Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Pakistan? Not just yet

Yes, I've been thinking about going to Pakistan to help out with disaster relief. Over the past day I've been in touch with a nurse in Seattle who also helped out with Katrina, although I didn't meet her there as she was in Louisiana. Rebecca is very eager to go, and lined up some funding from the World Economic Forum's new Disaster Resource Network.

She now has a cardiothoracic surgeon and another surgeon lined up to go--but her own job is on the line if she goes to Pakistan. A hard decision to make. I myself have just started a new job doing cardiology again part-time, and I know my boss wouldn't take kindly to my up and leaving so soon.

In any case, I feel much better having a surgeon go than a cardiologist, given the horrendous trauma I've been hearing about. Quite different from Katrina.

I'll keep in touch with medical relief agencies such as the International Medical Corps about possible future service in Pakistan.

In the meantime, here are some thoughts from Mansoor Ijaaz on how America can help. Remember that our help after the tsunami seems to have had a profound effect on Indonesians' perception of America.

From National Review Online:

America's Helping Hand

There’s a huge opportunity in this tragedy for us Americans as well. The Muslim world perceives us today, rightly or wrongly, as an arrogant nation of people adamantly opposed to Islam’s ideological and philosophical grounding, and that we are prepared to go to any military extent necessary to prove we are right. Against the terrorists, you bet we will, and we should. Rational Islam needs to understand why that is necessary and help us battle their demons from within.

But as a fiercely loyal and patriotic American of the Islamic faith, I know we are not entirely without blame in the way we are characterized. And I also know that we don’t do enough to reach out in a way that touches the hearts and minds of Muslims where it matters. Can anyone honestly say, after watching the highly intelligent faces of the young men and women who lost their children and everything they ever had telling us their stories on TV for the past 72 hours that they wouldn’t respond to us if we reached across an ocean to help make them whole again? Let’s take the game directly to the people who matter rather than letting their mullahs and fanatics define it for us.

Let us not be known as a people who offer paltry sums of money and handouts that nobody can practically use. Let’s marshal our resources in a different way to help Pakistan rebuild the lives of its Kashmiri citizens — as one people of a civilization to another, with respect and dignity that honors their sacrifices. President Bush should call on the mayors of a representative list of major cities across the United States to each adopt one small village or town in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir in order to help restore the public school systems, hospitals, and pharmacies that provide critical services to ordinary citizens.

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