I come from ordinary people
July 18, 2016 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Pakistan has recently said farewell to a man some saw as a saint and everyone saw as a hero.
Abdul Sattar Edhi´s was a life bigger than accolades.
The Edhi Foundation is the country's largest welfare organisation - it runs schools, hospitals and ambulance services across the country, often plugging gaps in services which the state simply fails to provide.
Peter Oborne: - The Day I met Sattar Edhi.
posted by adamvasco (17 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Beware of those who attribute petty instructions to God." - that's an excellent quote. Thanks for introducing me to this man's life work. He stood on a street corner and begged until he had enough money to buy an ambulance - I can see why the word "saint" was applied to him.
posted by sockermom at 4:12 PM on July 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is what states do. States that do not do this are replaced by those that do.
posted by effugas at 4:14 PM on July 18, 2016


Following up on the Peter Osborne link, here's the Channel 4 documentary he did in 2011, Unreported World Pakistan - Defenders of Karachi. part 1 / part 2
posted by larrybob at 4:46 PM on July 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is what states do. States that do not do this are replaced by those that do.

I appreciate what you mean in the normative sense, but as we see empirically, states that do this are in turn replaced by those that don't.
posted by clockzero at 4:53 PM on July 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think Pakistan has ever had a government complete its term. And the military has probably been in power longer than Parliament.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:59 PM on July 18, 2016


I had never heard of him; thanks for making one of the lucky 10K today, adamvasco.

.
posted by tavella at 5:02 PM on July 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's like all the Titans are dying, and who do we have to step into their shoes?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:49 PM on July 18, 2016


Thanks for posting this. I read about it when it happened. The person who told me about him said he was "as close to a saint as we can ever get," and that really seems to be true.
posted by teponaztli at 7:01 PM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's hard to overstate how important the Edhi Foundation is and how much love Pakistanis have for him and his wife. It's the main source of adoption for Pakistanis - adoption, except within families, is culturally frowned upon, but the Edhi Foundation made it work. I have a cousin adopted through them, and Maulana Edhi and his wife managed much of the process in person. The cribs for abandoned babies outside Edhi centres are a cultural icon. Edhi ambulances are ubiquitious on the streets. I believe, though I can't be sure, that they had Pakistan's first medevac helicopters. When Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Prize, there was a lot of misogynistic and conspiratorial grumbling; perhaps the only valid objection was to ask why Edhi had not been recognised first. It's not an exaggeration to say that when gang warfare overtakes Karachi, Edhi is the only succour.

I don't think Pakistan has ever had a government complete its term. And the military has probably been in power longer than Parliament.
The first elected parliament to complete its term left office in 2013; the current one is shaky and constantly subject to pressure, but is due to complete its term in 2018. In some countries, and Pakistan is amongst them, there is often no clear correlation between quality of services (particularly if one includes corruption in service delivery) and quality of democracy - indeed the perception, rightly or wrongly, is often the reverse.
posted by tavegyl at 7:08 PM on July 18, 2016 [8 favorites]


Good post, neat guy.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:16 PM on July 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I am sorry to say I'd never heard of this man until this post. His work is an inspiration, and his philosophy that humanity is more important than anything else is an idea I wish more people would take to heart.

.
posted by Janta at 8:28 PM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


What a shining star. May his light continue to radiate outward after the source is extinguished.
posted by drlith at 8:52 PM on July 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


I appreciate what you mean in the normative sense, but as we see empirically, states that do this are in turn replaced by those that don't.

Sort of. You can't just take care of people. You also have to keep the lights on. But you do actually need to take care of people. There's a reason all these religions and, shall we say, movements get into the hospital and policing game. Legitimacy matters.
posted by effugas at 10:20 PM on July 18, 2016


I recall reading about this when he passed away. The growth of the foundation into what it is an astonishing story - the will to hold it together over such a long period, so much instability. Truly inspiring stuff, thank you.
posted by smoke at 5:39 AM on July 19, 2016


Thank you for this post. I was unaware of him and his work until now. What always humbles me about such people is that we all have this capacity within us. All of us could devote our lives to helping others but we don't (well, I speak for myself). I tell myself "I do what I can" but I don't really. Here is a man who literally saved lives, who sacrificed, who went without to give to others. I'm capable of that but I don't do it. The truly spiritual people - not the ones caught up in "petty instructions" - live a life of charity and compassion regardless of their nominal faith and that's the message I take from this kind of example. Thank you for the reminder of what human beings are capable of at a time when we just see people wreaking death and destruction and we lose hope in the goodness in the world.
posted by billiebee at 6:04 AM on July 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Count me in as another who had never heard of him. Thank you for posting this.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 10:48 AM on July 19, 2016


I remember first looking up Edhi several years out of curiosity because several Pakistani friends had mentioned him with such sincere admiration and respect (and this from a not particularly starry-eyed bunch of academic and journalist types) and being shocked that I'd never heard of the man before. I'm still saddened that his profile was still so low outside of his country--although I doubt he cared much about international fame. But it speaks to the ways that global media coverage of places like Pakistan overwhelmingly emphasizes the grim and broken, and rarely takes time to look for the helpers.

Here's another good piece by S. Akbar Zaidi.
posted by karayel at 9:45 PM on July 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


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