I could not find a better title for this.
Sometimes, it is hard to draw readers’ attention in this instant soundbyte world. This crazy time does not give us space to think. We do not reflect. We do not share. We do not care.
Well, yesterday’s difficult experience turned into one that raised my hope one more time that even in this crazy, carnal, careless world, maybe, after all, we can still live together in a spirit of brotherhood and harmony. Yes, sisterhood too.
But this little experience was about brothers. So, for now, I’m going to focus on brothers.
Pakistani Muslim brothers rescuing an Indian [American] Hindu brother in distress.
January 23, 2014. I wrote on my Facebook status update:
“AN EXPERIENCE, JUST NOW. — NYC subway stalled because of power failure. No announcement. Nothing for 25 minutes. Hundreds of passengers shivering in dangerous cold. Mothers and small children too. It’s 10 F (-12 C). Some of us finally got out and waited for taxi. Expensive. But no taxi either. We started walking briskly, saving us from freezing. Wading through mountains of snow. A Pakistani brother called his friend 10 miles away. They came and rescued us. Dropped me off near home. I’m going to write more about it. There’s more. Precious. Memorable. I got out of the car, and said “Allah Hafez.” Amen. I’m a Hindu. But does it matter?”
What I did not write in that small, Facebook status update box is the following.
1. Indians in India, and Pakistanis in Pakistan, thanks to their rulers’ purposeful hate and belligerence for decades, aided by foreign powers, would probably never share a taxi. I’m of course talking about the vast majority. Some nuts are still there who trust each other.
2. Hindus anywhere, and Muslims anywhere, thanks [etc.], would probably never come out to help each other especially in times of need. Again, with few exceptions. Bangladesh and West Bengal, two places I know well, were different with a lot of interfaith mingling. The situation is much worse now.
3. In this extremely alienated, fragmented society called USA, outside of big, metropolitan cities such as New York, it would be impossible to find such help from complete strangers. People do not want to take chances, and I’m not talking about women and children. Even men — strong and able men — have a lot of fear about strangers. Everyone you don’t know is a stranger. To me, that’s…strange!
4. And of course, after that G-Train experience I wrote about (read here) in this blog, last night’s experience reaffirmed how badly the U.S. infrastructure has become, thanks to the Wall Street looting and government’s ignoring the ordinary people and their problems.
I want to thank you, brother (you said your name was Mohammed Ashraf?). Wherever you and your friends are, THANK YOU.
Brooklyn, New York
He is not Mohammed Ashraf, brother who rescued me last night. But look at him: is he a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, atheist? What do you think?