Mudcat Café message #2963491 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #131368   Message #2963491
Posted By: Emma B
12-Aug-10 - 06:52 AM
Thread Name: BS: So little empathy for Pakistan?
Subject: RE: BS: So little empathy for Pakistan?
In an attempt to return this thread to the situation in Pakistan away from the remark I found so offensive in artfully imputing racism to a Muslim charity - the opinion that humanitarian aid would not be forthcoming to flood victims from an international charity because

"I doubt it very much; we are too dark-skinned to deserve a flotilla"

despite the knowledge that the charity is active both in Africa and Pakistan

I would like to pick up on an earlier post from Shimrod

In November last year an article in Illegal-Logging Info looked at the situation in Pakistan

Timber mafia poses ecological concerns

"The federal and provincial governments of Pakistan are looking elsewhere while an illegal tree cutting campaign is being carried out on a mass level along the canal banks and in the riverine forests in Sindh, ignoring the fact that these trees not only strengthen the canal embankments but also provide fodder for the livestock and wildlife as well as maintaining the ecology balance in the province."

On 5th august The Guardian carried an article that

Pakistan's floods are not just a natural disaster

"In the last few years, environmental groups, activists and journalists have talked repeatedly of the power of the timber mafia, which has a particularly strong hold on the areas now affected by flooding.
One of the most powerful and ruthless organisations within Pakistan, the timber mafia engages in illegal logging, which is estimated to be worth billions of rupees each year the group's connection to politicians at the local and federal level has been commented on in the media for years.
The constant warnings about the timber mafia almost always include mention of the increased susceptibility of de-forested regions to flooding, landslides and soil erosion. But, in the way that horror tends to pile on horror in Pakistan, not only has the flooding been intense in areas where the timber mafia is active but the felled trees, hidden in ravines prior to smuggling them onwards, have caused havoc. Dislodged by torrents of water, they have swept away bridges and people and anything else in their path.

That the timber mafia reportedly gave active support to the Pakistan Taliban when they controlled Swat seems to have done nothing to diminish their influence with the state.
Corruption transcends political difference.
Where action is taken against the timber mafia it is often in the form of local villagers coming out to defend their trees. Pakistan's citizens, time and again, find it falls to them to fill in the vacuum where there should be a state."

The failure of ANY government to react swiftly and effectively to a disaster and the plight of its citizens is, however, neither new nor restricted to the 'developing world' but it is no excuse to withhold compassion and assistance while also looking at the underlying factors that contribute to the scale of the disaster.