Extraordinary Circumstances Call for Extraordinary Response, and Silicon Valley Pakistanis Deliver
By A.H. Cemendtaur
Pakistanis living in the Silicon Valley can feel the pain in the gaze of their suffering countrymen. Sunday night, almost 400 people gathered at the Computer History Museum
in Mountain View to support the flood relief efforts in Pakistan
Much has been written about the expected scarcity of water in the new millennium and the wars futurists see taking place, over the control of water. Now, arguably, global warming is making everybody think anew. Think about wars over the control of too little fresh water — wars spanning over a period of many years, corresponding to the drought-like conditions for as many years; followed by fights over whose land should be inundated when all of a sudden there is too much water one year.
Like Lilliputians we make dams over rivers and think we have conquered nature, but then nature comes up with a new trick and everything goes awash, literally.
But keep aside the mockery of our insignificant existence compared to the natural forces, or the conflicts among communities over too little or too much water, the flood disaster still unfolding in Pakistan is infused with heartrending human suffering. This calamity has affected more people than any other natural disaster in recent history. Imagine yourself to be a proud human being capable of tilling the land and arranging food and shelter for yourself and your loved ones. And then imagine one day everything taken away from you. Right now in Pakistan there are close to 20 million people that fit that description. Their pride robbed by nature they look to the world with a mixture of abashment and anticipation.
Pakistanis living in the Silicon Valley can feel the pain in the gaze of their suffering countrymen. Sunday night, almost 400 people gathered at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View to support the flood relief efforts in Pakistan. The program jointly arranged by several charities -- Developments in Literacy (DIL), Human Development Foundation (HDF), The Citizens Foundation (TCF), Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America ( APPNA), Pakistan American Cultural Center (PACC), SA-Relief, Central Asia Institute (CAI), Mashal--was run by the people active in OPEN (Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America).
In his presentation, Dr. Imran Qureshi of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) told the audience that whereas, fortunately, the immediate death toll has been low--1500 deaths have been reported so far--the flooding in Pakistan is a disaster in slow-motion. He informed the audience about the relief camps IMANA has set up in the affected areas. He asked the participants to become ambassadors of the flood relief cause.
A short film on the flood related havoc was screened. An interview Moazzam Chaudhry of OPEN did of Imran Khan, on Imran Khan's take on the flood relief efforts, was also screened at the fundraiser. To specifically focus on the flood relief and rehabilitation efforts, Imran Khan has established a charity by the name of Imran Khan Flood Relief organization.
Because of the joint nature of the August 29 fundraiser the attendees were asked to donate money to any of the various charities participating in the fundraiser. Rehan Jalil of WiChorus announced that the NED Alumni of the Silicon Valley had raised $60,000 to support the flood relief efforts. Jalil also announced a matching fund of $40,000, also arranged by the NEDians.
After checks were written and pledges were made, the event concluded with comments from Umair Khan and Shuja Keen. Umair Khan informed the audience that over $240,000 were raised in the program.