Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Liberty - Post 42

Kacper was exhausted. He still didn’t manage to overcome his jetlag after the trip from Poland to Pakistan. ‘I wonder what is wrong with me… There are only four hours of time difference between Nowy Sacz and Islamabad, I should have overcome the nuisance of time a different time zone’ he thought. For a week now, Kacper kept on going to bed around 1 o’clock at night, and then would be really tired in the mornings and throughout the day. Stressful security in the country, and to some extend lots of difficult decisions that Kacper needed taking every day at his new project didn’t allow him relax sufficiently either. He would finish his working day late at night, go home, and instead of forgetting about day’s problems, he kept on thinking of them, which didn’t help falling asleep.

‘I need to learn to relax a bit… otherwise, I will burn out quickly’, crossed his mind. Kacper already had his first signs of tiredness. His bowel was discharging small amounts of blood, something that Kacper needed to take seriously, so he doesn’t end up in an operation theatre as he did two years earlier in Bangladesh…(Post 34). ‘Yes, another operation is a last thing I want at the moment’ he decided.

Kacper’s return to Pakistan was proving to be more difficult emotionally that he thought it would be. He has been to the country many times before. He first visited the place in middle of 90’ies. He then kept of flying to Peshawar on various occasions in 1999, when he worked in Afghanistan, and eventually, he came here again in 2006, with his previous organisation, when he worked for benefit of victims of the earthquake that had hit the country in 2005.

His travels to this country involve many memories. Some bit dramatic (Post 19), but mostly very happy, and funny ones too. Seeing Pakistan in so much trouble was naturally heart breaking to him… Saddest of all was that most of Pakistanis were quite negative about the future of their country – something that he had never experienced before. People in Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta, or Peshawar always appeared happy and optimistic, even during times that were surely difficult for the country – like the aftermath of the earthquake. ‘What is happening now?’ he asked himself, without being able to find sensible answers.

Today in the office, together with his team, he was working on possible scenarios on how the humanitarian situation might develop in the country. They were doing the exercise to ensure that Kacper’s organisation prepares itself for responding to crises possibly in the most effective way. There were some gloomy pictures of what might happen. To start with, the present situation is already quite dire and gloomy. Around 3 million people needed to run away from towns and villages, where they originally came from. Many of them lost members of their families, got injured, not to mention loosing earthy possessions that they needed for supporting themselves, or their families. Truly dramatic and sad!

Unfortunately, more misery is likely to happen. Most analyses show that it will not be safe for people to return to their homes for many months to come. That means continuous squatting in camps, or with families, which decided to give the displaced a helping hand by offering space in their own households.

What is very disturbing is that the number of displaced people is only likely to increase in coming months. The Government of Pakistan plan other military operations against the Talebans in Wazaristan (part of western Pakistan), which in turn is expected to produce additional 1.5 million of displaced people. ‘Mum, imagine 1,5 million human beings, 1,5 million of individuals – that is a population larger than Krakow – that need to flee their homes, their lives, their jobs, their daily duties… And this is already adding to present displaced… that is to a population that is as big as Warsaw!’ Kacper tried to explain via telephone, when his mother enquired about his present work.

If this was not bad enough, Pakistan was preparing for possible flooding that might become a reality just in a few months’ time. Indeed the Monsoon Season was coming, and heavy rains are likely to cause a massive climatic displacement of thousands of people. Adding threats of exploding bombs that keep on happening in all corners of the country, and no wonder that people are pessimistic.

Kacper got his disc with songs of Marek Grechuta. The CD nearly never fails helping him unwind, and take some perspective to problems.

‘I wish that when I leave the country, despite all odds, people will feel happier about their prospects… It needs to happen, things need to get better!’ Kacper needed to start feeling positive himself first… He closed his eyes, and got involved with the lyrics of Grechuta’s ‘The Liberty’.

PS. Kacper loved the pictures of his niece that he received by email.


  1. Marek Grechuta to mój ulubieniec pod względem muzycznym :) Natomiast pomyślałam o tych wysiedlonych - 1,5 miliona ludzi, wszystko niby pięknie ładnie ale przecież te 1,5 miliona ludzi to nie są sami silni i zdrowi faceci, ale też kobiety, dzieci, starcy... Chyba że się mylę albo czegoś nie doczytałam. Pozdrawiam :)

  2. Ależ oczywiście... Uciekinierzy to wszyscy... starcy, dzieci, niepełnosprawni... :(

  3. A wątpię żeby ktokolwiek zapewnił im godziwą opiekę :(

  4. To zależy, co się uważa za 'godziwą'. Niestety, w życiu widziałem wiele gorsze sytuacje... Uciekinierzy w tym przypadku zwykla mają miejsce do spania, dostęp do wody i do podstawowej opieki medycznej.

  5. First of all, I wish you better. The whole blood business sounds serious.

    Secondly, your insight into Pakistani daily life is very welcome. I am embarrassed to say that i had already forgot about the terrbile earthquake in 2005. Many thanks for your contribution to our world, to make it better and fairer.

    Greetings from London.

  6. It's a pleasure to read you! Take care... Besos