Saturday, September 17, 2011

An Alien in an Alien Land

Something unusual happened last month. It affected me to my core. 

I was in Islamabad for the weekend and went to spend the night with a relative who is in the army. Some suspicious activity at the base alerted the whole security team and my relative had to go to deal with it. After a while he called me to help him out in interpreting a suspect they caught around the base who could speak no other language but Persian. I know basic Persian and I was ready to help but I did not know what lay just few minutes ahead of me. 

The guy they caught wore a torn shalwar kameez. His shalwar (trouser) was completely torn and his kameez (shirt) was torn off from certain places. He was around 35 or 40 years old and had a light skin. This bearded person had medium height and had the features of a Tajik/Uzbek of the former USSR with small eyes, hard facial construction and strong built. It took 6 army officers to hold him down while I asked him questions. 

Every time he answered my basic questions in Persian, and I would convey it to the officers, the soldiers would beat him. Whatever he said was considered a lie because his answers were quite insane. How can a guy from a separate part of the world end up in front of an army base in the middle of Pakistan? Something was wrong. He had NO money and NO ID. He could not speak Urdu or any other language spoken in Pakistan (except for Persian and very basic Pushto) and he was here. The part that disturbed ME the most was when he was being beaten. His cries and his screams were killing me. But I knew it was necessary. He was avoiding many of my questions but after some strong beating he started giving me good, but still vague, answers. 

Beating was a necessity in such a situation. Being a person who fails to express his emotions many times, I could not control my emotions and decided to make up answers of my own to help this alien get out of misery. But, I could not do that. It was a matter of security and I must realize my responsibility of working for the greater good. I just did what the officers told me to. At such a point in life, one must remain as objective as possible while caging those soft emotions for the moment. 

Then later, as I pondered over the whole situation, it did depress me. If you look at it this way, the guy was from a remote area of the world with nothing even close to the words "technology" or "modern -life." These people can be easily fooled or easily impressed by something as simple as a Pen. They only live on whatever the earth offers in their area. They eat simple and dress simple. They sometimes have never even seen a television set or a car. Read books by Greg Mortensen to get an idea how it is like in such parts of the world. They are physically strong because they eat pure food and do manual labor. After keeping all this in mind, put yourself in his shoes. Imagine being in a land with uniformed guards with guns and not being able to understand them. Then imagine being beaten up. You have no money and no documents. You don't even have relatives and you think that these people with guns may kill you. 

The end result was that the guy was found to be a victim of fraud. Someone had promised him job and money in Pakistan and smuggled him here through mountains. He was fooled and his money was taken. Humans are pathetic. Worse than animals. The reason why he was not telling me the truth was that he feared we may kill him as he had broken many laws to come to Pakistan. Of course we would never kill someone just like that. I had to assure him he would not be shot dead and must cooperate to ensure his safe return to his own country. He did cooperate at last and was sent back after verification. 

We are so insignificant. And there are so many inhuman acts happening all around the world. Dear friends, please step out of your air-conditioned lives and see the atrocities of the world. Learn from it. Condemn it. Wake up and fight those who may call themselves humans but are worse than animals. And friends, realize the fact that we are very insignificant but our actions may have a huge impact on this world. You are insignificant but you are powerful. Rise up.



  1. It's sad to see such inhumanity. I've read Greg Mortenson's books and they also affected me deeply. You did a good thing helping that poor man. Even trying to figure out a way to save him, despite the security problem, is an act of humanity.

  2. oh my god, i feel really sorry for that man who was so cruelly tricked. :(

  3. Thanks Areesha and Furree Katt. I love Greg Mortensen books.
    Furree, I pray he managed to get back home safely. I hope so.

    Whiskeyyyyyy I love you too :-) my something-close-to-a-sista :-)