Saturday, March 10, 2007

One or a Million! Who to save?

There are literally millions of people on the planet who need to be saved in one way or the other. The poor, depressed, uneducated, heart broken, orphaned, displaced, the rich (yes the rich need to be saved from themselves) but generally the poor need our efforts more and need us to bring them hope. But who do we save? Who is more important? Are we content saving one soul or determined to save millions? how can we do our part and still make a difference?

To give hope to these people and to assure them that they are not alone in this world is imperative. In fact it is our duty as human beings to treat our fellow humans regardless of colour or creed with the same kindness that we would expect. The grim fact is that most of the world is below the bread line and this and other economic and social factors leads to a backlog of people who are barely surviving. Everyday thousands die without a hope of being anything but a bleak statistic which organizations use to take rich people on a guilt trip.

There are numerous relief agencies and other NGO's doing tremendous work in parts of the world that some people dont even know exist. Even movie stars are making efforts to help the poor and the less fortunate adopting a kid here and there and giving them a life they would have never had. They are helping millions but still it doesnt seem to be enough and not all of us can give up so much of our time in this noble venture. Some of you will say thats nonsense and there is always time. I hope im not alone on this but sometimes there is just no time with all the other responsibilities in life and what you intend doing and what you do are never the same.

Now we all want to do something to help and to make a difference and well frankly feel alittle better because I dont think there is a person alive that doesnt feel good when helping someone so its not completely selfless. We not angels we are mortal and all have our own agendas. Now I havent made a point yet but I think I will soon,well you have read till here so please continue :)

The topic is as you can see One or a Million! who do you save? and thats my question. Is saving a million people more noble then saving one? Does it matter? Do we need to like keep score and compete about the amount of people we have helped? Keep it at a grass roots level or reach for the stars and spread yourself thin? Does one life mean less than a million?

Ofcourse I know the more people you help the better right? but what if you cant. In my opinion saving a life or helping a person is just as good as saving a million. Bringing a smile to a child who has lost his/her parents, assisting a disabled child onto his wheel chair, teaching a child to read and write, Helping an old man turn a page of a book his reading, consoling a single mother, teaching a person how to farm his land or fish, even a simple hug just to make a person feel loved are small gestures that go along way. They may seem small and insignificant but these small gestures can mean the world to a person.

Fine a hug cant make there hunger disappear, stop genocide or drought and im not saying you shouldnt give them food or relief im just saying that there is more to it then "indifferent relief". Feeding a million people will fill there bellies but teaching one man how to feed himself and he will pass that knowledge down and enable further generations to feed themselves and in essence helping thousands. Ok so basically im advocating education and some heart and thats how I feel I can help people. I could feed hundreds but if I havent brought a smile to a persons face or given them hope through a kind word, personally it will be a very hollow gesture. However I could feed one person and give them hope or even a smile and I will feel content because one life is priceless so it doesnt matter. Ok maybe my idea is abit idealistic and naive but its my view and ill practice it.

We all want to make the world turn and a better place I think I will take it one person at a time and make a difference in there life. I may make the world turn slowly but it will turn

Kuwabara, Kuwabara
The Lone Writer


Priya said...

Reminds me fo that movie: play it forward or pay it forward where if you do one good deed for someone, they have to do something good for 3 other people. So i guess that is what I would do thereby helping millions indirectly. The movie featured kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt.

queen_Lestat said...

I think that making a positive difference in a small way has a ripple effect, and I don't think that because a difference is small it's insignificant. Change for the better is always good. Eddie K and the boys at Live summed it up nicely when they said "...everybody's good enough for some change,some fucking change!!!"

A poignant one.

M Junaid said...

this blog fucken rules. i'm glad to be a K man fanboy (apart from the trekkie fetish off course)

i enjoy entropy, as thats what you kinda doing here - so, to answer your question without leaning too heavily on the two main philosophical approaches to ethics, i'd rather give one person a full meal, than give four people a morsel - yikes - i sound hectically selfish here dont i.

i guess its good to reflect on the hadith, that we should give a smile to people, because a smile is charity(albani can authenticate this)but at the same time we shouldnt sit down and say, i smiled at the world, that is sufficient for me :)

The problem with charity in south africa is two fold ( im gonna generalise here so dont get offended, you easily offendable nobs) firstly, its rather condescending in nature - and it often alleviates 'guilt' or just is done because of a more ritualistic ends. we need to approach charity differently - i think we should view it as being 'sharing'. so, instead of 'me giving you this piece of bread', rather, 'lets share this bread' - so what i'm calling for here is a complete mindset switch.

the second problem with charity in south africa is 'handout' mentality( dont get me wrong or anything- i'm not saying stop the hamper drives, thatl be hypocritical as i take part in them - but rather, if we have the means, we should be looking at long term assistance - so instead of giving two mielie meal hampers a month, perhaps invest in a piece of land and help till it or something. man gets worth out of helping himself ( all the lazy bastards reading this are probably shaking their heads :P)

K Murrad says ' Charity in its tangible, narrow sense divides people into the receivers on the one hand and the givers on the other. This division inspires among the receivers feelings of weakness and even of error, and among those who give feelings of pride and conceit. Such a division, for society, is extremely evil.'

I second this view. So, save a person, or save a million...- reminds me off the current headcount mentality that pervades most 'dawah institutions - competing to convert hundreds, while not sufficiently catering for the people after they convert. its like , 'read your kalimah, Next!' this should be like sleeping partners really. 'one at a time baby'

MJ Khan
we opening a can of worms here son. i like :)

r said...

hey mj i get what you're saying about the "guilt trip" charity but then again, at least its being DONE right? better than nothing. another problem i find with charity work in sa is the belief that only MUSLIMS deserve help. i mean what happened to helping ALL deserving people?

safiyyamk said...

if every muslim paid their zakaat rightfully, maybe we wouldnt have this problem....

Dew said...

I try to smile alot.
See-----> :)

It helps. Sometimes people look wierdly back at me though.

Zahira said...

HEy gotta agree with mj and r we have to look past the fact that people are divided religiously and look at the fact that we are all humans on this earth created by one God. Charity should be given to all because if we help one person we maybe helping the future that comes after (hope you get what I mean). Also helping a non-muslim may lead to that person becoming muslim, its ibadat in another way and another form and hopefully showing what Islam is really all about.
The thing with just giving money or hampers to people is that we not helping them in any real way.We actually giving them the easy way out. Sure there are some people who really really cannot work but not all of them.I think the majority of the beggers in SA do it because its easy. As MJ says they lazy. Paying Zakaah like we should does help indeed but there is reason why we have rules explaining to us who Zakaah can be given to. Allah wants us to help ourselves and not to offload from other people.
Sure there are many poor in Africa due to conflict and yes they deserve our charity but no matter were they have seeked refuge there must be system in place educating them so that they can help themselves. Feeding one person a good solid meal is better then giving one person a taste of heaven and then rudely taking it all away again!

M Junaid said...

i love smiling at strangers, but i had to cut down due to two reasons - A) it was misconstrued as flirting (big difference between smiling and ogling) and B) insecure boyfriends...insecure ogre sized boyfriends.

R - yeah yeah - at least its being done - well - thats not good enough - its like me saying, i miss all my salaah, at least i get Jummah, while not having a valid excuse for missing the other 34 prayers. But I second you whole heartedly on the 'we should help all' point :)

Saf - no no no my good friend - lets look at it realistically - out off the 1.6 million muslims in South Africa, only about 300 000 Qualify to give Zakaat, and that too, 2.5 percent of all their wealth will not be sufficient to balance the economic scale in South Africa. But hey, its a start.

Big smiles to all the bloggers :)
and the 'easily offended nobs' as well :)

queen_Lestat said...

*PERSONALLY* I have this belief that you shouldn't give charity outta religious beliefs only.

I think that your own sense of compassion as a human being should drive you to do things. Not saying that if you give charity cos your religion says you must isn't sincere, but I think that if you do something for another person from yourself as a human being, it just seems more compassionate than a cash handout and a heads up to God.

I agree with MJ in the main, people shouldn't be given hampers on the basis of religion alone. All people are human, regardless of religion, and feel the pinch of poverty and destitution the same way.

*gets off her soap box*

r said...

dew i smile at you on campus! u just give me the "are you weird look?".. *pout*

mazozo said...

Hmm okay im gonna go out on a limb here but anyways...

As noble as all your above mentioned sentiments are and admirable inthier determination the simple fact of life is that in order for the system to work the social system has to remain so.

The working class, slash cheap labour slash exploited will always need to be around in order to prop up the higher echelons of society. The simple fact remains that all human being by essential nature are self preservatory. Its all very well to say help thy brother however every one is looking out for themselves at an instictual level. In order to maintain the better esxistence the class above wil and do exploit the class below. The sentiments of helping is a higher brain function which only comes by on a secondary thought some people are good are strong enough to follow this sentiment with out being goaded into it through guilt. Essentially good people however, the rest of us are just trying to get by too blinded by our own stryggles to see let alone acknowledge the plight of the poor.

The addage it's a dog eat dog world comes to mind here. It is a dog eat dog world. And as mush as i hate the dude Darwin's theoery of survival of the fittest applies to social and economic context as well (not i do not advocate the bastards theory of evolution its bullshit) however i do acknowledge the fact that our world is based losely on this principal

t.a.z. said...

well said...
i come from a 'charitable' background. we're always helping people. dad's in the field. hope its not outa guilt!

this world is fucked (i dont usually swear, but this deserves it)

a five year old girl got raped today. ... she is only in preschool! i kind of know the kid.
i wish i could help... :(

mazozo said...

Sigh life and this world fucked up

Dew said...

haha R. lol.If I actually knew who you are I wouldn't give you the wired look...I try ti smile, but if someone smiles at me like they know me, that scares me, the last time that happned on campus, the guy came and slapped me on the back and said "hey its been a while!" and I swaer.I did. not know this guy!

Jus tell me you're R and then I'll :)))

Lobelia's Student said...

I don't like to go religious on these kind of topics, especially since everyone has done the generous thing and touched on the core values which those systems (ie organized religions)were originally meant to be about without getting tangled in the corrupted tentacles of dogma.

But I read your piece and an ayat came to mind...what was it about saving one life being like you saved the whole of mankind and taking one life being the same as killing the whole of mankind?

I think what this means is that the proportions in which human beings see their meanings constructed is way off. To God at least, the significance of saving someone in a small way in actual fact has the significance of saving on an epic scale. We do not know the worth of the smallest of the good that we do...or the evil.

saaleha said...

do what you can, whenever you can.

The K-man said...

Glad I stimulated some discussion I think. Hehehe

Bilal said...

we need to give time.
but we are all talk and no action!
always some excuse- work, study, family, chores. So end up never having time to help others:(