Pakistanis’ Resilience & Hospitality Contradict Stereotypes
Washington, DC: Pakistanis are a resilient and strong people who continue to strive for their economic progress in the face of the worst natural disasters. Their positive attitude contradicts commonly portrayed stereotypes in the Western media, an American humanitarian has said. Todd Shea, whose volunteering spirit and dedication to welfare of suffering humanity has won hearts of millions of Pakistanis in earthquake and flood-hit areas, made a plea to his fellow Americans to understand that an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis is peace-loving.
“Pakistanis are the strongest people, a resilient people -- the Americans need to understand they have nothing to do with terrorism, the young Pakistanis want economic opportunity,” said Shea at a fundraising event.
Eminent attorney and member of US Supreme Court Bar, Mowahid Hussain Shah, young Pakistani-American doctors, who rendered services in Pakistan, and community activists spoke at the event.
Todd Shea has worked as relief volunteer in Sri Lanka, New Orleans, Pakistan after the October 2005 earthquake, in Swat after anti-militant operation in 2009 and 2010 epic floods, in Haiti after 2010 temblor, and heads Shine Humanity, an organization that runs the Comprehensive Disaster Relief Services hospital in the remote village of Chikar Azad Kashmir Valley.
With the help of 100 Pakistani employees, Pakistani-American doctors and local volunteers and philanthropists, the hospital has provided emergency medical relief to more than a hundred thousand men, women and children.
Relating his experience of working with ordinary people in Azad Kashmir and militancy-hit Swat in the north of Pakistan, the promising singer-turned-extraordinary disaster relief worker, said he found the people there as friendly, warm and hospitable, contrary to misrepresentations in most of the news stories that experts say focus narrowly on Afghan war-related issues and tend to generalize things wildly.
“I went there (in Swat after millions were displaced) without any fanfare, just a driver and an interpreter ---I told the local people (in Swat) I am an American and want to listen to them as to how I could help them --- instead of treating me with hate, the people there treated me like their brother.”
“I want to tell the stories of these people,” Shea said, who over the past several years, has interacted widely within the Pakistani society and also teamed up with Pakistani rock star Atif Aslam and several other vocalists to raise funds for the suffering humanity.
Mowahid Hussain Shah, who was the keynote speaker at the event, said Todd Shea is an inspiring example for selfless work, because he chose to travel to a distant unfamiliar land and mingled with people of a different culture.
“What bound him with the people of Pakistan is the bond of human decency, bond of goodness, bond of caring and the bond of service (to suffering humanity).Todd is a conqueror of hearts by virtue of his deeds.”
Mowahid Shah cited the devotion of Sufi saints, who taught virtues of selfless welfare work, love, and care and some of them also made use of poetry and music to convey the Islamic message in South Asia and such work in service of humanity outlasts many other deeds.
Todd Shea’s work follows the message of Christ who preached peace, love and brotherhood, Shah, an expert on the Middle Eastern affairs, noted while referring to the need for mutual understanding in the post-9/11 international scenario, often marred by hate, division, conflict and misrepresentations.
He acknowledged the contribution of young Pakistani-Americans, doctors, university students and the media towards success of Todd Shea’s welfare cause. Shah encouraged young Muslims to realize their full potential through modern skills and enlightened learning and assist development of their communities, who have a history of excelling under pressure.