically are very much there with the rest of the world, just that the media doesn't focuses on the right areas (or maybe it doesn't want to) ... the basis of a general ignorance of the state of affairs in Pakistan amongst people in other parts of the world.

Posted by M. Yasar Qamar June 7, 2010 07:42 AM


May the compassion of many and tenacious resourcefulness help heal, guide and bless this beautiful land and people. May our worldwide calculations and strategies include our absolute dependency upon that which sustains both us and nature.

1 comment:

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

Extremely welcome post but I always feel a bit disturbed when someone from Pakistan writes so eloquently about Pakistan but with apologetic undertones.
However Connie I liked the change in layout color scheme of your blog. Looks younger, fresher and energetic.