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My diary (log) was published in December issue of  Media Voice Magazine (Page 66-77)

Text version:

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi and his friends took a journey from Islamabad to the flood-affected South Punjab with relief materials on October 23. From Nature’s fury and terrorism to snack stopovers, his log speaks of varied experiences.

1700hrs (October 23, 2010)
I was en-route Lahore with three volunteers to make a delivery of relief items to flood affected South Punjab. Hammid Ali, an MBA student, Shakeel Ahsan, an HR executive and Hammad Atta, a telecom engineer were with me on the trip started from Islamabad. We would meet more volunteers in Lahore where we will have to load three trucks with relief with relief items overnight and start our journey early morning the next day.

2000hrs (October 23, 2010)
Talking about the spot-fixing scandals of Pakistani cricketers on the Motorways we had a snack-break. Everyone had his own perception of what’s happening with Pakistan cricket, and same variation of perceptions existed about socio-political problems that we were facing. One wondered, if we will ever find common grounds to move forward.

2300hrs (October 23, 2010)
Markets and hang-out places remained open till late night in Lahore unlike Islamabad which closes down by 9pm. Lahori boys get hyper on weekends and horde the roads on their bikes. Driving through the haphazard traffic wasn’t an easy task. We finally reached the whole-sale bazaar near railway station in Mughalpura, where our trucks were ready to be loaded.

0200hrs (October 24, 2010)
Trucks were loaded. More volunteers arrived from Lahore. A US –based filmographer, Yasmin accompanied us to make a documentary. We had earlier asked for two trucks. One more truck had to be arranged, which demanded huge amount. Although I was angry at the truck-driver who was being unreasonable and cashing in on our emergency need, we had no other option but to hire him.

0500 (October 24, 2010)
Trucks were on their way to Daira Deen Panah, a town adversely affected by monstrous flood water. We had time to kill, and we decided to visit Data Sahib (mausoleum of Hazrat Ali Hajveri, the famous Sufi saint). This tomb recently faced the brunt of a terrorist attack killing many. Many malangs/wanderers were sitting around the tomb, and the atmosphere was simply ecstatic. After paying homage to Data Sahib, we then had to have sizzling breakfast of halva-puri in ‘andaroon’ Lahore (old Lahore which was a walled city).
 

0800 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
We are on the way to South Punjab now. In the coaster with loud music playing ‘chal way Bulleya othay chaliyeh’ singing, chatting and some playing cards. We are total 12 relief workers. I and Maryam were talking about how after Ramadan, donations have dwindled and people are not donating open-heartedly. The initial phase of immediate relief did not require as much money as the rehabilitation phase. 
 
1500 hrs [24th Oct, 2010] 
After 10 hours journey, we reached Kot Addu, whose town Daira Din Panah we had to hit. We had been here twice before, but then it took 26 hours as roads were blocked and bridges dismantled. Situation had changed as now only traces of water and its destruction remained. Our trucks were still 2 hours behind and again, after having a delicious lunch we visited the shrine of Syed Abdul Wahab Bukhari, known as Deen Panah, on whom the town was named. Locals told us how flood waters could not drown one street in their town, that was, where the shrine was located. 
 
1600 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
We started making lines of flood affectees, our one team was here yesterday to distribute coupons in affected families. Now we called all of them, and asked the head of families to stand in a line. This impossible process of filtering out genuine affectees, trying to make others, who did not have the coupons understand that we cannot accommodate them due to our limited capacity was tedious and heart wrenching. Female volunteers made females stand in a line, where as, male volunteers made males stand a triple line to ensure distribution without hassle. 
 
1700 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
Now our trucks had arrived and we started the by-hand distribution process. Each victim had coupons signed and counter signed by us, along with his National ID card to ensure genuine-ness. This process continued till it was dark and after 3 hours of distribution, reaching out to 1000 families we called it a day.
 
2100 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
We called this delivery, the mystical delivery as once again we decided to visit tombs of Shah Shams Tubrez and Shah Rukh ne Alam in Multan after having dinner at Pizza Hut. The driver and conductor with us strangely took interest in trying ‘how a pizza tastes like’. We went to the tombs, which are located adjacent to each other and had never seen such tight security ever before. Police officials told us, this area was under threat from terrorists, who had been on ‘blast a shrine’ spree. An old woman sat infront of Tubrez’s shrine, asked us to go back to Lahore and pay homage to Data Ali Hajveri on her behalf. 
 
2300 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
Now we were on our way back to Lahore. On our minds, the sad faces of victims who had nothing left. Schools, hospitals, homes – all washed away. Another thing that continually became a topic of discussion was our nations reaction to national disasters which showed a ‘sudden burst of patriotism and then relative numbness’. Such was the case with Pakistan floods 2010. When the disaster struck, immediate emergency relief aide needed was nothing compared to what’s needed for rehabilitating 22 Million affected souls. Regular stops were made on juice corners, truck driver hotels and pan-shops on our way back as we had no deadline to meet. Most of us were so exhausted that we went to sleep in our coaster. Others continued to ‘fight’ on issues such as cricket, Zardari, US involvement in our internal affairs and what not.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi is an aeronautical engineer, a poet and a social activist who is the founding force & chairperson of Pakistan Youth Alliance(http://www.pya.org.pk/). He can be found tweeting @Ali_Abbas_Zaidi (http://twitter.com/#!/Ali_Abbas_Zaidi) & is available on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/aliabbaszaidi

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Earlier, I wrote now the International Community should DO MORE! 

And to further the notion, today Gaurdian published guide to Pakistan v Haiti. Which Disaster Got More Aid?

Crossposting the statistics of International reponse to these two devastating natural disasters:

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My tweet was quoted in Daily Times today, regarding Musharraf and the show he pulled in yesterday:

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Dr. Javed Iqbal in the biography of his famous father, Allama Iqbal, narrates one interesting incident.

The only role Allama Iqbal ever played in active politics was in 1926 when on the insistence of his followers he opted to contest the Punjab Legislative Council Membership elections. While all others withdrew their names to honor him, one diehard Malik Din Mohammad stayed in the contest. The election campaign started with all the traditional wherewithal of mud-slinging which in diction and dirtiness was not very different from that of today’s.

Allama Iqbal was unabashedly called a “kafir (due to his endorsement of Sultan ibn Saud)”, a “Kashmiri”; a “pro-Ahmadi”; “a Wahabi”; “an enemy of Tasawwaf (Sufism). In short, some 14 points highlighting the absence of character in Allama Iqbal, which included the accusation of his being a wine-addict, a murderer of a Tawaif, a man with three wives, etc appeared on the walls of Lahore. This was too much for Allama Iqbal. But he was made to believe that it was a part of politics.

According to Hafeez Jullundhri, one day after a tiring campaign in the downtown area of Lahore, Allama Iqbal and he were walking on foot towards their car when something unique happened. Being a candidate, Allama had to extend his salutation to each person he countenanced while walking. In one such courtesy offer, Allama extended his “Aslam-o-Alaikum” to a person, who as it turned out, happened to be belonging to the opposite group of Malik Din Mohammad. That unruly person reciprocated Allama’s salutation, just by dropping off his, “dhoti”, and Lo, there he stood in the middle of the street, and in front of Allama in his utter naturalness.

This, indeed, was too much for a poet and thinker.

Taking his seat in the car, Allama addressed Hafeez Jullundhri in a somewhat dismayed and tired tone, “I have lost my sleep thinking about the causes of the decline of values, self-respect and good-conduct in this nation, and look how they are acting!”. Hafeez Jullundhri in his typical Jullundhri way, replied to Allama, “Doctor Sahib. Do not get upset or sad. The nation has showed you whatever it possesses”.

The remark freshened up Allama Iqbal for the moment and he smiled, losing all bitterness. Our people also should not get upset, nor should they lose hope because “the politicians are showing whatever they possess”, like the man in the story.

” Nations are born in the heart of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians ” – Dr. M. Allama Iqbal

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She had to feed her kids at home
She could not move in streets alone
Oh’ not in fear of US drones
Her pride was robbed by her own!

The land of pure, she was not sure!

His fathers dreamt of such a land
A place they’d refer to as home
But in his sons, the poor land
Yearns for souls it calls its own!

The land of pure, he was not sure!

Dead people walking in the malls
Loveless streets and hateful halls
Some call me crazy, for some I am blind
But I cannot see the love they find

The land of pure, I am not sure!

Blame the boots drunk in gains
Or feudal lords with no shame
Books of history still preserve
Nations get leaders they deserve

The land of pure, we are not sure!

Behind our weak and selfish stand
Inside our numb and faithless hides
We watched them play with our land
We watched them rape our countrys pride!

The land of pure, we are not sure!

Everything is wrong, the common song
But did you care to stand along
By your words, then why complain?
And point at others, when you are to blame!

The land of pure, you are not sure!

Can you feel this spark inside
As I lay my pen to rest
Lets vow to fight with reverent pride
And put our last hope to test!

The land of pure, LETS BE SURE!

If you consider yourself as dead
Donot get out of your cozy bed
And if you dream for change like me
Lets live the change we wish to see!

The land of pure, LETS BE SURE!

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi || A mad man, a wanderer.


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I am from those, who write “Insight”
Now Im’ blind, I have lost my sight
But to find where my beloved lies
I, my friends, need no eyes

I am from those, who choose to yearn
Dont bring water, I chose to burn
Beyond this pain is eternal pleasure
Beyond your ego, is the hidden treasure

I am from those, who choose the rift
harder the struggle, precious the gift
The Devil planned, and all was odd
Are thee drained, when prize is God?

I am from those, who are beyond the WHY
“What is this life, and who am I”
For how can you question your own fate
then blaim time, when its never too late!

I am from those, who complain not
Nor do I say, what could have been
When the only thing that concerns alot
Is what has been, and what i’ve seen!

I am from those, for whom houris dont matter
I live in a world, where dreams dont shatter
Because with every dream, hope is gifted
Hope gives me wings, and I feel lifted!

I am from those, who get stirred
when music is played, and melody’s heard
And tears like a river, begin to flow
Do not presume they spring from woe!

I am from those, who peep behind
The agony of life, The veil, The signs
What mind couldnt grasp, now heart unwinds
What seemed like points, now draw a line!

I am from those, who are meant to whine
Like a lover for his beloved is meant to pine
Like a drunkard never gets enough of wine
And this” never enough”, is called divine!

I am from those, who crave to die
Life is a blessing, But I would not lie
They say a flower is plucked in prime
Uproot my existence, O’ Beloved, IT IS TIME!

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

sufi-dancer-egypt-photographic-print-c12851258

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Thy scintillating beauty
leaves me aloft;

In union with thee
I exist not;

Reality fades, real blocked
like an adrenaline shot
the world I forgot;

like the potters wondrous hands
never caressed the skin of my thought;

When I saw the pot
My sanity lost;

Like this utterance were senseless
If you had felt the ‘ DOT

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Inspired by the philosophy of ‘dot’ in Sufism as my master Bulleh Shah says:

Pharh Nukta Chourh Hisabaan Nu
Chadd Dozakh Gor Azaabaan Nu
Kar Bund Kufar Diyaan Baabaan Nu
Ker Saaf Dile Diyan Khuwabaan Nu
Gal Aise Ghar Vich Dhukdi Eh
Ik Nukte Vich Gahl Mukdi Eh

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