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When 8 Made a Difference PDF Print E-mail
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Contributed by Yumna Al-Adeimi, Canada   
Wednesday, 01 November 2006

Picture of Old Money in Beggars Hand.Eight.  Indulge me for a moment and think of what the number 8 means to you. 

 Were you blessed with your first bike when you turned 8?  Have you been in love for 8 months?  Is 8’o clock the dreadful hour your workday begins?  The number 8 had no significance in my life, until last week.

 $8 was all I needed to get home.

After parking my car, I realized my wallet was 82 miles away and I was penniless. It was 9 am and 8 hours later I would need to drive back home.  But without a paid ticket, exiting from that callously secured parking lot wasn’t an option.  My car was in prison and I needed bail money.  Pride twisted my tongue and weakened my guts.  I couldn’t ask for $8.  Utterly desperate and unable to rid myself of dignity, I spent 8 hours praying for a miracle.  I prayed someone would read my mind and give me $8.  Where’s Mel Gibson when you really need him? 

 It was getting late and I decided to visit my imprisoned car.  I drove up to the gate but nothing happened.  I felt poor and helpless.  My eyes wandered around in desperation.  On the dashboard of the machine there was a ticket waiting to be snatched.   Maybe this was the miracle?  I inserted the ticket but the gate didn’t open.  Instead of the usual “Please pay $8” the screen said: “Please pay $3”.  He met me half way and now it was my turn to act.  All I had to do was ask for $3. 

 I went to the library and in one breath I blurted, “Hi, I am a Masters student and I am really sorry for asking you, but I really need to get home, and all I need is $3, and here’s my mp3…”  

The librarian interrupted me and said, “Oh, no worries here you go. You don’t have to explain.  Keep your mp3 player it’s only $3!”  

“No please keep it! Let me sign something at least, and I’ll return it,” I asserted. 

“No, no. You keep your stuff and if it makes you comfortable sure, you can return the money, here—you can write it here.”

 I drove home that night with intense unrest.  Is this what poverty feels like?  Like a cloak of humiliation shackling humans from doing the very basic things in life?  Is this what it takes for poverty-inflicted persons to ask for money?  If so, why do we deem those who gather the courage to ask unworthy of our money? 

 Maybe you think everyones ‘got to work for their money’: what’s sacrificing dignity as a price for a few bucks to feed a hungry body?  So what if we say no to people who ask? It’s not our responsibility to quench their thirst or hunger. 

 Maybe not.

 But try forgetting your wallet at home one day.  Try asking strangers for money.  And then try recalling the times you shooed away children pulling on your shirt begging for 5 Riyals.  Remember when you pompously ignored the pleas of the frail mother begging for your attention.  Then think instead how you successfully played a part in creating a society where human beings are conditioned to ask for one of the most difficult things in life, simply to survive.  

 Maybe then you will realize it’s your responsibility to answer the needs of people as much as it’s the government’s responsibility to put its money where its mouth is.  More than 30,000 hungry children flood the streets of Sana’a [1].  42% of the Yemeni population lives below the poverty line [2].  Over 1 million beggars were on the streets during Ramadan [3].  Where were we? Fasting to feel the hunger of the poor.

 

 


Views: 1671

  Comments (14)
 1 :(
Written by Guest, on 05-11-2006 07:07
Sad but very much true, however I hate to disagree but giving away money to "chidren pulling on your shirt is just not right. I personally rather see someone selling anything as simple as a flower that he/she snatched off from the road than just plain begging. ( Take note if the person is "Physically" challenged than I can understand ) 
 
Finally,We all work to make the money ,it just doesnt come running to us so if they wanted to end their misery dont you think they should work for it as well? I also want to add that some of the beggars in Sanaa have become a nightmare ,they are so forceful and would even swear at you if you refuse to spare some change! 
 
p.s just curious did you have a cell phone at the time you needed the money? , cause it would have been easier if you called some friend close by or even your own parents/siblings to rescue you. 
 
my 8 dollars 
 
:grin
 2 My point of view
Written by Guest, on 06-11-2006 04:24
Asking strangers for money is really difficult and humiliating, however, if you happen to do it more than 300 times a day, I guess it becomes a second nature.  
 
It may be admirable to give those who ask for money, but, I think our prophet PBUH made it clear to us that giving those who DO NOT ask is more rewarding. 
 
I?m not saying we shouldn't give the needy. All I?m trying to say is our attention should be well directed at those who'd rather die than exchange their dignity with money to survive.  
 
Ahmad 
:eek :eek :eek :eek
 3 Dignity vs 8 bucks
Written by Guest, on 06-11-2006 06:25
Thank you for the beautiful touchy article. I think I understand your situation the most because I have been in the exact situation with a parking machine asking for $4 from a man that forgot the whole pack of cards home. :upset 
 
I completely agree with you in providing money for people in need but it is not always right. In my opinion, begging in yemen became somehow like a fashion and the concept of being poor and needing money is almost gone. 
 
To illustrate that, if you pay "qat" souq a visit at any given time, you would find 10's of young female beggers that chase to find men to beg for money in a manner that would upset God before it upsets the man. 
 
As our friend mentioned above, showing people the intention of making a living will drive people to give a way.  
 
Thanks again for the topic 
 
Dhaifallah
 4 ment thanks
Written by Guest, on 06-11-2006 11:21
actually many thanks for this real situation that we deal with it every day in all arab countries espcially in yemen  
and i want to tell you about yemen 
i think you that more than 60 of the Yemeni population lives below the poverty line as you know a little guys in our country stolen the mony and the others go the hell
 5 Poverty
Written by Guest, on 07-11-2006 09:04
Thats all about POVERTY," alfaqr kafer". 
Thats why our religion told the wealthy to donate to the poor. As Ahmad mentioned above, giving those who DO NOT ask is more rewarding. We can still help those who ask, either by providing a source of life, or help them get something to sell. 
Beside the lack of money, work vacancies is also missing around. Push those who CAN work to work for the money they want to get, and arrange the help given to those who can never make the simplest activity. 
 
Adnan Al-Sakkaf :-)
 6 ummmmmmm
Written by Guest, on 08-11-2006 21:25
do u seriously believe yemanis are going to start givin out their money? :roll just look at the comments on top. fastin is POINTLESS when ppl like these readers who commentted still dont think they shoudl give any money to the poor. thanks for trying to convince them though!!!
 7 Written by Guest, on 09-11-2006 05:35
"By the way; 8$ is more then enough to hire a nice Taxi from Sanaa to Taiz including Qat for yourself and for the Driver!!" 
 
WHat the heck?? You kidding me? 
 8 Written by Guest, on 09-11-2006 08:45
LOL abu tareq.. its obvious no need for convinience ... y3ni its waqe3 malmoos .. argue with logic buddies..  
 
[A.D]
 9 Written by Guest, on 12-11-2006 15:49
In Yemen... Raha Taxi is what you call an oxymoron! not a hint of raha when ur on one of those ancient cars where the driver's a qat-lovin smoke-puffin scary scary man.  
 
About the comments..  
 
"I also want to add that some of the beggars in Sanaa have become a nightmare ,they are so forceful and would even swear at you if you refuse to spare some change!" 
 
and 
 
"begging in yemen became somehow like a fashion and the concept of being poor and needing money is almost gone?  
 
 
it's interesting how we see ourselves as moral regulators of the poor, or as though we know what they're all about. the question to ask here is not what they've become, but why have they become so desperate to survive?  
 
"All I?m trying to say is our attention should be well directed at those who'd rather die than exchange their dignity with money to survive."  
 
why this conditional helping? What if you asked someone for help and she responds with ?sorry I have to go find someone else who needs my help who doesn?t ask for my help?? ??? 
 
 
sorry guys/gals.. but the points you've made perpetuate the very same ideology we see towards the poor worldwide in this case you seem to have found cultural and religious support for it? I find that quite sad. :?  
 
thanks for ur time and comments though 
 
Yumna
 10 Written by Guest, on 16-11-2006 20:16
thanks Yumna, for yet another very nice article. I enjoyed reading it and was moved as usual by your writings... 
 
I say give, always give, especially in Yemen where statistics say out of any 2, one is leaving below poverty line. Unless you are 100% it is not the case then just give, and your ?ajr? from God is already written for you even if the beggar was lying. 
 
It hurt us when we ask others for money one time, what is it doing to them asking all the time? 
 
May Allah makes us only in need for him and no one else as long as we shall live ... 
 
fee aman Allah. 
adeeb 
 11 Comment
Written by Guest, on 17-11-2006 00:45
Just a little comment on the post above that says:"It hurt us when we ask others for money one time, what is it doing to them asking all the time?" 
 
Well, it turns out to be a "habit" if we ask more than once. So, it becomes totally OK once we get used to it. 
 
 
Mona Qasem
 12 Written by Guest, on 17-11-2006 05:15
yah it gets a habbit...but this is worse, when you dignity humiliation becomes a custom and you become used to it. they don't choose to get used to it; they are forced to. if you have to ask many times you will try your best to never think of its pain. you will try to ignore any feelings you have. 
 
I know there some people that are not working hard enough and by helping them we are actually encouraging them to continue their neglegance. However, I still think that "Joo3 is Kafer". Have you ever been so hungary that you can't even move, I didn't and I don't think any of you did.Have you ever had to sleep in the street. I have hard time when I am not sleeping in my bed what if I am sleeping n the street. these people's feelings are killed if they feel more than that they will die... 
 
O_ 
 13 Written by Guest, on 17-11-2006 05:16
"Joo3 is kafer" pardon my english arabic :) 
 
O_
 14 Written by Guest, on 23-11-2006 01:52
:? :? :? :? :?

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