Tuesday, October 11, 2005

After the Earthquake: Helping Pakistan

I've been looking for constructive ways to help Pakistan with their recovery efforts. I don't know what earthquakes are like but I do know what natural disasters are like, and my heart goes out to the parents trying to dig their children out of the rubble of their schools, or find water to keep them alive.

Houston, home to roughly 80,000 Pakistanis, has had some appeals for help on the local news from the Pakistani community. Not surprisingly, some of their recommended charities are Islamic charities or the UN charities. Islamic charities have a bad reputation, and the U.N. has not exactly earned my full trust either. The American Red Cross has a somewhat better reputation; in Muslim countries, that's the Red Crescent and I am still trying to find information on whether their presence and helpfulness justifies a contribution. If finding the best charities requires thought for relief in the U.S., then ever so much more so in Pakistan.

I've put out some inquiries to military bloggers overseas to see if I can find out who, exactly, is actually on the ground right now putting food and water in the hands of people who need it. I'll update with anything I find out.

Note: No, I don't delude myself that Pakistan is really our ally; we bought the allegiance and I remember it well. But
1) I hate to see people struggling like that;
2) When it was the U.S. facing a disaster, I would have been glad to have them show concern by helping any way they could; and we're supposed to do to others what we would have them do for us;
3) Showing Christ's love may open the door to giving them real hope.

I know a certain percentage of them would gladly kill me. But whose image do we reflect? Those who hate us, or him who loves us?

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