Imagine yourself being struck on a busy road by a car or a bus. Imagine yourself lying on the road with everything that you were carrying scattered all over the place. Imagine wet clothes on your body; wet not by water, sweat or mud but by blood. Imagine the smell of your own blood overwhelming your senses. Imagine a loved one by your side lying unconscious on the road not responding to your cries. Imagine the helplessness. Imagine yourself calling out for support, shouting for help with all the power left in your lungs. Imagine the situation, when every stranger passing by takes with them the hope of them being the lifesaving support God could’ve sent for you. ‘God has sent someone for us, hasn’t He?’ imagine the shiver in your nerves with just this very question arising in your mind.
Now imagine the tension, the powerlessness, the plight, gradually start converting into frustration, dread and anger. Imagine nobody pulling over their vehicle to help you. Imagine nobody on foot stopping by to pull you up. Are you starting to imagine the frustration? Can you imagine the valuable time that is running out of your hands with each passing moment? Can you imagine the fear that is setting in your mind regarding the loved one lying motionless beside you?
Now imagine people slowing down their cars, giving you hope that they’re gonna pull over and just when this hope is about to light up your eyes, it is replaced by despair as the car doesn’t stop and keeps on moving. Imagine this happening with all the cars on the busy road. Just imagine the exasperation.
Could you imagine anything more frustrating? Let me tell you that also because there is something more enraging than this.
Imagine bystanders all around you sharing expert opinions, making all sorts of assumptions and busy proving to each other that the accident took place the very way they are narrating it. Imagine yourself in the middle of all this. Imagine your weakness.
Can there be anything more mocking? Yes, there is. It is when instead of lending a helping hand to someone who might be breathing some of his last breaths, people start taking pictures and making videos of you suffering the agony that may lead you to the end of your life. Wasting time that might already have cost you the life of your loved one that has since the accident not moved a muscle.
Are these pictures going to be so memorable for these people? Are these going to win them a Pulitzer? Is uploading the video of someone in the most helpless state of his life going to give them some ‘Braveheart’ points? Is sharing such videos and pictures on social media something that makes them look more resourceful than others? Or does it reflect the insensitivity, selfishness and inconsiderate nature of our nation? Does it reflect how cold our hearts have become for anyone other than ourselves and our loved ones? The very people who so conveniently stalk, post and share pictures, videos and updates from others’ personal lives get so concerned with the slightest of rumors of Facebook making all our posts public.
We were never as self-indulged as we are today. We were people who cared for each other. We were people who said Salaam to strangers. We were people who sent iftar and food platters to neighbors. We shared happiness and more importantly moments of grief with others. Someone in need for help on the road got help and not stares and camera flashes.
My effort to make you imagine what I did through this piece is not just based on emotions. It is also based on experience. I have gone through a similar situation in my life but in better times. I am and will always be enormously thankful to ALLAH for sending help straightaway resulting in no loss of lives.
By the way, it wasn’t an ambulance that rescued us, a couple of strangers pulled over and took us to the hospital in their car. I wish and pray to the Al-Mighty for all of us to be safe and never ever experience such a situation. But in case you ever come across someone who is in need for help, please imagine yourself in their place for a moment and decide if you want to keep driving or do something else.
-Hammad A. Mateen