This is one of the most powerful stories that I’ve read this year.
It’s by Amir Mateen and was published in The News in Pakistan on May 31. Here’s the standfirst.
QUETTA: Major Shafaat died a sad broken man. Abandoned by his institution. Betrayed by childhood friends. Forsaken by his hometown. His only fault was to have been born different. A man with a flat nose and chinky eyes. An ethnic Hazara.
Through the short life of Major Shafaat, the journalist writes about the discrimination that Hazaras experience in Pakistan. It’s a stark look at how even in the 21st century, there are many like Major Shafaat who will never be allowed to be their own person, but will always be defined by how they look like and what their ethnic background is.
This is just a wee post on some of the information about the Pakistan floods I’ve come across online.
What’s happening now?
The news is that the Pakistani government says 20 million people have been affected by the floods, higher than the UN estimates of 14 million. For a quick analysis on the Pakistan government and military response, this is a short piece in The Guardian by Owen Bennett Jones of the BBC.
Besides the main online news outlets like the BBC, I also follow some excellent Twitter users from Pakistan. I’ve compiled a basic Twitter list, but I’m sure if you have a look at their followers, you’ll find a few more good ones. My favourite so far is @pakistanpolicy. The BBC’s Lyse Doucet, who I believe is also in Pakistan, has been tweeting frequently on what’s she has been seeing and hearing during her reporting there.
Where and what
Here’s a map from AlertNet, a humanitarian website run by the Thomas Reuters Foundation, on where the floods are, and what the donation shortfall is. Here, they give a good summary on which aid agencies are working where.
Scenes of devastation
I’ve come across some good galleries: this one, compiled by the Boston Globe, has some of the best wire photos from the flooded areas. This has been put together by The Guardian, and this is from Reuters.
What you can do to help
There are many aid agencies working in Pakistan, as the AlertNet list above sounds, but here are a handful of the Australian branches of aid agencies you can donate to, including the UNHCR, Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Save the Children. SBS has also put together a good list online.
To end, just a thought:
The Pakistan floods are worse that the Boxing Day tsunami, the UN says, but yet the amount of aid raised is far lower. Why?
A good site from BBC Dimensions showing the size of the floods. Type in your area code and see how big they are.
90% of asylum seekers win refugee status
April 22, 2009
More than 90 per cent of the “queue jumping” asylum seekers who risk their lives to get to Australia illegally by boat later win refugee status, a refugee advocacy group says.
A new debate about boat people has been triggered by the deadly explosion on an Afghan asylum seekers’ boat off Ashmore Reef last Thursday.
But Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said most people who arrived here by boat eventually succeeded in their applications for refugee status, while the increase in numbers reflects the global growth in the number of asylum applicants. MORE
A well-written personal account of Chicago Tribune’s South Asia correspondent’s reflection on the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Marriott bombing shatters sense of sanctuary in Islamabad
By Kim Barker | Tribune correspondent | September 21, 2008
As much as any place in Asia, the Marriott in Islamabad was home.
Not just for me—for almost every foreigner in Pakistan’s capital. And with its destruction and the killing of 53 people in a brazen suicide attack Saturday, the country will be a sadder place.
Many foreigners will likely give up and leave. The families and friends of those killed in the attack—many of whom worked at the hotel—will have to somehow heal. The government will have to convince the world that it can fight terrorism as the country seems to slowly slip into the abyss. MORE
… and a different look at the financial crisis sweeping the world.
Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me
John Huxley | The Sydney Morning Herald | September 22, 2008
It is a little-known fact that this latest, calamitous sharemarket crash has been deliberately engineered by a secret organisation of central bankers called New World Order who operate from an underground bunker at Denver International Airport. They have already made off with the contents of the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, which now holds no gold reserves whatsoever. And, very soon, they will create a worldwide power blackout that will erase all electronic accounts, plunging the planet into apocalyptic chaos, dampening the sales of four-wheel-drives and slowing house-price rises in Mosman. MORE