Thursday, September 15, 2005

Terrorism + Poverty = ?


Bored at work, I decided I should go for a spin around the city with my partner in crime, Timmy. While aimlessly touring the streets of Islamabad, he decided he needed to go to Telenor and pay his bill. I figure it would be a priority since the cheap bastard couldn't call out thanks to Telenor barring his outgoing calls.


He ran in, I sat in the car and waited. I rolled down my window while looking at this young boy walking my way. He couldn't have been more than 11-12 yrs old. He had another younger boy with him, perhaps 7-8 yrs old. The older boy in question was wearing a very dirty diesel t-shirt with carpenter jeans, the kind you find at GAP. Sneakers on his feet, probably Nike considering the way his getup was, but that's not important.

He walks up to my car, all the while I am thinking, wtf is he looking at me so intently for. For a moment, I thought he was into dudes and wanted to pimp himself...the sick guilty mind of a male slut...anyway, so he comes up to my car and starts talking. Now, he has an accent, but he looks Pakistani. I gathered he was asking for money, but it didn't strike me as unusual until I realized how he was speaking. He wasn't moaning, he wasn't reciting a memorized, over-dramatized speech. He was actually talking naturally, a little fast, but I imagine nervousness can do wonders to someone’s speaking ability.

This young man was a refugee from Iraq, here with his family as runaways from the Americans, the fundis as well as the republican guard. Whatever the reason may be, that is not my concern. I gave him whatever I had in my wallet, not much, maybe a few hundred rupees, but it was the first time after a long time that I truly felt sad for someone else. I mean, it hit me like the great depression, this young boy walking the streets with his younger brother is begging for money wearing whatever he was wearing. It doesn't look like a kid living a comfortable life with an addiction to beg, instead it's a kid whose life was torn from within his very hands and now he was lowered to begging for survival. There was a time those clothes were his luxury buys, now they are his only buys. He looked as though he hadn't showered in days.

He said he was here to work for the UN and I don't understand how being that he was only 12 yrs old. Maybe I misunderstood him and meant his father was. We communicated in Urdu and it didn't occur to me until later the method with which we communicated so much in such little time.

I found it ironic that someone had to come to Pakistan to beg for money. Things must really be quite destitute where he hails from in Iraq that he had to resort to such an extreme move.

On another note, just briefly, I can see terrorism now intertwining with poverty and some how being proportional to one another. A sort of hand-in-hand relationship. You wipe out a nations stability, shock therapy to the core, displace all the people in your way, spank a few for fun and say it never happened and then suddenly you look at the developing / third world and wonder why there is still so much poverty, so much hatred and very little evidence of where all the AID money has really gone off to?!?

Think about that for a moment...

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