Pakistani Flood Relief Efforts Go Musical and Funny
By Tahir Ali
Conscious that it was their turn to help the country of origin, many Pakistani Americans have organized fund-raising events across the nation
Boston : It has been four months since Pakistan was hit by the worst floods that left nearly 2000 dead, 20 per cent land under water and affected close to 20 million people. The water is receding, leaving behind water-borne diseases and a hopeless muddy picture. Recovery largely depended upon foreign aid, which like the media focus, is also receding.
Many Pakistani Americans feeling that it was their turn to help their country of origin, have organized fund-raising events across the nation. Some of these expatriates invited celebrities to their events to attract more people and to enhance the humane effort.
Zubair Ahmed of Randolf invited Amjad Sabri qawwal, son of late Ghulam Fareed Sabri to help raise funds for the flood victims, on Friday October 22. Tahir Chaudhry of Lexington invited Alamgir the famous Pakistani singer to help his group's fund-raising event in September. Adnan Pathan and his group are organizing a fund-raising event in Cambridge in November and have invited Azhar Usman, Dean Obeidallah and Aron Kader.
Like Father Like Son : Mahmood Jafri, son of the famous humorous Urdu poet of Pakistan late Syed Mohammad Jafri - took after his father in humor and Urdu delivery as he gave a short speech on the history of qawwali. He indicated that the 'History of qawwali' stretches back more than 700 years, to 8th century Persia in areas with strong Muslim presence.
The Sabri group comprised of seven performers, including Amjad Sabri. Each one of them was properly introduced. The crowd jumped to their feet clapping their hands briskly when Amjad Sabri was introduced. Amjad returned the honor by enchanting and mesmerizing the crowd with his music and singing his own composed qawwalis along with the popular qawwalis that his father used to sing: Bhardo Jholi and Taj Dar-e-Haram. The crowd was 'literally' going wild as they showered dollar notes on Sabri and his group throughout the evening.
Life Boxes and Youth Support: Mona Ahmed, of Pakistan Flood Relief Group Youth Committee, in a letter to the community said, that she heard the term "Life Box" on television, in other words: "A Life Box was going to help a family of four Pakistani flood victims for 2 to 3 days by providing them with food, water, and other essentials. The best part was that PIA was going to airlift these boxes from New York to Pakistan for free!" These "Life Boxes" cost only $20.00, and therefore enough funds were collected to buy various items (bed sheets, reusable bags, blankets, long-life milk, candy, chips, cookies, juice, paper cups, water bottles, dates, oral rehydration salts, saltine crackers, soap bars, and health flyers), for 500 of these boxes. Mona wrote, "Then came the night when all of our weeks of planning were going to be put to test. On Friday, October 8th, over 100 volunteers of all ages came to show their support as they helped us pack 500 Life Boxes in under three hours." In another part of Massachusetts, the Youths were busy giving presentations at Mansoor and Fauzia Khan's house and in a short while were able to collect enough funds to make 300 life boxes.
No, it's not over yet. It's time to wake up and pay back.