“Today we are all Pashtuns”

“I learnt about a family who had to leave child with polio behind and take all the other healthier children with them. Similarly, there are people who left the elderly behind as they could not endure the travel.”

The following piece landed in my inbox via the yahoo group for the Pakistani American Community of Atlanta.  Reports say more than one million Pakistanis are fleeing the Pakistani military’s bombardment of Taliban-controlled areas.  The piece ends with a bit of a whimper, but it does a good job of turning aggregate numbers into individual realities.

Sanjeev

Today We are All Pashtuns

Saud Anwar

As the horrific situation with the internally displaced people in Pakistan unfolds it has hard for any one with a heart to remain focused on their work.

While we continue to see the numbers of people leaving their homes rise, these are not mere numbers. These are actually people who have had to make some very difficult choices. Choices most of us cannot even dream of making.

There is a story with every single one of the 1.5 million people who are being displaced. While people bring some things with them to the unknown destinations that they move towards, there are many things that they leave behind.

I learnt about a family who had to leave child with polio behind and take all the other healthier children with them. Similarly, there are people who left the elderly behind as they could not endure the travel. Children have left their books and toys behind and had to focus on carrying food or medicines etc.

Most if not all of these people a few months ago could not even have dreamed of being in this situation making these choices and having to live with them. Their challenge does not end here. Going and moving to another area where the best case scenario is a tent, with less than adequate food, and unclean water. To top the above mentioned situation, there is no vision or hope of future or return in near future.

As an exercise, I would like to ask everyone to think what you would do when you have to leave your home in 10 to 20 minutes time. What would you take and what would you leave behind. Who will you take if you cannot take everyone? How would you feel if you lost everything that you have achieved from the worldly possessions perspective? What would you expect from your friends and family at such a time?

At every moment in our lives we are going through tests in our lives. Some people are being tested by being given blessings, and some people are being tested by having the blessings taken away from them. The people who have their blessing taken away are expected to seek only help from the main and Only source, our Beloved. The ones who have the blessing are REQUIRED to go out and help the ones in need. So my dear friends the choice that we have today is: What are we willing to leave behind and what are you willing to give?

Today, we are all Pashtuns. The people who are willing to sacrifice everything and anything for their guests and for the honor of their friends and families. The people whose example of hospitality is unparallel to any one group or community that I know of or have ever known. Today we have to show that we have learnt hospitality and values from our Pashtun brothers and will exercise what we have learnt.

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