Difference between people and nation

11th March 2011, it was a normal Friday for everyone, then at about 5:45 GMT the world saw nature in its most calamitous form. An earthquake measuring 9.0 on Richter scale hit just outside the coast of North Eastern Japan. While Japanese infrastructure is built to coupe with it, there was another threat they weren’t prepared for. A tsunami, with waves soaring up as high as 13 meters hitting the coast of north eastern Japan. It was nothing like this generation has ever seen. The tsunami swallowed everything in its path, whole communities wiped out in a matter of minutes. This disaster also affected the most busiest place on earth, Tokyo. No least than a hundred thousand (may be more) were stranded for the night on the streets of Tokyo. Then one of their nuclear power plant was crippled and it was hazardous if it wasn’t controlled. It was a brutal challenge for the Japanese.

In these tough times, the Japanese people showed the world what they are made of. It was their second greatest disaster since the World War II. The prices of foods and basic necessities were lowered voluntarily by business owners, doctors and engineers made themselves readily available for public service. They started looking patients, repairing what ever they can by themselves but in an organized way. There was no looting, no riots, no complaints even when they were sleeping on the streets they weren’t blocking any corridors. There were no kidnappings, no breaking into stores and no indiscipline at food distribution centers, everyone waited patiently for their turn to come.

In contrast, if we see the response towards natural disasters of the rest of the world, I am afraid its more or less the same horrifying story. From Unites States of America to Philippines and Australia, looting, breaking into, stealing and chaotic scenes. The worst of these have to be Pakistan. Recent floods showed how people were desperate to get their hands on anything they can whether or not it belonged to them. Those who were responsible for looking after the dams fled their duties, many dams were broken to save the properties of the rich, people kidnapped little girls for God knows what reasons, they looted everything from the disaster areas, even looted the immigrants who were coming to seek shelter in the city. Even in times of disaster the nation was divided, many minorities were left out of the relief operation because they were not Muslims or belonged to a different sect. Compare the two situations, Japanese and Pakistanis, it sounds like there are animals living in Pakistan rather than human beings.

The one thing I conclude from this comparison, nations unite in times of disaster while people divide at the same time. We Pakistanis are people while Japanese are a nation. We have a compassionate example of Japanese to re-visit our national character and transform ourselves from people to nation, because history remembers nations and forgets people.


About Hasan
A Muslim with a slightly different perspective. A student of history, theology and science.

3 Responses to Difference between people and nation

  1. NFI says:

    Very rightly said! Agree with most of the article here.

  2. sameen says:

    Although what you are saying is very true that the japanese did prove that they are a nation………and pakistan is mostly divided as a nation in more than one way…….but still i think the general effort and sentiment of the pakistani ppl was very positive they tried to help as much as they could but all work was done privately………none was done at a national or govt level because of the mistrust ppl have towards the govt…..but yes we do need to revist our national character…..and soon.

    • Hasan says:

      My friend told me one time, he was on a bus from Multan to Lahore, he started chatting with the guy next to him who told him he was going to Muzafferabad (it was the time of the great earthquake in Pakistan), by that time they have developed some sort of frankness between them. My friend told him he was a generous man, the guy told him he is not going for help, rather he will set up camp at the disaster sight (like those of other refugees) and tag along in whatever aid he can get because there is a lot of ‘samaan’ from foreigners being distributed there…

      This is one of the many examples which tells us we are basically characterless as a nation.

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