Picture of the Day: Forgotten

Posted on October 5, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Disasters, Photo of the Day
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Adil Najam

October 8 will mark the one-year anniversary of the horrific earthquake that hit Pakistan and parts of India and Afghanistan in 2005. Much has changed in that year. But not enough.

We at ATP have written a few times about the need not to forget what happened on that day and, more importantly, to not neglect what still needs to be done (here and here). We should have done more. Whenever I look at this picture, this child’s eyes seem to be saying to me: “You should have done more. You all should have done more.�

One should, of course, acknowledge that this tragedy brought together Pakistanis together in dramatic and heart-moving ways. Tragedies always do that. This did so not only for Pakistanis in Pakistan but also for Pakistanis abroad. The international community was also forthcoming. Much was done by all. But not enough.

As many had feared, people got busy. Got distracted. They forgot. For at least 9 months now op-ed pages in Pakistani newspapers – let alone international ones – have said nothing about the quake at all (here). That they have forgotten the dead is understandable. But that they have also forsaken the surviving is not.

In the days to come, we will hear about the earthquake again. We will be reminded of the devastation it brought. We will be reminded that 2 million people still remain homeless. The importance of reconstruction will be stressed. The blame-game will recommence. Pundits in the West will lament how this is creating more extremists. The government’s supporters will tell us what a great job the government did. Their opponents will cry hoarse about how this is one more thing where this government failed.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, will say that we must not forget the events of October 8, 2005. And then everyone – nearly everyone – will do exactly that. Forget.

15 responses to “Picture of the Day: Forgotten”

  1. im restless to heared about huge natural disaster

    i mean earth quake i will do better for my pakistani

    sisters and brothers who are victumed by

    8th october earth quake

  2. chandio says:

    we are not good at remembering what we should remember. read today about earthquake affectees protesting about bribes.

  3. Babar says:

    I would like to share a moving story. Last October, right after the earthquake, an army officer who is a good friend of mine went to
    the impacted area to help. Miraculously he rescued a 2-3 month old baby girl from the rubble … this was about 72 hours after the earthquake. The baby needed medical attention. Luckily there was a helicopter available and she was flown to Islamabad. The hospitals there were in chaos .. fortunately my friend’s wife is a doctor and she took care of the baby. Today that baby girl is a healthy and happy child.

    I saw this child when I went to Pakistan a few months ago. I admired her courage and strong will which shows through her eyes. I thought about her destiny and how my friend was able
    to help save her life. We can all make a difference in a survivor’s life … there is lot of opportunity if we care. As Adil mentioned the silent misery of the living is relatively easy to forget. Let’s setup reminders in our calendars to avoid this.

    I hope this blog will continue to nudge us to action.

  4. Saadia Khan says:

    My family was in Abbottabad when the tragedy strucked, they are still in PTS disoders. As far as I know there are some small international organisations who are still engaged in helping the local people of Balakot and Muzafferabad. I got to know a girl at Bremen Applied Sciences University, a registered registered volunteer with local German NGO left her studies and went to help the people there and I mention that later it was she who stood with me and 2 other Pakistani students to collect the funds. We three Pakistanis were begging the other Pakistani students to raise funds with us but none was there to join our team as they did not want to miss their classes.

    They were Tukish girls who were ready to help us to cook food. And there was one Indian friend Ravi who sold the food with us, though his other indian friends stopped him to help in name of Pakistan.

    There are some Trekkers from Germany and Switzerland who are engaged with other Germans and Swiss volunteers to help the earth quake victims. They are busy giving their services for various projects of their organisation; first aid help, medical attendance, protection from winter and building school. For more information you can look at the site and if you can read German then do read the (daily updated) Diary from the team in Pakistan. There is a young german student Annette Töpfer who was there for 2 months and though she got sick but still she wanted to finish her work before leaving the place. And now Jens Sommerfeldt is came back to carry on the projects.

    There are plenty of non Pakistani organisations who are engaged in N.Pakistan and its the local people who are participating with them.

    Lots of funds had been given from Muslim countries thats another story that Western Media did not show it. Talking about funds I should ask you that if possible kindly give your Eid Fitrana to organisations like Alpinclub Sachsen e.V. who are devoted and still engaged in helping the vistims. Please alawys confirm where your charity will go. People in Germany can give their Eid Fitrana to http://www.alpinclub.com/hilfsaktion-spenden.html
    and if you earn alot then please give more than the Fitrana. Country like Cuba sent 789 doctors to Pakistan last year while and Pakistani doctors were 600 who were engaged in helping the victims, so we should learn from the dedication of all these people.

    As many trekkers are pretty much involved to help victims of earthquake, I was also thinking how about writing a post on trekking in Pakistan? Who would like to do that?

  5. TURAB says:

    while praying for the departed souls and people living in pain…. we must salute our army personel and all those people who came to help from the outside …. to all those people who donated …..God Bless Us ALL

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