“Americans can text the word “SWAT” — to the number 20222 and make a $5 contribution that will help the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees provide tents, clothing, food, and medicine to hundreds of thousands of affected people.” – Secretary Clinton, May 19th, 2009. You can make up to 5 such contributions.
Now, this last photo taken by Rahma Muhammad at Bacha Khan Chowk next to Mardan College needs some discussion.
In the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, many banned “religious” organizations, specifically the militant groups, were prominent contributors to the charity and relief work. Jamaat-e Dawa, previously known as Lashkar-e Taiba maintained a full hospital and many shelters under its humanitarian wing, Idara Khidmet-e Khalq (Department for Service to the People). This is now renamed as Falah-e Insaniyat Foundation (Welfare of Humanity Foundation). That camp, pictured above, has a telling banner: “مسلمانوں کا قتلِِ عام بند کيا جاۓ” (Stop the Rampant Killing of Muslims). Along with the prominently displayed flag. That rhetorical “Muslims” cannot be easily dismissed by the Pakistani military, which in its ham-fisted operation has displaced nearly a million civilians in order to kill or capture mere thousands. The math doesn’t add up, does it? Whatever the alternatives might be, this all-out military assault was the only thing that would satisfy the bloodlust here, and the schemers there. We, the American tax-payers, need to see that military power in action against the TALIBOTHRA.
Therein lies the rub. The displaced million are already persona non-grata in Lahore or Karachi. They are already at the mercy of international donors. Where is their state? What recourse or recompense do they have against this military assault? The chicken-hawks will exclaim that it is their just rewards for hosting the TALIBOTHRA; or maybe they are the necessary collateral damage. In the mean time, those speaking to them, about them are these militant organizations. It isn’t as simplistic as “hearts & minds” – but it is as simple as “state as protector”.
UNCHR can help in the short run, but it is the people of Pakistan who will need to embrace the displaced and get them back home, as soon as possible.
Update: Do see this interview done in Karachi w/ some displaced citizens. Thanks to Adaner. (Turn on the CC in English).