It’s no ordinary catastrophe. The destruction is downright ghastly. Myanmar was hit by the Nargis Cyclone on May 2, 2008. It’s the worst disaster to have hit the Asian continent since the tragedy of Tsunami on December 26, 2004.
As reported by Al-Jazeera, the death toll in Myanmar may well reach 100 thousand, not very far from the official figure of 160 thousand in Acheh.
Frankly, I almost paralysed with the news. Speechless, nothing else to say except returning everything back to Him, saying Innaa LiLlaah wa Innaa Ilayhi Raaji’oon.
But what shocked me more is how our community is giving the cold shoulder to this disaster. I wouldn’t be surprised if many are even unaware of this one piece of news.
Maybe they’ll take notice when their rice pot is empty, because at a time when the world is facing a critical food shortage crisis, the Nargis Cyclone has destroyed the Delta of Irrawady which supplied almost half of the world’s rice supply! Only when the disaster affects us directly, will we realize that the world is sick.
THE POLITICAL GAMES
As I feel saddened looking at the images of sprawled bodies, victims of the disaster, I feel even more angered when the hardship of the Burmese is further exacerbated by the political stance of many parties. As Myanmar has been living under hardships since 1978 under the rule of the Junta, they keep playing games with the outsiders who can’t wait to help.
The Unites States on the other hand continues to display their ugly tradition through Condoleezza Rice who announced that they are ready to help if the Junta Myanmar would allow the American army to enter Myanmar with aids and supplies!
This is the example in today’s world, of the term ‘damned politics’ which were written by Badi’uzzaman Said al-Nursi, “I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Syaitan, and from siyasah (politics)!”
What is the fate of my brothers in Islam, the Rohingyans who have lived in misery all these while in the state of Arakan, how do they fare?
MY FRIEND BOBO
Bobo, sitting on the extreme left
I don’t know any Burmese except for one. Bobo Iwin is one of the facilitators who worked alongside me during the Inter-Civilizational Youth Engagement Program (IYEP) last year in 2007. He is true and unaffected, almost devoid of mistrust and doubt.
Bobo is an activist who is a person of passion, travels a lot between Thailand and Myanmar, and introduces me many things related to Myanmar’s internal issues. He is true and unaffected, devoid of mistrust and doubt, with only positive and optimistic thoughts on the future of his country Myanmar.
I last spoke with Bobo end of last year.
“How’s Myanmar with the Buddhist monks demonstrating now?” I had asked.
“It’s very chaotic. Confusing. Let’s hope for the best,” Bobo answered.
Bobo joined many Buddhist NGOs which promotes Interfaith programmes, getting Buddhist teenagers to join dialogues and learn about other religions.
“Did you feel insulted with the statement of Malaysia’s Minister of Information who accused Al-Jazeera of portraying that Malaysia is violent and chaotic like Myanmar?” I ask again. Malaysia was abuzz with the BERSIH event at that time.
“Myanmar is in chaos. But coming from a minister, his statement has got to be better than that,“ answered Bobo. Calm… as usual.
Our talk didn’t last long as the internet line in Myanmar at that time was not too good.
I pray to Allah that the Myanmar people, as well as the brothers of Rohingya there, will be saved by Allah from this difficult test. And to Bobo, wherever you are, may you be safe and sound, till we meet again. Let’s do what we can to help the Burmese.
ALLAH FORBIDS INJUSTICE
But remember… be it kuffar being unjust against kuffar, or kuffar against muslim, of muslim being unjust against kuffar, or muslim against muslim… Allah swt forbids injustice amongst mankind. It is mentioned in one long hadith qudsi..
Narrated by Abu Dzar al-Ghifari radhiyaLlaahu ‘anhu, “Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said The Almighty has said, ‘O, My servants! I have forbidden oppression and injustice for Myself, and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another’.” (authenticated by Imām Muslim)
Yet they all refuse to back down from the crime of oppression that has shackled mankind, up to a point that Allah Himself may ‘make the changes’. Those who change only because they have to, are victims. Successful people, are those who convinced themselves to change.
Think about it!
Suddenly, after 6 months I didn’t see the Bobo’s Google Talk green button, he appeared online just now.
Bobo just arrived in Bangkok. He told me that he was at the office when the cyclone hit Myanmar. The roof of his office was blown away by the strong wind, but Bobo manged to escape the danger of the fierce Nargis force that day.
The plane scheduled to fly him to Bangkok on May 4th had been cancelled. But he later flew to the capital of Thailand as part of his efforts to mobilize humanitarian aids mission to help his fellow Burmese who were suffering as a result of the Nargis cyclone.
“How is your family?” I asked.
“They were in a different district. They’re safe,” Bobo answered.
“Alhamdulillah.. that’s how we say thanks to God!”
“Thank you. I was originally planning to mobilize the members of the Buddhist Youths for an Interfaith program, “ Bobo said.
“Yes, I can still remember when we last talked. You did mention it,” I tried to recall our last conversation.
“But because of what happened, I will focus all efforts to manage incoming humanitarian aids because that’s the priority for now,” Bobo informed me.
“Do give me any information that I can use for this campaign because I’m trying to raise awareness through my blog to help the Burmese. I think the big challenge here is that people may not be too concerned with this crisis because some may feel it’s not their business because the victims are of different beliefs,” I continued.
“That’s very kind of you!” Bobo responded.
“ And yet the message that we need to get across to everyone is that, we should care and help one another on the ground of humanity, that should have been enough. Humanity. Islam itself is a mercy upon the entire universe, that’s what the Prophet had reminded us,” I concluded the subject that I had brought up.
“Yes, that’s what we call global ethics the other day!” said Bobo, referring to the IYEP program last year.
“Yep.. so let us walk our talk!” I ended the conversation.
Crisis upon crisis are faced by mankind all around the globe, but just as Allah gives provision to each of the 1000 merchants selling the same goods in one city, I feel certain that Allah moves the heart of His servants, such that some would help here when others would help there.
So for you who felt moved by the plight of the victims of the Nargis Cyclone, do your bit. Remember, every little helps. One ringgit less, one million is no longer a seven digit figure.
Islam is mercy upon mankind… so let us care!
ABU SAIF @ http://www.saifulislam.com
56000 Kuala Lumpur