Monday, August 30, 2010

Update: PAKISTAN Floods: BRAVO to Young Pakistanis & Many Many Others!

Historic City Saved from Floods - new article By SHAKIL ADIL - UPDATE end of post...
Yet in places "Hope is Alive" and there are "Bright Spots Amid the Gray" evident in various RECENT experiences 'from the ground' in Pakistan...



Last two photos are from the blog "Unity in Universe" and the recent post "Hope is Alive". Here are excerpts:

For the last month, I was worried about the flood conditions in the whole country but I wondered if I could do anything for the affected people.

Ramzan ul Mubarak has got a special quality that it brings accomplishment of our wishes sometimes even if we don't pray for that. I think that is the reason for which I got an opportunity to do something for the affected people.

...During the very short period of just three to four days, we managed to collect funds, buying stuff and to arrange other necessities for the journey...Everybody worked hard and showed great interest for collecting funds and performing different tasks which were set for the plan.

I was very amazed to see the potential of people whom I started working with; they were all so courageous and passionate for the purpose. Most of them were very young guys and I was pleased to see their eagerness and being a part of such a team. Those who were a bit senior, being very supportive and helping with their experience in every matter made it easy for youngsters to collaborate and manage things in a better way.

On Friday, 20th August, there were eleven people (including medical persons) who were departing for the interior of Sind...We almost spent three days out of Karachi...almost eight hours in traveling when reached Sukkur. Having Iftar and Maghrib prayer at Sukkur, we moved towards Mirpur Mathelo and arrived there at ten in the evening and stayed at FFC guest house. After dinner and Isha prayer, we planned for the next day tasks and went to sleep.

Saturday: We left Mathelo at 5 o'clock in the morning just after Fajr and reached Kandh Kot at about 10 o'clock. There we held our medical camp in a small village at two different places few kilometers away each other (and)distributed some food items ...After Zauhar prayer we moved towards Kashmor and...distributed...on the way. We reached Guddu barrage at the time of Iftar and moved towards Mirpur Mathelo back right after Iftar. It was a hectic day as weather was so hot and humid and everybody was Fasting, so the day was proved to be an examination for our patience and courage...

Sunday: ...we moved towards Sukkur at 8 o'clock and reached there exactly at 11 o'clock in the morning. After having a survey about the camps that were found in Sukkur, we selected a camp and held a medical camp for almost three to four hours continuously...we had purchased a food package from Sukkur in a bulk containing (Water cooler with 1 kg flour, 1 kg rice, 1/2 kg lentil, 1/2 kg oil, packets of salt, dates and tea) and had distributed these in different camps on our way. We had our memorable Iftar that evening with a Khan sahib (Attaullah) who was open-hearted man that despite of our refusal, manged to agree us for Iftar with him. After another long, tiring day, we rested at his home to refresh ourselves and left for Karachi...

...(enjoyed) flavorsome ice cream of Matyari and Sehri at an open air hotel on the way from Hyderabad to Karachi, we reached Karachi at 6 o'clock on Monday morning.

Everybody was fatigued but pleased due to the successful accomplishment of our target - I reached home at 6:45 a.m...I think what I had done, gave me strength (to report at 8:30 am)...otherwise I was not able to manage it.

...for the first time I understood the real meaning of fasting and other obligatory rituals that we perform. The real, courage and inner satisfaction that is superior to every other joy, the feeling of sacrifice of desires and personal aspirations for the sake of others...

...great working experience with some selfless persons, who sacrificed their money, time and potential...we spent three days together just like a family...purpose and beautiful reaso...Allah Taalah helped us throughout the journey

...responsibility is now on the entire Nation, to unite and manage things in a more proper way for the relief of these victims. There are a lot of diseases that are being spread in the flood affected areas and even among the people who have migrated towards camps. The common ones are skin allergies, diarrhea and body pain. Dehydration due to the lack of clean drinking water is also very common in children, so in order to save their lives, the very first priority should be to provide them pure drinking water. It will prevent them from many diseases and the risk factor will also decrease to a great level.

I think what we can only do at the moment is to keep alive the hope. Hope, belief and struggle are the only weapons to survive in the worst conditions.

End Unity in Universe excerpts. See more photos and READ much more by this young Pakistani woman, author, student and deeply-inspiring online friend. GO here

Reuters/Adrees Latif

Also see "Bright Spots Amid the Gray" CHUP Changing UP Pakistan blog here

LIVE from Province of Sindh August 30, 2010 95% residents have already evacuated
The massive floods that have devastated large areas of Pakistan continue to inundate southern parts of the country. In other areas of the country, the water is receding. Millions of people are displaced and officials are scrambling to provide relief aid.
GO here

(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed) This picture shows humanitarian leader Abdul Sattar Edhi as he sits on the side of a road in Peshawar, Pakistan at the beginning of flooding. Edhi is a devout Muslim who majors on helping the poor which he says should be the cornerstone of all faiths. See story link below.

Sana Saleem, a Global Voices author from karachi, and a project coordinator for a the non-profit youth organisation called “Future Leaders of Pakistan” (FLP) traveled to Sindh and the Swat Valley. Sana shares her experience at Dawn Blog:

"Our day began with identifying affected areas to begin distribution. Sujawal situated in Thatta district was identified as the base camp for distribution of aid. According to the District Officers, Sujawal hosts over 27,500 internally displaced families. Living in abysmal conditions most of these people were living by the roadside on charpai and temporary tents made out of mere straw. The living conditions deteriorated as we traveled further into Sujawal. Roads had been inundated at various points and families were forced to take shelter in areas where there was no electricity. Snakes, other insects and stray dogs were rampant and the families live under a high risk of being attacked by them."

She notes: "Efforts like these prove that there is still hope for Pakistan. As people continue to fight and help each other in these tough times, one only hopes that the rest of the world will also donate generously to help the millions affected by the floods."



GO here for much more on these volunteer efforts including inspiring VIDEO and Easy ways to CONTRIBUTE TO & SUPPORT these efforts to alleviate the many suffering from the flooding here

Relief Mission #3 to Thatta: More on relief mission set up by famous dentist-blogger-photographer and organizer Dr. Awab Alwi here

Humanitarian leader Abdul Sattar Edhi of The Edhi Foundation: STORY: Aging philanthropist is Pakistan's Mother Teresa Aug 30, 2010 here
AP Photo and article Just In by SHAKIL ADIL - UPDATE: HISTORIC CITY In South Pakistan Saved From Floods ET PM Aug 30, 2010 AP/ Salon.com for this story (and description of the photo) read about thousands of people streaming back into this historic city...here and see Comment #4 below this post about people on the ground needing support...

Keep the HOPE Alive - there are COUNTLESS ways!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"More leadership needed on Park 51 conversation."

Christian Avard
Staff reporter Deerfield Valley News, Dover VT
Posted: August 29, 2010 07:50 PM

Dr Jack Shaheen: "More leadership needed on Park 51 conversation."

The national conversation on the Park 51 Islamic Community Center has taken a turn for the worst. Opponents claim it's too close to the Ground Zero and is offensive to families who lost loved ones in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Others call it a breeding ground for Al Qaida terrorist networks and have protested at the proposed site. The controversy has brought out the worst in people. Fear, ignorance, prejudice, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism have reared their ugly heads and meaningful conversation is no where to be found. Where do people turn to put the Park 51 controversy into context?

Jack Shaheen is the author of the groundbreaking work "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People," and the author of "Guilty: Hollywood's Verdict on Arabs after 9/11," the winner of the 2009 Forward Magazine social sciences book of the year. He is a professor emeritus of Mass Communication at Southern Illinois University and a winner of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's "Lifetime Achievement Award."

Shaheen has been following the recent developments on Park 51 and I caught up with him to see what he had to say.

Many in the mainstream media referring to Park 51 as the Ground Zero mosque. Why is this misleading and why is it offensive or inappropriate to characterize it as such?

Jack Shaheen: One reason is the buzzword "Ground Zero." It's not a Ground Zero mosque. Many media commentators keep repeating the lie that the mosque will be built at Ground Zero, the World Trade Center site. But the mosque/community center is not being built there. That's major. It's not a minor thing. Every journalist and copywriter that uses the term "Ground Zero" in regards to the building site of the mosque advances misinformation.

What has been the most misunderstood aspects of Park 51? What has been buried in the media or the misinformation coming from Park 51's opponents?

First of all, anti-Islam and anti-Muslim feelings in our country existed long before September 11, 2001. It's escalated after 9-11 and there are several reasons why it has escalated. One is the fact that we fail to distinguish between the 19 non-American Arab Muslim terrorists, and the seven-plus million American Muslims that had nothing to do with 9-11. Nobody talks about that and nobody talks about this not being an act of domestic terrorism. The destruction that took place in New York City, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania were not committed by American Muslims. So why are we condemning and attacking them?

This reminds me of what happened in 1942 following the attack of Pearl Harbor. More than 100,000 Japanese Americans had nothing to do with the attack. It was an act committed by another country. Yet they were condemned and incarcerated because our media systems and politicians advanced the "seen one, seen 'em all" myth. One of the similarities is that the Japanese Americans were never referred to as Americans. They were tagged "Japs." Today, American Muslims are also not referred to as Americans. Our media keep saying "Muslims." The way the term has been used over the years implies that America's Muslims are not American and so it makes it easier to attack them.

What saddens me is that the Museum of Tolerance and the Anti-Defamation League are not supporting the rights of other Americans.They and others need to get together and stand and support American Muslims. Refreshingly, there have been some prominent religious leaders who have come forth, but what I would like to see is media systems being more responsible, and for more prominent Rabbis, Christian, and Muslim leaders to get together and debunk all this hate rhetoric and misinformation.

We've not seen that. We have not seen former presidents unite in condemning this. Why aren't George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter speaking out?

Democratic Party leaders like Harry Reid and Howard Dean have not rallied behind Park 51 efforts. Instead, they suggest Park 51 be relocated. Why did Democratic leaders do this?

Some cowardly [Democrats] are remaining silent for fear of losing an election. As for Reid and Dean, what can I say? They are as opportunistic as many of their Republican colleagues. It's about as un-American as you can get. What we are experiencing with this anti-Muslim movement reminds me of the Ku Klux Klan. Only today you can't see the white cloaks and the white hats. Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Pamela Geller, Glenn Beck, and Franklin Graham and others -- instead of targeting America's blacks, they're hurting American Muslims. That analogy needs to be made.

In 2008, there were 28 million copies of one of the most racist documentaries ever made. It was called "Obsession" and it essentially vilified all things Islam. The major newspaper chains such as the New York Times inserted into their newspapers this hateful DVD, giving the impression to some readers that the newspapers supported the theme of this documentary. Would any of these newspapers have distributed a hate documentary targeting Christianity, Judaism, or any other faith? Only a few newspapers, such as the St Louis Post-Dispatch, the Detroit Free Press, the News & Record of Greensboro, NC, and The Cleveland Plain-Dealer had the courage not to distribute the DVD.

Many people who saw this film are good friends of mine. They are devout, bright and consider themselves to be humanitarians but they went out and ordered dozens of copies to give to their friends, because they did exactly what the DVD promoters wanted them to do, believed the message conveyed in the film. This DVD was probably the only contact they have ever had with Islam. My friends do not know any Muslims, they know nothing about their faith, then one day get this free DVD in the morning paper and play it, thinking "Oh my God! The Muslims are coming." Then they turn on television and listen to Rush Limbaugh or Peter King. So you can't really blame them. When it comes to John Q Public, you can't really blame many Americans because they are basing all of their feelings about Islam due to the fear that's been put out via these media messages.

It seems like there might have been instances where a meaningful discussion over the controversy. What opportunities are we missing in terms of putting Islam, racism, Islamophobia, or even xenophobia into perspective?

We have to call the people who are advancing this hate to task. People with a political agenda are saying "Islam is this and Islam is that" but how many Americans know there is a whole chapter in the Holy Koran that praises the Virgin Mary? Look at how many times she is mentioned. There are so many similarities between the three major faiths. How can anyone demonize a religion that advocates peace?

Our leaders should go out there and accentuate and show these commonalities, and then they should go after the people who are advocating this bigotry. Their silence continues to give the bigots a free pass.

There are several shining stars in this controversy; the biggest ones are New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg [regrettably, former mayor Rudy Guliani took the other path], and MSNBC journalist Keith Olbermann. If politicians and religious leaders were to follow their lead, we might see a change. But if silence and apathy continue to prevail, then racism and bigotry will continue.

How should we as citizens or activists handle or discuss the Park 51 controversy? What are the most important aspects they need address?

I always say "Why are you opposed to it?" That leads to all kinds to things because they say "Those %^$^ people." Then I ask them "Have you ever been to a mosque? Do you know any Muslims? Do you know anything about the Koran? If this were a church or synagogue, would you object to its construction?" I think what's difficult is when there's fear and misinformation and when the rhetoric and loud voices continue to prevail, it's difficult to reason with people. People have to be open to dialog and I think the problem is many people have been infected with the virus of hate and are not open to any type of dialog.

Only strong political and religious leadership as well as more responsible journalism can bring about a much needed corrective.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

@Tom Cruise & Pakistani Floods Updates/ Ways to Help 28 August Updates

Reuters

Tom Cruise challenged fans & Twitters to help out with Pakistani Flood Need - why not other Movie Stars? here


To donate to perhaps the most highly respected and known Pakistani Relief/Emergency Organization out of US Plz send your check to:

USA Edhi international Foundation
42-07 National Street
Corona, New York, 11368 USA

Tel: (718) 639-5120 Fax: (718) 335-1978

See how to contribute to Edhi worldwide at end of this post...

Of course many others are doing an amazing work round the clock. Seems the most effective besides the essential helicopters are private and nonprofit groups. Learn about some of these in this post.
Undus River


Help call on others & Celebrities we all support! Good for Jolie & others not in limelight as well. If course there are many who give without needing any attention. Those suffering don't care whether we who give are famous or not. Still, it's heart-warming to see the well-off warm to Pakistan in her great need. After all, many Pakistanis have supported these movie-stars and musicians over the years. Bjork announced that the proceeds from her new release will go to Unicef to provide relief to the flood victims in Pakistan. And surely many more musicians will follow.

Tweeting for Pakistan by By Sahar Habib Ghazi on 08 28th, 2010 | Comments (17) From her home in Brooklyn, New York, Natasha Jahangir reached out to one of the world’s most famous actors, in a rather unusual way. She tweeted: “It’s so sad @TomCruise is ignoring his Pakistani fans. -Help raise awareness/donations for Pakistan. Please RT! #pkfloods.” By using Twitter’s @ or mention function, Jahangir ensured that her message would feature in a tab on Tom Cruise’s page.

Most photos in this post are from Internet Cache, Dawn.com, organizations mentioned near photos or from BBC World/South Asia online.

REUTERS/Tim Wimborne
A man carries water back to his tent at camp for flood victims in Nowshera, in Pakistan's northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Floods in Pakistan have affected more than 18 million people. Water has destroyed buildings, roads and entire villages. People are left without homes, without food, and without livelihoods.The international community estimates that it will take billions of dollars to repair the country. Host Peggy Wehmeyer spoke with aid worker Muhammad Shafi, who works with Save the Children See More here Also a report on how "Save the Children" Opens Child-Friendly Spaces to Give Thousands of Children in Pakistan A Place to Play, Recover and Learn GO here

Evidently many if not all flooded areas of Pakistan are desperate for doctors and medical care of all sorts SEE one highly respected international organization Doctors Without Borders here

Flood survivors sit together around a mausoleum at a local graveyard after fleeing their villages, in Thatta near Hyderabad. – AP Photo

International Committe of the Red Cross Red Crescent also is on the ground - GO here


1 million displaced since mid-week: Pakistanis displaced by floods collected wheat flour from the road at a distribution point near the southern coast yesterday. Relief workers say they have reached more than 2 million people. (Asif Hasson/AFP/Getty Images) Just In By Carlotta Gall - New York Times / August 28, 2010 ...sharp increase in cases of acute diarrhea. Of 3.3 million people treated at clinics and hospitals in the flood-affected areas over the last three weeks, 13 percent — or 430,117 people — had acute diarrhea, said Paul Garwood, spokesman for the World Health Organization in Islamabad. The numbers represent an increase of 30 percent compared with the same period last year, he said. In just one 24-hour period from Sunday to Monday, 71,753 people were treated for acute diarrhea — or 16 percent of all patients treated in the flood areas. A high incidence of malaria is also being reported in the southern provinces, Garwood said.
Pakistani villagers flee their homes due to flooding in Thatta near Hyderabad, Pakistan Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010. The Taliban hinted Thursday they may launch attacks against foreigners helping Pakistan respond to the worst floods in the country's history, saying their presence was "unacceptable." The U.N. said it would not be deterred by violent threats. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan) JUST In from Ashraf Khan Associated Press Writer / August 28, 2010: THATTA, Pakistan—Floodwaters made another break Saturday in the levees protecting a southern Pakistani city, as thousands of residents fled for high ground and left the city nearly empty. Both sides of the main road were crowded with people from Thatta and nearby flooded villages fleeing the floodwaters.

Many had spent the night sleeping out in the open. Hadi Baksh Kalhoro, a Thatta disaster management official, said more than 175,000 people had left the city, leaving few behind. Some are heading for nearby towns or cities, he said, with thousands also headed for the high ground of an ancient graveyard for Muslim saints. He said the latest levee breach, which happened early Saturday, could leave the outskirts of Thatta flooded by later in the day...

"The people who come here to give us food treat us like beggars. They just throw the food. It is humiliating," said 80-year-old Karima, who uses only one name. She was living in the graveyard with more than two dozen relatives. The floods also displaced thousands of minority Hindus in southern Sindh province. About 3,000 were living at a centuries-old Hindu temple inside the sprawling graveyard. "I am also fasting and praying for the flood to recede as it has already snatched husbands from wives, sons and daughters from parents, brothers from sisters, and sisters from brothers," said Geeta Bai, 32, as she sat outside the temple...See full article at BBC World and others 28 August here It is estimated 21 million people have been affected by the floods as of Reports 28th August - A mass migration of 10 million occurred during Partition which a description by Mohammed Hanif who clarifies emphatically: "These areas are of no strategic interest to anyone because they have neither exported terrorism nor do they have the ambition to join a fight against it" Read more from earlier report here from Pakistan

Before and after: A lush Swat valley turned into water and stones.

Find Video & Various Reports at BBC World and here and here Before and after: A lush Swat valley turned into water and stones. Photo: Huma Beg Two women from Islamabad, who decided to put their personal lives on hold in order to help Pakistani flood victims, describe the areas they visited and what they did there. also see the scenes seen by Omar Ahsan and others - for Photos Click here Desperate for Doctors: Omar Ahsan, an interior designer living in Karachi, has visited 17 remote mountain villages in Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (formerly North West Frontier Province or NWFP).

"I have a comfortable life in Karachi and when this calamity hit, me and some of my friends felt we had to help some of the affected people. First we took food relief to Peshawar and some other urban areas of the NWFP.

Then I got a phone call from a driver, who used to work for me. He said he's been seeing bodies in the river where he lives, about 150km (95 miles) from Islamabad. He said there were many, many bodies, hundreds of them, and that they all came from Shangla district.

At that moment I decided I should go to that place. I came over here alone. I managed to get one truck of relief. It's a big district, hundreds of kilometres. The whole network had collapsed, the telecommunication network has come down.
When I reached the end of the roads, I had to start walking.

I spent the last four days traveling on the outskirts of Shangla district, walking in a mountainous terrain. I covered about 55km and visited 17 villages. People there are hungry and thirsty. There's no electricity, no water, no gas, no food supplies. The nearest place where food is being distributed is Karora and the queues are 3-4km long.

Thousands of people come down from the mountains and stand in the sun for a whole day in order to get a bag of flour. The queues are long, these are simple people, their patience is compromised, queues are broken and some go away with bruises and injuries.

In each village I went I was supported by the elders and I was joined by volunteers. Elders would tell me how many houses were destroyed, I would gather the data and issue them with a token to come to Karora where we had our own food supplies waiting for them.

Yesterday we set up a camp in Karora. From early morning till late afternoon we distributed food to 300 families, which is probably more than 3,000 people. It was a tough day. But work is far from over. People desperately need more food and most importantly they need lady doctors. There are hundreds of thousands of women and children without a doctor. Kids were crying of pain and mothers were begging me to bring them female doctors.

If someone is ill, they put him on a stretcher which four men carry down the mountain until they reach the nearest hospital. That could take a couple of days of walking. And there are hundreds of thousands of people stuck there without any help." See other eye witness reports here

Army said to be doing an heroic job even trumping federal government in their abilities to act efficiently.

BBC World New exodus in flood-hit Pakistan - Villagers from flooded villages sit are rescued by boat near Shahdadkot (27 August 2010) August 28: Fresh flooding in southern Pakistan has displaced almost a million people in the past 48 hours, the UN says.* Floods 'consuming' southern villages* Damage and challenges* Army boosted by floods reaction* Flood victims 'no terrorists'
Read More here

Patrick McCully who is Executive Director for International Rivers says:
There are three vital global lessons to learn from the ongoing flood catastrophe in Pakistan. First, the rise in the planetary temperature has reached a tipping point. We are now in a scary new era of extreme weather. Extremes are the new normal. And there's no going back, at least not in our lifetime, and very likely not in that of our children.

We should be doing everything we can and more to cut our greenhouse gas pollution. We can slow the rise in heat and limit the maximum temperature level (provided we avoid triggering irreversible feed-backs like a surge of methane from melting permafrost or the drying and burning of the Amazon forests). But we can't stop more warming, and we can't stop more weather disasters (which, climate denying evil wing-nuts take note, will include more snow-maggedons).

Second, we urgently need to step up efforts to protect ourselves from this new normal. We need to do all we can to stop weather disasters becoming catastrophes. This means, in the jargon of disaster management, increasing the resilience of our infrastructure, economies and communities. In Pakistan greater resilience would include better emergency warning and evacuation systems, better flood protection for key infrastructure (cities, and schools and other community buildings that can serve as flood shelters), and plans to help communities recover once the waters recede.

Third, the way we have (mis)managed the Indus -- and countless other rivers around the world -- for the past century has provided various short-term benefits, but at a major long-term cost that we are now having to pay.

Read the entire expert article with links on reducing flood risks to worldwide damage prevention here This group appears to be an outstanding organization which give immediate aid to victims as well.

Other groups doing good work in Pakistan and highly respected:

The International Rescue Committee here Pakistan Flood Crisis

The International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent here

For an earlier Timeline of the flood since it's conception, GO here

VERY Haunting/Moving Video by Peshawar Students for The Edhi Foundation and their fellow citizens here Where you will also see how to contribute from anywhere in the world.

Reuters

END

Friday, August 27, 2010

Swim the Ocean toward Him


here

Following is inspired by Rumi

The Ocean of Non-Existence...
The Beloved works there with nothing...
Exert yourself toward this pull.
Then your efforts will bring results
and you will see the wings of Divine attraction
come off the Nest and fly over
the Ocean toward you.

As the thread of dawn's black
turns into light
swim toward that
Your land light
are no longer necessary now...
Dawn is staring at you.
Sunrise is in your eyes.


The Cave of Swimmers is located in the Gilf Kebir plateau of the Sahara, in the far southwest of Egypt, and contains some fine examples of prehistoric Egyptian cave art. The walls are decorated with elegant images of people swimming.

The paintings in the Cave of Swimmers are thought discovered in 1932 by Hungarian aristocrat and explorer Count László Almásy - although Egyptians are quick to point out that local Bedouins were aware of its location already, and he was merely the first to map, explore and chart the cave, as well as publicize it to the wider world.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pakistani Farmer Helps a Thousand Families Hurt By Flood

Inner Sight Needed to see Sunrise coming while still in the night? Wanting desperately to see the changing from black to distinctive color or the 'crack of dawn'. Maybe this waiting/working/watching for light is one metaphor for vision?

I've been haunted since I heard this following interview a few days ago just before dawn. NPR.org is broadcasting a short vignette from Pakistan each morning on Early Morning Edition. There are others also full of love and gladness for each person saved from the flood.

Punjab is a mix of two words 'Punj' (meaning five) and "Aab" meaning (water) Jointly read the word means the Land of five waters (In Punjab 5 Rivers flow: Ravi, Jhelum, Chinab, Satluj, and Biyas)

"And with this foundation, this time we've decided to adopt a thousand families and provide them immediate shelter, which is in the form of tents, and then provide them with relief, go right up to the point when they are ready to move back to their homes, and also help them in building those homes. And we see this taking place for the next five to six months, because there are places where the water probably won't recede for three months." (from radio interview below)

From August 25, 2010
Listen to the Story here

US National Public Radio (NPR.org) "Morning Edition"
[5 min 14 sec]

In Pakistan, Jawaid Amin Khwaja farms 700 acres of land in Punjab province. The floods have left five feet of water standing in his sugar cane fields. Khwaja tells Renee Montagne how Pakistani citizens are responding to their national emergency. He has opened his home and wallet to the dozens of families who work his land.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And we've been keeping close tabs on the floods in Pakistan, where high waters in the mountainous northern part of the country have hurtled down to the flat plains of the south. Let's hear now from one land owner whose 700 acre farm is next to the Indus River, and so in the path of the rushing waters. We spoke to Jawaid Amin Khwaja. He grows mangoes and sugarcane on his land. I asked him what we would see now if we were able to look out over his farm.

Mr. JAWAID AMIN KHWAJA (Land Owner): Well, you would just see the top bit of the sugarcane crop, because there's at places about five feet of water. And a lot of people who are in the low-lying areas have sort of moved up to small embankments that we had around the farm to protect us from the river. Now, you see a mass of people sitting there who've come from the low-lying areas.

MONTAGNE: And is that why there has not been a huge loss of life, even with all this devastation, is that people are able to move up just a little bit to higher ground?

Mr. KHWAJA: Exactly. In Punjab it's basically just all flat land. So when there is flooding, the water sort of moves in gradually. It's not like a torrent. And so people had a lot of time. We had at least a day's notice that there would be massive flooding in our area.

MONTAGNE: You know, I gather that your family has a small charitable foundation - what, that your grandfather started?

Mr. KHWAJA: Yeah. My grandfather set up this charitable foundation. And on a regular basis, we're running from schools in the village and around there, and also, a health center. And with this foundation, this time we've decided to adopt a thousand families and provide them immediate shelter, which is in the form of tents, and then provide them with relief, go right up to the point when they are ready to move back to their homes, and also help them in building those homes. And we see this taking place for the next five to six months, because there are places where the water probably won't recede for three months.

MONTAGNE: It sounds like there was a certain buildup of a response.

Mr. KHWAJA: I think you're right. Initially, when the flooding came, people didn't really understand the scale of the disaster because it was in such a vast area. I mean, it basically covers the length of the country, from our border to China, to right up to the Indian Ocean. People, I think, were just overwhelmed and took, you know, like almost a week for people to realize how to organize themselves.

You know, like our little organization, the initial response was to, you know, just buy a lot of food stuff and relief goods and try to ship them there. And then after a week, we realized that, you know, you have to do these things in a much more organized and planned way. And so we had to decide how many people can we meaningfully help, and we decided that 1,000 families would be a number that we think we can reasonably look after, and that means, you know, providing them with food, help, hygiene. We have organized these mobile hospitals, almost.

These are big vans where you can inspect the patient. You can even do minor surgery in there. There's clean, sort of, surgical areas inside the van, because you've got lots of skin rashes, skin problems because of the stagnant water, and also some waterborne disease like diarrhea and maybe even the beginning of malaria.

MONTAGNE: Is there a tradition of this sort of helping, reaching out at the nongovernmental level?

Mr. KHWAJA: Oh, most definitely. I remember when I was a young kid, we had this earthquake in 1970. I remember our whole house was - oh, well, there were seamstresses doing, you know, quilts and comforters, and there were all sorts of activity going on. It wasn't just in our house. I remember a lot of my friends, similar things were happening in their house. And it's almost spontaneous, you know. People just collected materials and donated it to the government, and they helped distribute them.

And now, I think because of all sorts of issues, a lot of people basically feel more comfortable donating to private organizations because they're, if nothing, they're far more efficient, you know, and less corrupt, obviously.

MONTAGNE: You know, looking out at, again, at your own crops that are underwater...

Mr. KHWAJA: Right.

MONTAGNE: ...have you lost everything this year?

Mr. KHWAJA: On my farm, I think part of my farm, which was under five to six feet of water, I don't think there was much would have survived there once the water recedes. I didn't have a lot of cotton this year, but people who had cotton have lost everything.

MONTAGNE: Mr. Khwaja, good luck to you.

Mr. KHWAJA: Oh, why, thank you.

MONTAGNE: Jawaid Amin Khwaja owns a large farm in the Punjab province. And this morning, a Japanese plane managed to land at the international airport there, loaded with aid. Still, the situation for many is dire. The U.N. says 800,000 Pakistanis continue to be stranded by the floods, reachable only by air.

Copyright © 2010 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. For other uses, prior permission required...The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

For Photo of Sunrise above GO here

Sunday, August 22, 2010

UPdated: RUMI Fans UNITE for Indus River Flood Victims


Added Tuesday, August 24th: Inspiring story about people helping selves:

Residents Of Pakistani Town Battle Indus River By Julie McCarthy and Renee Montagne
Find Story here Pakistan Time August 24, 2010 Audio for this story from Morning Edition will be available at approx. 9:00 a.m. ET Tuesday - In Pakistan, the southern town of Shahdad Kot never expected to be hit by the massive flooding that is sweeping south through the country. But the Indus River breached its banks farther north and sent water cascading toward the rice farming region. The people of Shahdad Kot banded together to build a levee in a matter of days. From Pakistan

Interpreting the Dream

When death comes like dawn and you wake up laughing
because you thought it was only a dream...
yet this one did not go away...

This one included everything cruel and unconscious
done in the illusion and evident reality of the present
and did not fade away upon the death-awakening...

So, it must be interpreted...
All of it...
the cruel laughing,
the lude, the crude,
the overly easy blaming,
assumptions,
even the wanting
of instant good,
or relief...

We have to learn to live
with the sudden and easy
disappearance of many things
without losing our bearings...

We have to continue to give up,
let go,
all that is not alive and whole -
the torn coats of Joseph...
our own greed for the many
and desire for easy revenge -
our habits of unforgiveness -
our steadfastness now
must include mercy
and friendship...
deeper kinds of love
and wider..

The Dream now must be interpreted
in part - even understood...
while we are yet in our grogginess...

We are now awakening...
in each others' towns,
in one anothers' beds,
We are one anothers' Heart and Soul...

We are even each others' religion -
The Humanity of us All--
the world is now that kind of sleep -
just now waking up.

The dust, the burning and the flooding
the desperate numbing fog
of sudden unbelief,
God-Death,
over the uselessness,
even extinction
of so many crumbled cities -
settles over us ALL,
like a forgetful dose
or a rude awakening -
but we are older than those cities,
we are from another place
more united than any
and more functional
then all of them
put together...

Why have we so often forgotten
our former states,
except in early spring
or the uncovering...
of the latest excavation,
by intention or by war?

Yet, now is the time to remove the veil...
to become Wide Awake...
to turn toward the Teacher
for whom we've prayed...
to lean toward the right breast,
to follow SPIRIT instinctively
and learn we are the perpetrator,
we are the victim
and we are the HEALER.

We are all being led
along the greatest evolving
of all time...
through a wild migration of intelligences...
beyond even all our known emotions...
we can sense, feel and know an Inner Wakefulness
Directing our Dream - The Dream of the Ages.

Grow Life like a vineyard in late summer -
Then become Light - become more than a mere sword,
Be called Radiance -
Become One Song:
It's Dawn!
and the Caravan
is starting out once again.
Come and get on...

This is our One Dream
with which we are startled
both back and forward
until now we are
awakening into the truth
we have always known,
only forgotten -
the truth of Who We Are.

Don't waste time:
Interpret the Dream.


(The above is a paraphrase of IV, 3654-3667,3626-3652 from Jalaluddin Rumi's Six-Volume masterpiece, the Mathnawi with insertion of one stanza beginning Grow Life paraphrase from IV, 1-24 and spirit of III, 2122-2127)


NOTE:
This Dream in poetic form came to me beginning soon after midnight as applicable for the nightmarish flooding happening NOW in Pakistan along the Indus Valley.

Along with these Rumi lines came this early morning vision:

1) If Rumi fans world-wide would unite (and there is a FAMILY of us larger than all the armies of the world combined); 2) If then we would all alone and together act out of the Love, Mercy, Light and Peace taught by Rumi (and his visionaries throughout the ages such as Iqbal and Khurram Ali Shafique - who are part and parcel of India, Pakistan and the regional histories); 3) Then, we will help significantly if not dramatically to save the Indus Valley and her Peoples for generations to come...

SEE VIDEO - HEAR Heavenly Music - WEEP with Pakistanis and the victims - GIVE NOW - CLICK HERE

Let's form a Community of Love extending to our Family in the Indus Valley region NOW:

R - Radiate
U - Undying
M - Mercy (to)
I - Indus Valley

Let's do so now alone and soon united. Would you like to be at the beginning of such an International Community for both enlightenment and service? If so, share here in Comments below with your reflections, visions, favorite Rumi poetry, suggestions. Keep coming back.

* photo above is of the Indus Valley from google earth, 2009

Saturday, August 21, 2010

BRING COMPASSION to Pakistan Flood Victims 2010: Short Videos Heart-Breaking!

This photo
of young refugee from flooding was on small Karachi Pakistan's youth team's site as they recounted collection of many goods - preparing to take assistance to flood areas.

SHORT Videos From Cecos Peshawar University CLICK HERE Amazing photos and music both speak a thousand words to the heart of us all.

Many evacuated from Peshawar area

Please donate to Edhi Foundation NOW - A most highly-respected organization which has worked in many places in and out of Pakistan. Beloved, saintly yet practical Edhi says his religion is "ALL OF HUMANITY" He, his wife and children along with his staff prefer always to work directly with the poorest of the poor, person to person.):

This group does not do Credit Cards (at least out of New York).For American readers, please send your check to:

USA Edhi international Foundation
42-07 National StreetCorona, New York, 11368 USA

Tel: (718) 639-5120
Fax: (718) 335-1978

Find other centers AROUND THE WORLD & Pakistan collecting for Edhi Foundation - CLICK HERE

See the many awards the Edhi Foundation has earned - CLICK HERE


Sindh is now being described as the worst-hit province

Young girl evacuated
photo credit to al Jazeera

( see more items on the flooding in the posts below on this site - OneHeartforPeace dot blogspot dot com )

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pakistan FLOODS: more expected - esp. Southern Sindh

Sakina, a flood victim, eats her meal while taking refuge in a makeshift relief camp in Sukkur, August 20. — Photo by Reuters

Affectees crowd
around an Army helicopter as it lands during a drop of much needed food supplies from the United Nations World Food Program to the flood encircled village of Tul in Sindh Province, Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. - Photo by AP.

MORE TO COME (highlighted editorial at Dawn Newspaper): The people of southern Sindh must not suffer the same fate as the rest of the country’s flood victims.

The first, furious shock of this year’s monsoonal floods has ripped its way through four provinces, wreaking devastation on an almost incomprehensible scale. Even as the country grapples with the post-flood spectre of disease outbreaks, food and water shortages and eventually land rehabilitation, it seems that the wrath of the elements has not yet been appeased.

Sindh, which amongst the provinces has all in all suffered the most flood- related losses, faces still more. The Pakistan Meteorological Department warned on Thursday that the second wave of the peak flood, currently passing through Guddu and Sukkur, will reach the Indus delta within a few days. The coming week is crucial for southern Sindh since the flood-waters will try to drain into the sea at a time when sea levels are already high due to the monsoonal effect, and there will be a full moon. The result may be that, facing resistance from the sea, floodwaters could be pushed back up the river, overflowing its already swollen banks and inundating low-lying areas. It is impossible to guess how widespread the inundation may be, but given the ferocity of the ongoing floods it is bound to cause further loss of life and property, particularly since continuing sea intrusion means that human settlements are now much closer to the water than they used to be.

At particular risk of being hit by the effects of the back tide are Sujawal, Badin, Gharo and Thatta which are home to thousands of people. There is still time to save these areas. Over the past fortnight, the lesson the country’s administrators ought to have learnt is that while land and houses could not have been protected, people, their valued belongings and livestock could have been saved. With the second wave still a few days away, we have time in which to address the looming disaster and show that something has been learned from past mistakes. The people of southern Sindh must not suffer the same fate as the rest of the country’s flood victims, particularly since there is still time in which to take precautionary measures.

See more related items constantly updating (with Comments) at Pakistani Premiere English New Source: Dawn.com here

Here are some important more local comments from a well-rounded, compassionate and reflective young blogger living in Pakistan -- For blog-site, Caravan of Light dot blogspot dot com who says the following are providing for the relief of flood-affected people:

APPNA, The Citizens Foundation, Developments in Literacy, EDHI FOUNDATION, Human Development Foundation, IMANA, Islamic Relief, Relief International, SHINE Humanity, UNICEF, Save the Children, World Food programme, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, World vision to name a few. I think every organization is putting in their maximum effort. What I want to highlight are just two points:

1. As a nation, every Pakistani including me and everyone else should take care of the ones who need us, and we should KEEP helping them till each one of the affected people get rehabilitated.

2. Whatever resources we have, plenty or scarce, all of us need to ORGANIZE them and utilize them in a way that we get maximum benefit. e.g if I have 2 pieces of bread and for the time being 1 of them is sufficient for me, why not give the other to the one who does not have even 1 of it.

Regarding American people and people from all over the world, if for humanity's sake and for the sake of good terms Pakistan has been with the rest of the world, anyone is willing to help us out, I feel grateful for their help from the core of my heart.

The help can be in any form, direct or indirect. It can be in the form of volunteers, money, any items that are needed, or even to give due recognition and voice to the needy people in Western media. And many of the Americans and people from other nations are already on the field helping the affected people, and are promoting their cause as is evident from one of the articles written by Ethan Casey, here's the link here

And as far as American government and aid from them is concerned, I personally feel that although we are in need of money for rehabilitation and relief work, it would be better for them (and for us also) to provide the aid in the form of some 'Real' friendly gesture. Prosperous Pakistan is in the INTEREST of the WHOLE WORLD. (Caps oneheart blogger's)

...I feel Edhi is a very trustworthy organization with an excellent past record of working in the relief operations...Also I feel that who knows this problem may lead to improved relations between Pakistan and people of other nations (if not with their governments).
END of "Caravan of Light" blogger's comments

See Posts just below for more information and how to contribute through the
EDHI FOUNDATION...LINK for central site is here

EDHI Foundation VIDEO here

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Updating: FLOODS, PAKISTAN: What if this were YOUR country?


UPDATING (Incl. why Edhi won't join commission) through Sunday at end of this post with more items - incl. video and "Just In" postings in Comments

AP
Refugees from Pakistan floods "makeshift" camps

"A fifth of Pakistan lies under water. What happens when at last the soil drains?"
(Recent quote from Richard Roth, journalist covering Pakistan floods)

What if this were US?

The following are paraphrased statements/items from various media. See two posts just below on this site, oneheartforpeace dot blogspot dot com for recommended ways to contribute to Pakistan's great challenge. ( via the EDHI FOUNDATION perhaps the most highly-respected relief group to be based in Pakistan - yet has worked all over the world in emergency situations and know the ropes best. 400 or so Indian Doctors who have volunteered to help plan to work with EDHI!)

PAKISTAN UNDER WATER: THINK - What if this were AMERICA?

If Thirty-five million Americans were homeless -- What a disaster that would be and surely all over world media as well. That is proportionate to the horrific -- and worsening -- situation in Pakistan. Government aid has reached only 500,000 of the 20 million people affected.

Pakistan has just faced a tragic air crash with many dead. Many civilians have been killed due to drones overhead not far from area of the flooding. Some US groups - particularly Blackwater/Xe and some US soldier units have run amok around the nation for months now with arrogance, bad morals, immature shenanigans creating havoc and bad press for America. Of course there's also been the unseemly renditions/torture/kidnapping and bounty/detention/imprisonment scandals as well -- largely with the US at the helm. And various political/religious factions have also drained capabilities as well.

Yet, this time, Pakistan is threatened by Mother Nature. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he has never seen anything like the flood disaster in Pakistan. Ki-moon urges foreign donors to speed up assistance

Two weeks of flooding, with more rain on the way and thousands dead. Of the remaining, NEW refugees total over 20 million Pakistanis, overwhelmingly poor, homes, meager "wealth" and livelihoods GONE.

Many international and local aid groups estimate that 3.5 million children and increasing face grave danger from diseases spread by polluted water and poor to non-existent sanitation. Think cholera, typhoid, dysentery, many medical experts say. Even common diarrhea is a vicious killer among children in the developing world.

100,000 square miles have been entirely inundated leaving thousands of hamlets, villages and towns underwater or swept away entirely: the worst flooding in the region in at least 80 years! Of course, this makes Hurricane Katrina look like a mere thunderstorm.

But Pakistan has less ability to aid its citizens and recover what with hillsides once rich with trees were stripped bare for profit and common shrubbery lost which once helped cooking food for the poor.

The one nationally-structured organization in Pakistan that may have some capability -- the military -- is overwhelmed while often surprisingly innovative and courageous. No disaster since the secession of Bangladesh has so bluntly revealed the national shortcomings. The best from the generals is simply not remotely enough - nor would it be from any other nation. With so many bridges gone, roads and railways washed away, air bases outside Jacobabad overcome by rising waters, there's only inadequate response on every hand.

This is, of course, a world-level challenge!

Of course, The Taliban and other extremist groups will attempt to exploit popular rage. Yet, neither should the US or any other nation be allowed to use the suffering of people as opportunity for propaganda and their own agenda. In a recent TV discussion, American show-host, Katie Couric, discussed the disaster in Pakistan and the Taliban's efforts to win support by providing aid. She said that the U.S. and other nations need to ante up and fast.

The Asian Development Bank said it would grant a loan of $2 billion to help Pakistan rebuild from the floods

John Kerry has been visiting Pakistan, recently and urged more US aid. American leaders have recently pledged a substantial sum according to National Public Radio, USA on Thursday am. The World Bank has released $900 million dollars in flood relief for Pakistan. Both groups most likely are doing so for both for humanitarian and strategic reasons. What choices are left for asking for purist intentions? Still, surely accountability and some measure of moral guidelines are needed in natural catastrophe just as in war/occupation?

The United Nations is coordination the massive international relief effort that far exceeds the demand placed on it during the Haiti earthquake.

Just what are reasonable expectations, goals, on the ground emergency efforts now? What do they look like now, what do they need to be?

Will we all help and thereby also build bridges of peace or will Pakistani, a nation of unusually adept and highly educated experts, leaders and bridge-builders, be left to sink all alone?

END

(With thanx to Richard Roth with other media on assignment for Pakistan and various activists on behalf of the voiceless poor.)

=============
Updating for Friday: more news on Pakistan Floods & related here and on comments below post

Edhi declines to join ‘commission’
Friday, 20 Aug, 2010

HYDERABAD: World renowned social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi has refused to be part of the commission proposed by Nawaz Sharif, saying he can’t work with capitalists “if anyone wants to work for people in distress they should do it directly”.

Speaking to journalists during a visit to New Sabzi Mandi relief camp on Thursday, Mr Edhi said that he liked to work independently and advised the government to do its duty and he would continue to do his job individually.

He said that it was a vestige of British colonial rule to form a committee if one wanted to sit on an issue. The government had always complained of empty coffers and he just made an appeal for donations and they started pouring in, he said.

He said that he knew how to beg in the streets and on roads.

He said that it was deplorable that rulers of the country were going on foreign trips when millions had been displaced by the worst floods of the country.

He said that Nawaz Sharif had proposed that he be part of a commission but he refused because he could not work with capitalists. The commission should not be formed because it would be tantamount to ridiculing people, he said.

He said that he was not a politician and whenever he asked for help he got positive response and collected millions of rupees. Because of spiralling prices and political crisis people did not come forward for donations the way they did after 2005 earthquake, he said.

He said that he had been in Gilgit, Chitral and Balochistan for the last 90 days and now he had started visiting Sindh with his first visit to Sukkur.

DAWN.COM | National | See "Edhi declines to join"

=========

An heroic effort in Islamabad helping from the ground - with striking photos and reports promised to be ongoing here with compelling title of first post in since floods: "Let's unite like the drops in the raging rivers"

Also note Asia/Valleys of Death with award-winning journalist reporting from the affected areas here and watch for his YouTube video on home page, aljazeera english interviewing peach orchard industry regarding flood results to farmers/crops/nation etc. English AlJazeera Blogs/Asia Here are excerpts from last blog by Sohail Rahman "Pakistan's Valley of Death" (Hoping/expecting that Rahman will show as much caring for Pakistani victims as he has done with others.) Excerpts here from his blog:

...The alarm bells began to ring when the rains didn't stop. It soon became apparent that the rains were forming into floods and floods into a disaster zone. Why weren't the alarm bells heeded I wondered? ...No weather forecaster since the floods has said why the predictions weren't heeded...In the Swat Valley people are warned by the municipal authority. They have an early warning system, loudspeakers attached to the top of trucks warn residents and farmers of excessive rain...

...the announcements were not made further up the valley. There, nobody was warned. How could such a spread of widely located rural villages be warned? Remember no TVs! Many people are too poor to afford them.

The valleys of death were exactly that. Imagine several narrow channels. The rain runs into the river and off the mountains so fast that it takes the river bed, boulders and even the sides of mountains with it. This then rolls down the valley, picking up momentum as it goes. One valley opening meets another and the force and volume is exponentially increased. What you have eventually is a thunderous tidal wave of water up to 20 metres high ripping everything in its path free of their foundations.

For anything to survive it had to withstand a force so fierce that most people had never seen the like of for over eight decades. Grim picture..with many ground transportation links destroyed, the majestic mountains that have attracted so many to see them may soon be the burial site for thousands if help does not come "as soon as possible!"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Flood Donating to Edhi Foundation in Pakistan (Two Centers)

Edhi Centres in Pakistan

Via: Karachi

Contact Person’s name: Anwer Kazmi

Phone number: 021-32201261

Information centre number : 021-32424125 (for details)

Donations in cash or kind may be deposited here also:-

Edhi Clifton office, near Agha Super market

SUKKUR

The Sind Relief Centre Sukkur is being run by Fasial Edhi himself,

and he and Mr Uroos are the contact persons there.

The phone number is 071-5626050

ITEMS URGENTLY REQUIRED FOR FLOOD AFFECTED

1. Milk for Children and women

2. High Nutrition Biscuits

3. Drinking Water

4. Clothes for women and children

5. Plastic mats or straw mats (Chataii)

6. Mosquito Nets

7. Blankets

8. Floor Mattresses

9. Soap

10. Hand Towels

11. Tooth Paste

12. Women's hygiene kits

13. Washing Powder/Soap

14. Diapers/Pampers for babies

Updated for Wednesday, August 18, 2010

THE EDHI FOUNDATION: Recommended for Flood Victims



Here's the one charity recommended over and over again because of the long history with emergency relief in and out of Pakistan. (Our family is donating here) This will help the foundation to operate in perhaps the greatest challenge of their history. Since they are based in Pakistan, they will be called upon in many countless ways to help the victims somewhat in solo as well as to help coordinate other volunteering groups:

Edhi Foundation here

This group does not do Credit Cards (at least out of New York).
For US readers, please send your check to:

USA Edhi international Foundation
42-07 National Street
Corona, New York, 11368 USA

Tel: (718) 639-5120 Fax: (718) 335-1978

Find other centers AROUND THE WORLD & Pakistan collecting for Edhi Foundation here

Of course this disaster is way too large for any one group. This flood disaster and the many affected need the entire world's help. PLEASE DO YOUR PART!



===============

Here's the one charity I recommend because of the long history with emergency relief in and out of Pakistan. (Our family is donating here) This will help the foundation to operate in perhaps the greatest challenge of their history. Since they are based in Pakistan, they will be called upon in many countless ways to help the victims somewhat in solo as well as to help coordinate other volunteering groups:

Edhi Foundation here

This group does not do Credit Cards (at least out of New York).
For US readers, please send your check to:

USA Edhi international Foundation
42-07 National Street
Corona, New York, 11368 USA

Tel: (718) 639-5120 Fax: (718) 335-1978

Find other centers AROUND THE WORLD & Pakistan collecting for Edhi Foundation here

Of course this disaster is way too large for any one group. This flood disaster and the many affected need the entire world's help. PLEASE DO YOUR PART!

=================

Newly-Updating Information: Pakistan Flood Relief wordpress dot com

GO here where you can find

a) Basic information, statistics, updates, accounts from the field

b) Overview of credible organizations working in the relief effort(including> profiles, scope of work, location of work) and donation information (both> monetary and in kind)

c) Volunteer Opportunities

Pakistan Flood Victims: 400 Indian Doctors Expected


Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Ali Mardan leaving his village in Sindh Province. About 300,000 had to be evacuated from the province’s Kashmor District.


Treatment of flood victims

By Amar Guriro

KARACHI: As nations around the globe are planning to help Pakistan's flood victims, Indians have also decided to play their role by sending teams including 400 doctors and paramedical staff to work in the flood-hit districts.

The Indian civil society, who wants to see peace between both nuclear rivals, will make all arrangements to send these teams. The Indian doctors will work in flood-affected districts of Sindh province, but will avoid visiting Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa because of Taliban threat.

An Indian delegation of peace activists including Shri Sandeep Pandey of Voice of Ayodhiya, Mazher Hussain of Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), Mumbai-based prominent human rights and social activists Feroze Mithiborwala, Gurudial Singh Sheetal, Monika Wahi, Zaid Ahmed Shaikh and others arrived in Pakistan on Sunday after holding rallies from Mumbai to Amritsar as part of recently announced Pakistan-India Peace Caravan, the 'Aman Ke Badhte Qadam'.

During a meeting with peace activists of Pakistan, Mazher Hussain offered to send doctors' teams to flood-hit districts. "We want to see peace between both countries and if in situations like this, help comes from India, it will send a message of love. So we will send doctors and medical experts with medicines to help the flood-affected people," he said.

COVA is an Indian Hyderabad-based network of over 800 organisations working in nine districts of Andhra Pradesh, and in the states of Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir on different issues including peace.

During the meeting Pak-India Joint Flood Relief Committee was formed comprising Shri Sandeep Pandey, Mazher Hussain and Feroze Mithiborwala from India and Adam Malik, BM Kutty, Karamat Ali, Pakistan Medical Association president Dr Tipu Sultan, South Asia Partnership Executive Director, Muhammad Tahseen and Dr AH Nayyar from Pakistan.

"We will manage the arrival of the Indian doctors here so that they may start their work in flood-hit areas as soon as possible," said Mithiborwala.

The meeting also decided that the Indian doctors would work in Sindh, a southern province of the country. "The law and order situation in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is not good, so it will not be advisable to send them there, therefore we have decided to send them to areas in Sindh where they will be safe," said Kutty.

Talking to Daily Times, committee member Adam Malik said that there was no Taliban presence in Sindh and the people would welcome the Indian guests with open arms. "Besides that in Sindh everyone will help Indian doctors work easily in the flood-hot areas," said Malik.

The Indian members will manage the affairs till the teams reach Wagah from where the Pakistani members of the committee will take charge to bring them to the flood-hit areas.

"In the meeting we also decided that the Indian members besides sending doctors would also collect funds, medicines, tents and dry food items in Indian cities," said Pak-India Peace Caravan spokesperson, Sharafat Ali. He said that the Indian delegation also brought 35,000 Indian Rupees and submitted the amount to the Labour flood relief camp, set up by Labour Party Pakistan. "We are also talking to EDHI FOUNDATION to start relief work in flood-hit areas," he said. (NOTE HOW TO CONTRIBUTE TO EDHI FOUNDATION BELOW)

After causing widespread devastation in the north western and central parts of Pakistan, the floods, worst in 80 years, struck the southern Sindh province and badly affected more than five million people. In such conditions, the decision by Indian civil society to send doctors will boost the ongoing peace process.

Original article here

==================================
THE EDHI FOUNDATION: A GREAT PLACE TO DONATE TO HELP PAKISTANI FLOOD VICTIMS

Here's the one charity I recommend because of the long history with emergency relief in and out of Pakistan. (Our family is donating here) This will help the foundation to operate in perhaps the greatest challenge of their history. Since they are based in Pakistan, they will be called upon in many countless ways to help the victims somewhat in solo as well as to help coordinate other volunteering groups:

Edhi Foundation here

This group does not do Credit Cards (at least out of New York).
For US readers, please send your check to:

USA Edhi international Foundation
42-07 National Street
Corona, New York, 11368 USA

Tel: (718) 639-5120 Fax: (718) 335-1978

Find other centers AROUND THE WORLD & Pakistan collecting for Edhi Foundation here

Of course this disaster is way too large for any one group. This flood disaster and the many affected need the entire world's help. PLEASE DO YOUR PART!

Learning from a Great Artist: Abbey Lincoln (August 6, 1930 – August 14, 2010)




Abbey Lincoln - just getting started
NYTimes photo An introspective singer, song-writer,
actress and more - known for "unshakable integrity"

Plenty of food for living and art in this "unique one's" life...

According to recent NYTimes article and others upon Lincoln's death, the artist was" unusual in that she wrote and performed her own compositions, expanding the expectations of jazz audiences."

She worked as an artist for many decades with a break of some years following a musician (who later became her husband) into civil rights activism. She was still performing shortly before her death at 80 years of age.

"Known for her phrasing, emotion and uncompromising style, she was considered a jazz singer and actress of "unshakable integrity". who transformed her image from that of a slinky chanteuse to an oracle of hard-won wisdom"

NYTimes said in their tribute that "Her songs, rich in metaphor and philosophical reflection...combined... bold projection and expressive restraint. Because of her ability to inhabit the emotional dimensions of a song, she was often likened to Billie Holiday, her chief influence. But Ms. Lincoln had a deeper register and a darker tone, and her way with phrasing was more declarative."

"Her utter individuality and intensely passionate delivery can leave an audience breathless with the tension of real drama,” Peter Watrous wrote in The New York Times in 1989. “A slight, curling phrase is laden with significance, and the tone of her voice can signify hidden welts of emotion.”

She had a profound influence on other jazz vocalists, not only as a singer and composer but also as a role model. From Abbey, Cassandra Wilson said “I learned a lot about taking a different path...Investing your lyrics with what your life is about in the moment.”

Anna Marie Wooldridge, Better known by her stage name Abbey Lincoln, was a jazz vocalist, songwriter, and actress. Read more
here

Oh, she not only sang but lived surrounded by visual art she herself had created...but I'm still haunted by the message embedded in her songs on love...

US needs to listen to her own history - Bob Herbert


Time for the wisdom of Historians

"The reason you hear so little about Lyndon Johnson nowadays despite his stupendous achievements — Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — is that Vietnam laid his reputation low. Johnson’s war on poverty was derailed by Vietnam, and it was Vietnam that tragically split the Democratic Party and opened the door to the antiwar candidacies of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy. The ultimate beneficiaries, of course, were Richard Nixon and the Republicans." quote from article below.

August 16, 2010

No ‘Graceful Exit’
By BOB HERBERT

In his book, “The Promise,” about President Obama’s first year in office, Jonathan Alter describes a brief conversation between the president and Vice President Joe Biden that took place last November at the end of Mr. Obama’s long deliberation about what to do in Afghanistan.

Mr. Biden asked whether the new policy of beginning a significant withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2011 was a direct presidential order that could not be countermanded by the military. The president said yes.

The two men were on their way to a meeting in the Oval Office with members of the Pentagon brass who would be tasked with carrying out Mr. Obama’s orders. Among those at the meeting was Gen. David Petraeus, then the chief of the United States Central Command, which included oversight of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Mr. Alter, the president said to General Petraeus:

“David, tell me now. I want you to be honest with me. You can do this in eighteen months?”

Mr. Petraeus replied: “Sir, I’m confident we can train and hand over to the A.N.A. [Afghan National Army] in that time frame.”

The president went on: “If you can’t do the things you say you can in eighteen months, then no one is going to suggest we stay, right?”

“Yes, sir, in agreement,” said General Petraeus.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was also at the meeting, and he added his own crisp, “Yes, sir.”

That was then. The brass was just blowing smoke, telling the commander in chief whatever it was that he wanted to hear. Over the past several days, at meetings with one news media outlet after another, General Petraeus has been singing a decidedly different song. The lead headline in The Times on Monday said: “General Opposes a Rapid Pullout in Afghanistan.”

Having taken over command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after the ouster of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Mr. Petraeus is now saying he did not take that job in order to preside over a “graceful exit.” His goal now appears to be to rally public opinion against the very orders that President Obama insisted, as he told Joe Biden, could not be countermanded.

Who’s in charge here?

The truth is that we have no idea how the president really feels about the deadline he imposed for beginning a troop withdrawal. It always seemed peculiar to telegraph the start of a troop pullout while fighting (in this case, escalating) a war. And Mr. Obama has always been careful to ratchet up the ambiguity quotient by saying the start of any withdrawal would depend on conditions on the ground.

Anyone who has been paying attention knows that conditions on the ground right now are awful, so it looks as though we’re going to be there for a long, long while.

This is a terrible thing to contemplate because in addition to the human toll (nearly half of all the American troop deaths in Afghanistan have occurred since Mr. Obama took office), the war is a giant roadblock in the way of efforts to deal effectively with deteriorating economic and social conditions here in the United States.

Look around at the economy, the public school system, the federal budget deficits, the fiscal conditions plaguing America’s state and local governments. We are giving short shrift to all of these problems and more while pouring staggering amounts of money (the rate is now scores of billions of dollars a year) into a treacherous, unforgiving and hopelessly corrupt sinkhole in Afghanistan.

(I stand in awe of the heights of hypocrisy scaled by conservative politicians and strategists who demand that budget deficits be brought under control while cheering the escalation in Afghanistan and calling for ever more tax cuts here at home.)

The reason you hear so little about Lyndon Johnson nowadays despite his stupendous achievements — Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — is that Vietnam laid his reputation low. Johnson’s war on poverty was derailed by Vietnam, and it was Vietnam that tragically split the Democratic Party and opened the door to the antiwar candidacies of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy. The ultimate beneficiaries, of course, were Richard Nixon and the Republicans.

President Obama does not buy the comparison of Afghanistan to Vietnam, and he has a point when he says that the U.S. was not attacked from Vietnam. But Sept. 11, 2001, was nearly a decade ago, and the war in Afghanistan was hopelessly bungled by the Bush crowd. There is no upside to President Obama’s escalation of this world-class fiasco.

We are never going to build a stable, flourishing society in Afghanistan. What we desperately need is a campaign of nation-building to counteract the growing instability and deterioration in the United States.
Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

7th Day Ramadan: what is perfection right now?

canoe gallery - open source

Yesterday I never knew I was going to get through that day! I was sustained by my fasting, prayer yet most of all from the morning inspiration reflection on two who've made such a difference for the helpless. Yet, same time, there were a few rough and tumbling waters here at home. Since my dear adult son and I rarely work together - and had to tackle some really hard work, it's a near miracle we got through it and in flying colors. (He would agree)

Nothing we had planned to get done seemed to get very far - yet the experience was beyond achieving those goals. Perhaps in it's own rough and wild way - we made together a kind of perfection of learning from each other each step of our work's journey. We found out that the other knew a little more than us about some things or had better ideas and this kept cris-crossing back and forth over the churning waves.. We learned better how to row the boat "in synch" rather than to pull the oars against one another's movements.

Can we not say this is a kind of perfection - maybe one of the most needed?

A river can be strong and beautiful and sometimes on natural course - yet all this can be lost in the tempestuous rush to reach the sea. We and rivers can be waylaid and even made dangerous by sudden forces beyond our capacities to contain or heal them. There's often just not enough time to figure out in every case all the whys and wherefores. Sometimes to survive we have to just GO and wing-it.

Yet as rivers and people deal with such unbelievable frustrations each day - some more than others - maybe there are some lessons here? How might we see our own perfection in the now - the daily - the deluges facing us? How is our perfection not only in meeting goals and having expected outcomes yet also in doing best we can with others' and God's help and yet ultimately in our own choices as well as surrender?

Of course the number SEVEN brings up strong connections for many. For some, perfection or completion.

Today I'm considering living more and more by a kind of perfection which is not another's ideal nor even my own long-range goal but is for right now in context of the larger.

I'm not good at things unresolved...the waiting is hard for me. This relates to watching children grow up and mature as well as to my demands for myself and my work of every sort.

So, just today, I want to pray for and be glad for this kind of perfection which seeks to understand and follow the Divine injunction just for right now. What I am to do in the context of so many unfinished situations...

To take one foot in front of the other, to complete one task, to love one person especially well (for me today, one child returning to college).

So at the end of my day, I felt a bit like this boatman in his canoe might have felt - peace at sunset. Surely I have to wake up to more than we can ever get done. Yet what are the tasks held for me in this particular day? I think I'll call it, Perfection in Context and seek that little bit of the whole - JUST that for right now...The world is a big world. The people out there loving and caring are an immense community. God is a limitless God.

And as I see so much suffering and lack of reconciliation and sometimes seems like we're going backwards and nowhere near our goals. Yet, I pray to also see that which is working beautifully as well - the love within the challenges, barriers tossed aside, bridges being belt little by little...



Here are two articles which speak of this (we just don't often hear of them) :
Be sure to see original site here and NOTE the very interesting Comments

An earlier item with the same spirit here Muslims, Christians break Ramadan fast together in Bethlehem

Even in the context of the unspeakable challenges of the floods in Pakistan, how can we each all over the world find our own part and follow that to perfection? All our little bits of perfection, just might heal a few villages, may save a few lives and might lead to unexpected working together - like many learning to row "in synch" across a worldwide river in ONE canoe - one wide beautiful beating Heart.

Plx excuse this drafty, rapid-like post :)