You know what, Non-Existent? Tomorrow is the anniversary of Pakistan’s independence. Pakistan will be 63 tomorrow. They have been proud with their Turkey 86 times and we have been jubilant on our Pakistan 62 times.
Yes, we were over the moon for that, but on this Independence Day I cannot celebrate, Non-Existent. I am unable to be in high spirits, because I do not exist. On this Independence Day, I do not exist for Pakistan, O Non-Existent! I am not, you are not, and we are not!
What is the meaning of existence, Non-Existent? Existing for someone other, for one’s brother or sister; what does that mean? If you do not rush for wiping the tears, not set out when you were expected the most, not leap forth while everyone else stops; tell me, do you exist, Non-Existent? Can it ever be possible that a human continues to live while the humanity is dead? On this Independence Day, you, I, and we have perished O Non-Existent! If we had not, we would have complained we did not have trains to haul our humanitarian assistance. If we had not perished, we would have sought out here, there, and everywhere, complaining about not having found anyone to receive aid from us. If we had not perished, we would have urged absence into availability, and so forced the doors of Pakistan. We would have felt the One Who observes say “This people of this nation are up on their feet and are marching towards Pakistan!”
The Observer; Allah!
You, I, and we do not exist on this Independence Day, Non-Existent! Are you there for it? Are we there for it?
Is each of us for putting one lira daily into a moneybox meant for Pakistan during this month of Ramadan? Are we for mentioning Pakistan at first whenever we raise our hands in prayer throughout this Ramadan? Are we for saying, “Dear Dad, Wife, Husband, Brother, Sister, I am sorry I do not receive any gifts on this Eid; please send your gifts to Pakistan’?
As statistics speaks, they say, “We are not”, O Non-Existent. The entire world with its entire financial might could gather three dollars per Pakistani earthquake victim. It is as much we can collect by one lira each on a single day! The world does not exist; that imaginary geography named Muslim World does not exist; yet you and I do not exist too, O Non-Existent!
My words keep on sticking in my throat. No, they are for accusation; however, it seems to me that our mercy gets effervesced not by the love for the killed but by the hate of the killers, O Non-Existent! We were mobilized when fewer people had died in Gaza. It had to be done so! It was worth if more could be done as well. However, while more dead, more homeless and more destitute await our assistance today, what is with this heedlessness, O Non-Existent? Will we not claim the dead only because we are not able to get angry with the killers? Will we not build up the residences of the homeless only because we are not able to get cross with those who leave them homeless?
Years ago, Pakistan was again hurt and I said, “What is the unit of measurement for the adequacy of the humanitarian relief in the wake of a disaster, afflicting a nation with colossal loss in precious lives and property? Is it the scale of the disaster? Is it the worth of the victims of the nation or its intimacy to the one relieving it? Or is it the glory of the aid-providing nation’s beneficence and sinews? In all these measures, we could not assist Pakistan commensurately.”
Pakistan is the country of Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Turkey is Pakistan with a red national flag. Why are we so relaxed about Pakistan for which it is our obligation to rush with assistance even at times of their slightest distress? I cannot understand, O Non-Existent! Cannot a nation who proclaims, “Wherever an ember falls, it first sets me afire” say “wherever a flash-flood hits, it first drowns me”?
Tomorrow (August 14) is the anniversary Pakistan’s independence. We rejoiced with Pakistan 63 times. This year, I wish I would not rejoice but weep with you, O Pakistan. Just as every year, this year too I wish I would be able to let out a shout, “I am Pakistan!”: “I am the one who got drowned in the swarming waters of Indus! It is I who has been rendered homeless! I am the tan-skinned Asian who has been waiting to be saved as stranded on the roof of his inundated house! It is I who lost his bread basket to the floods in the Punjab! It is I, it is I, my dear Turkish brother! It is I whom you have forgotten in Pakistan! You are the one whom you have forgotten while forgetting Pakistan! It is your humanity that you have lost!”
Can humanity ever survive while multitudes of people lose their lives? Can humanity mean anything while people are so heedless?
(*) Following the intense monsoon rains in July 2010 and onwards, many cities, towns and villages around the Indus river basin, amounting to a fifth of the land in all provinces across Pakistan was inundated by flash-floods. After this devastating disaster in which nearly 2000 people lost their lives and more than 20 million people were affected, teachers and administrators of the Pak-Turk educational institutions running under the Pak-Turk International Cag Educational Foundation carried out emergency humanitarian relief and rescue activities with heart and soul and thus conquered the hearts. Despite limited facilities, Pak-Turk volunteers worked on to reach more people through collaborations with philanthropists and medical personnel from Turkey and elsewhere and strived for alleviating the survivors’ problems round the clock.
Already a fragile economy, Pakistan suffered a backbreaking financial burden exceeding 45 billion US dollars in which the damage to the infrastructure cost 4 billion dollars while the damage to the cultivated lands was around 500 million dollars. Sharing his heartfelt concern in the face of the trickling humanitarian assistance and generosity from Turkey being not at par with expectations considerations the importance of Pakistan for the people of Turkey, Kerim Balcı wrote the following in his article titled “I Am Pakistan Once More!” in daily Zaman on August 13, 2010.