After a slight unrest in the morning the city had finally started to get back to its usual pace, i was on the road in a cab when a phone call from my home announced the news of two blasts, one after another at the Shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi (R.A) and I automatically switched into a panic mode, My first reaction was to inform all friends and family to reach home or stay safe. Within an hour of the news the whole city had started to shut off, shops being closed , fuel stations being barricaded, cars rushing in total panic.
An hour later i was home, i was anxious to get the latest news, the fear that the death toll may have been very high was getting on my nerves, but as soon as i was about to reach the TV remote my mom warned “Jamal don’t ! ” her eyes were red from crying ” The footage is unbearable “. That is exactly what happens each time there is a bomb blast in the country. The news channels blast out television screens with explicit, graphic insensitive imagery. Parts of human body drenched in blood, a head in a policeman’s hand as if its a trophy that you just got to find the culprit and yes any heads found must immediately belong to the suicide bomber and must be shown on all news channels. Yes I knew the news on TV would be all wrapped in imagery that would give any sane person nightmares for ages but i needed the news so the demon’s idiot box had to be turned on.
It was only less than a month back that i had my first personal encounter with the flood displaced people living in a small shanty town here at the Chakra goth, korangi. It was difficult to understand how over fifty people, including children living in a small single room house would be managing, and there were several such homes. but once we were there the picture become more disturbing than i could ever imagine. Almost all of these flood displaced people were infected badly with scabies specially the children, who are twice as many in number as the adults. There were several pregnant women, some of them needed immediate medical attention, many babies had diarrhea.
After a thorough assessment by the members of FLP, the NGO i am associated with for the flood relief efforts, they were immediately provided with food, and their medical needs were taken care of during the following few days. as some who needed a long term treatment are still being provided with the necessary medical support.
The country is faced with the most challenging natural disaster, the recent floods have rendered more than 14 million people homeless. Thousands of which only a couple of ours drive away form our own city Karachi. And since a lot of small groups from Karachi, mostly students from various university are heading out to the various areas of Sindh here is a very useful blog post by Sana Saleem of FLP which explains what items are urgently needed to more effectively and efficiently help the flood affected people here in Sindh, and more specifically in Thatta.
Image Credits : http://flp.org.pk/
While the world is not willing to trust our government, the private sector, NGO, Social Org, Student Org, media and all others are still playing a crucial role in putting an effort to lessen the miseries of the flood victims, estimated to be around 15+ million all over Pakistan. [ How & Where i can help ? Click here ]
Every day I receive many email/SMS notifications/requests on flood relief work. Dawn captured these moments from a similar initiative taken by the students of SZABIST and Indus School of Arts & Architecture Karachi to raise money for flood victims. The student witnessed some inspiring moments. “One guy just dropped Rs. 10,000 – just like that” said one student. “What’s more interesting is that the people in the more affluent cars are not stopping yet continuously rickshaw drivers gave as much as 10 or 20 rupees” said another student.
Because inflation is taking its toll on their pockets, a lot of people, here in Karachi, flock to shop at the makeshift weekly markets for saving some money on their household monthly budget where usually the flea market (Lunda Bazzaar) stalls manage to attract the most of the crowd. I have been visiting such flea markets since almost over 10 years where i shop for almost everything including art work, shoes, toys, clothing and professional kitchen utensils. but i have noticed a lot of people buying from such stalls don’t consider the fact that these items are usually used, even if they are seared they may have been stored improperly or may have been contaminated during storage or in transit and can pose a health hazard if not disinfected and washed properly before use. hare is your guide to what you should and should not buy and how to avoid exposing your self and your family to potential health hazards.
Toys, specially the stuffed ones are the most commonly sighted item at these flea markets, i have seen a lot of people buying them and handing them right away to the kids. We all know that Stuff toys are made of stuffed fabric, which is an absorbent martial, that means it will absorb any liquid they may come in contact with.The stuffing in these soft toys is usually of 100% polyester fiber, which is less absorbent but often at times these toys are stuffed with cotton which is a highly absorbent natural fiber. you must understand that these toys while been used previously, or during storage may have been exposed to chemicals, toxins, or fluids which may contain germs and may prove extremely lethal if digested. When ever you are buying stuffed toys make sure the item is washable. never hand over toys to your kids with out properly washing them with some and a germicidal like Dettol. Hard / Solid toys too may contain some contamination, or may have been exposed to some toxic chemicals so they too should be washed properly with detergent and Dettol before they are handed over too your kids.
It was a 13- 15 year old girl, standing on a narrow walkway by a crowded pharmacy right opposite Ashfaq manorial Center, waiting for her mother to return with the medicines. I spotted two men, probably masons, they had their tools in their hand, walking towards this girl, their unfriendly gaze, fixed on her. She panicked, and tried to press herself to the wall so to give these men space to pass by her without getting near to her while they kept walking with broad chests, dead center of the aisle. As they walked closer, and were about to pass by her, I moved quickly forward them from the opposite side, looking at these men right in the eye, there was anger on my face. I was truly going to retaliate only if they would have made one wrong move, but as soon as they saw me approaching them from the opposite direction their posture suddenly changed, they suddenly moved their eyes downwards, they walked away from the girl and quickly past me, while i continued to follow them with my angry gaze.
in the mean while the girl’s mother too was back from the medical story, and now they were walking away to get a rickshaw for their next destination.
if you may have realized, i am not at all a well built person, actually i am quite skinny, and was no match for these culprits, but what scared them was the feat that if i could have raised alarm, and the shop keepers and passers by would probably have beaten the crap out of him.
people keep asking me how they can bring a change in the society, i tell you, It takes not much to do so, if you want to see a change, the next time you spot a man gazing a women, ask him out loud what his problem is. If you are a men looking at this culprit alone will be enough to get him back to his senses. Be the change you want, feel and take the responsibility of the society you are a part of, and you will see the change coming.
It was just this morning that i saw a TV channel running a footage showing the lights of Karachi Stadium all turned on in broad day light. much to my surprise they were still on around 6 PM having no extra benefit against the bright sunshine but indeed adding much to the power shortage the city and the whole country is suffering from.
Her hair knotted, her jeans as dirty as it could get, completely worn-out, with sticking coming off from some places, and an old tee shirt, which too as dirty and ragged as her paints hung loosely on her bony shoulders. I spotted her sitting on a heap of garbage, having some rotten fruits probably thrown away by some pushcart vendor, near my uncle’s house in New Karachi. “Who is she ? ” When i asked my uncle, her sad story was narrated to me.