Los Angeles Vigil Demonstrates Community Support for Quake Victims
By Naushad Sarwar

N.M. Jadmani
Mariam Rashid
Dr. Zeba Vanek
Erum Hasan

How far a burning candle can go? You could have got the answer if you were at Westwood Federal Building, California on November 8, 2005, on a chilly and Special Statewide Election night. A vigil was observed in 29 cities around the world for the South Asian Earthquake one-month anniversary announced by Saquake.org. More that 500 vigilantes crowded the Cross Street of Wilshire Blvd and Veteran Ave by the Federal Building, Westwood.

Seen above among others are Pervaiz Lodhie (extreme left) and Hamid Malik (third from left)

Despite all the possible humanitarian help that has arrived in Pakistan in the last 30 days from all over the world, earthquake victims and survivors are still in a lamentable condition lacking without the essential necessities of live. Its not that aid is not there, it is the difficult geographical venue and weather conditions of the ground zero that have resulted in a slow response and the much needed aid reaching the survivors. This is besides the fact that a great deal of help is still needed during the second phase of the relief operation for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the quake affected areas and individuals. The overwhelming response from the vigilantes proves the sense of commitment and continued support of the community for the relief efforts.

Pictures above: Members of the Pakistani-American community who spiritedly took part in the vigil

The candlelight vigil began with grief stricken but vigorous vigilantes carrying banners with slogans reaching out to the hearts of the passing traffic. “A disaster of unimaginable proportions”, “How many children have to die before we do more?” “Donor fatigue is no excuse. 80,000 dead. And counting,” were the echoing messages that appeared convincing enough to get honked by the passing traffic throughout the night.
Ms. Erum Hasan read out a message from Congresswomen Linda Sanchez to the effect that she fully supported the cause. Mrs. Mariam Rashid of DIL.org thanked all the attendees and volunteers for making the vigil possible and successful at a short notice. “I appreciate COPAA, PSA, Dr. Mansoor Shah, and Consul General Noor Muhammed Jadmani for making this event possible and also the vigilantes who showed up in spite of the chilling weather and voting night,” she commented.

Above: Participants in the vigil

Consul General Noor Muhammad Jadmani provided the audience with facts as to why we need more help now after a month that confirmed that 78,000 people had died, 70,000 had been injured and more than three million were rendered homeless. “Weather conditions will be the fear factor in reestablishing the lives of survivors and we need more weather- proof tents, doctors and medical supplies at ground zero in days to come,” he stated. It’s the spirit of cooperation at this critical juncture that that makes us one nation. “Do keep these candles alight until the end of the task,” he added.
The candle lights burnt brightly showing sympathetic and compassionate hearts in 29 world cities demonstrating support for the quake affected victims. God bless them all. God bless the quake survivors. God bless Pakistan.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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