By Mariam Aziz, MD
When I installed satellite TV with Pakistani channels for my Pakistani nanny, I never knew how much it would open my eyes to the realities of the worst natural disaster in recent times.
I thought it was fun to watch cooking shows, soap operas, news/politics and have a glimpse of the fast paced “pop culture” there; I had a new window into the lives of some Pakistanis. In August, the news broke about the massive flooding affecting 20 million people, and I watched image after image of women, children and older men wading through water to their necks, on lands where they previously sat and lived a simple life farming, raising their children and drinking tea.
I watched in horror as the flood waters washed away homes, livestock, crops and even families. My ears ached with the wails of mothers who had watched their children disappear, or were watching them now starve to death because of the lack of food. Had my life been just a little different, and my parents hadn’t immigrated to America, that could have been my little boy, Humza, hungry in those pictures; it could have been my mother, my grandmother with tears in her eyes. My heart twinges as I hug my child even closer these days.
But then I saw the spirit of human generosity and of hope. The helicopter pilots flying rescue missions and health care workers who spend their days treating the young, the frail, the elderly. People who have no possessions sharing whatever food is available to people who are suffering with them.
When the satellite was off, my eyes came upon the news here. The funds toward Pakistan have been tragically slow and desperately insufficient. The UN continues to beg for international aid, claiming that donor fatigue or fears of corruption have caused the world to hesitate, bringing fresh tears to my eyes. Continue reading