Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our leaders need to learn from the Venezuelan President

Recently, Venezuela was hit by torrential rains and devastating floods that rendered over 100,000 people homeless and killing some 30. Moved by the miseries of his people, the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered to erect a Bedouin tent for him, gifted to him by the Libyan president Gaddafi. In the gardens of his presidential palace, while allowing the homeless to move into the presidential palace till arrangements are made for the their shelter. As per a news report, already 25 families have been shifted into the presidential palace. He has even asked his staff to put beds in his office to make more space.

Now compare the devastation by flood in Venezuela and Pakistan. In our case the flash floods affected some 20 million across the entire length and breadth of the country. The homeless still shiver in the cold weather under the sky in tents, which cannot stop the chilly winds from penetrating inside and making the life of the homeless miserable and pathetic. Has their plight has any effect on our leaders? Did anyone made the gesture of vacating his official residence for the flood hit people? Except for few photo sessions during the flood days, the people of the water seem to have been totally forgotten. The showy motorcycle appearances and sitting on ground with the poor in creaseless and well pressed clothes have long been gone. The palatial living by the kings and ministers continues with no disregard at all for the people suffering for want of food, warm clothing and shelter.

A few days back I wrote “Have we forgotten the flood victims?” and aired my feelings. But the recent news and humanitarian gesture shown by the Venezuelan President makes me appeal yet again to all and sundry not to forget the flood victims and continue to help them as long as they don’t get back to their homes. But it seems they would never find any home for them unless they beg or borrow to make a shelter for them.

The world still remembers Haiti flood victims, but no one seems to be caring for Pakistani flood victims as they feel that since their own government and people have abandoned them, why should they extend a helping hand. The credibility issue of the government made many not to open their coffers for the fears of its getting squandered and embezzled. In the end, the people and victims of the worst floods in the history of Pakistan are suffering. I wish Hugo Chavez was our president.

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