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Author Topic: A gaping hole in the bedroom wall  (Read 1037 times)
« on: Jun 13, 2009 01:22 PM »

peace be upon you

Here is a true story.

The scene: a house in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, early morning, June 1993

A man is removing the air conditioner in his bedroom, His wife asks: "What are you doing? The AC is working fine". The man does not answer. He keeps at his work. When his wife's voice become too loud, he tells her quietly. "I am taking it for the Bosnian guests". "The what? …" His wife is flabbergasted. "This is my AC. I need it in my bedroom. What will I do without it? You know you cannot buy me another one."

"You will be all right. After all, we have lived without an AC for until this summer."

"I can't live without it. Leave it alone". The woman is in no mood to let go of her comfort appliance.

"Look, we are from a village in this hot part. These people are from a place that is even cooler than Kashmir. They will fry in this heat. They need this AC much more than we do."

When the wife does not stop protesting, the man tells her he will send her back to her village, where there is not even an electric ceiling fan.

Saying this he walks out and heads towards the motor rickshaw stand. The wife stares at the gaping hole left in her bedroom wall. She feels too angry to cover it with something. Let him do it when he come back. Outside, the man has hailed a rickshaw, A long time ago, pedaled rickshaws were banned, and replaced with motor ones.

The scene changes to just outside Madinatul Hujjaj - the city of the Pilgrims, a huge complex of plain buildings and wide spaces built for departing pilgrims to Mecca. It comes alive only prior to Hajj, when intending pilgrims are trained and facilitated for their onward journey to the holy land. This is June, much too early for Hajj, but it is inhabited again, as the first batch of Bosnian guests (as the refugees are called) have arrived in the night and accommodated here.

Outside the Madinatul Hujjaj gate, one sees a sea of people in all sorts of vehicles, and even on foot - carrying various things, charpoys (beds), bedding, covers, kitchen ware, daigs (huge cooking pots with cooked food), fruits, meat, chickens, vegetables, pedestal fans, toys for kids, refrigerators, minitrucks full of ice slabs, … and this man with an air conditioner. And there are guards, police,  welfare organisations' employees, ...

"Please, please, take this AC inside and give it to the Bosnians", he is pleading with everyone he thinks has an official position or may be of help, but no. The guards are not letting anyone or anything in. They have instructions to make sure the guests are not disturbed.

Everywhere is the same story. People have brought out what ever possessions they have for their guests. "Please, please, take these and give to our guests".

As Sadzida Sladjic, the Bosnian ambassador to Pakistan, tells this story to us, her special guests at the Bosnian Village, her eyes are filled with tears. "Where else will you find such people, who remind you of the Ansaar", she asks.
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