The earthquake: Don’t let them die – there is no valid excuse
– Appeal signed by SASNET’s board members and personnel

The Moghul Emperor Jehangir described Kashmir as paradise on earth. Today Kashmir is hell.

Winter is approaching fast. People on both sides of the border between India and Pakistan have lost everything – family members, houses, clothes, food, and the means to sustain life. There is no food, no medicine, no water … at least three million persons are ‘living’ under unimaginable conditions.
Winter means snow and sub-zero temperatures. With proper clothes and heated houses this would be a beautiful and lovely place. Without clothes and shelter the Kashmir region after the earthquake is hell for everybody. How can the people of this place survive the winter? A paradise on earth is rapidly turning into a valley of death and suffering.

Desperate calls for help are not answered – why?

For people living in the west the earthquake affects people far away, with whom most of us have very little contact with and limited knowledge about. It is an area marked by violence, terrorism and war. The conflict between India and Pakistan holds a chilling hand over our commitment. They have nuclear weapons, and they might use them.
Kashmir have since long ceased to be favourite tourist destination. Few of us are visiting the area now. We are simply not involved, not affected by the disaster. The contrast with the tsunami last December is striking.
Is this really an excuse for not helping?

Is corruption an excuse?

Will the aid reach the victims? There is no way of denying that there is widespread corruption in the societies and administrations of the affected areas. But, the more you believe that this will affect the aid that you give, the more you can rely on international organisations like UNICEF, Red Cross, Save the Children, Medecins Sans Frontieres, World Food Programme and many others.

What we must do

We cannot say that we don’t know about the disaster. Media has not forgotten, has not left the sites of the earthquake. There has been extensive reporting in newspapers, radio and TV. Appeals for help are published regularly.
This may be the biggest natural disaster ever. The poor people and societies in non-affected areas close by cannot provide the necessary material aid that is needed.

All of us have a moral duty to help. To show that humanity prevails over armed retaliation is also the only real way to fight against terrorism. If we do not do anything now, we will have to live in shame in a world without mercy!
Build a personal network about this. Spread the message. It is about our common future as a civilisation.

Remember: Every crown helps saving life.

Lund 17 November 2005

Boel Billgren, Deputy Head, International Office, Lund University
Gunnel Cederlöf, Researcher, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Uppsala University
Lars Eklund, Deputy Director, SASNET, Lund University
Birgitta Göransson, Consultant, Torna Hällestad
Rajni Hatti Kaul, Prof. of Biotechnology, Lund University
Björn Hettne, Prof. of Peace and Development Studies, Göteborg University
Bo Lindblad, Professor Emeritus of International Child Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, and Visiting Professor Aga Khan University, Karachi.
Staffan Lindberg, Director of SASNET, Lund University
Jan Magnusson, Director of studies, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University
Camilla Orjuela, Researcher, Peace and Development Studies, Göteborg University,
Pamela Price, Prof. of History, University of Oslo
Neil Webster, Director, Danish Institute of International Studies, Copenhagen

Link to SASNET’s web page on the earthquake

Back to SASNET

Search the SASNET Web Index

SASNET - Swedish South Asian Studies Network/Lund University
Address: Scheelevägen 15 D, SE-223 70 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46 46 222 73 40
Webmaster: Lars Eklund
Last updated 2006-10-30