January 15, 2023

The moral depravity of the civilized world

A vast swathe of Pakistan has been submerged under water due to the recent floods. Credit photo: AP Photo/Zahid Hussain

33 million. It is about the same number of people who call Canada their home. It is 10% of the population of the United States. 

33 million people. Humans. Old and young. Men and women. Children. 

33 million lives.

33 million stories.

Sounds so random doesn’t it? 33 million. But it isn’t. That is the number of men, women and children who are starving, afflicted, sleeping on the side of roads that haven’t been washed away. It is the number of men, women, children who had a house, a home, family, friends, pets, relationships who now don’t even have access to clean drinking water. It is the number of men, women and children who are frying under the open skies in the bright unrelenting sun, whilst malaria, dengue, dysentery, fungal infections have a field day. 

33 million.

It is the number of men, women and children who have been abandoned, to fend for themselves, to fight for morsels at the feet of the ever self aggrandizing and self declared magnanimous governments and nonprofits of the world. It is the number of people who have become invisible to any and all. Maybe they should have been one of the Notre Dames, burning high into the sky. Maybe then the world would wake up and take stock. But no. Malnourished brown folk from the global south, often accused of being uncivilized, often hated and reviled for their faith, are invisible. Their pain is invisible. Their suffering is invisible.

I’ve seen this fact quoted out and about often. Pakistan is responsible for less than 1% of global warming emissions, and yet it is in the top 10 countries most at risk due to global warming. But it isn’t at risk anymore. The catastrophe has arrived. It is here. It is now. When the floods stop one day, we will suffer droughts. Our plains will turn to deserts, our water will evaporate, our livestock which has been washed away will become famished and die. Our food chains will perish. And as invisible as we are, what will we do then?

The West has set out on a path of irreversible destruction to our planet. In their quest for putting money and profits above all else, they have deliberately ensured that the “collective and greater good” becomes a pejorative term. Because it is now an “us” vs “them”, instead of “all and everyone.” The flood waters will recede, but ruins are just beginning to form.

Pakistan, a poor country, drowning under increasingly furious flood waters, has been abandoned.