Jeddah was afflicted last month by heavy rains that caused deaths of hundreds of people. What’s shocking is a city like Jeddah in the rich country Saudi Arabia lacks sewage system and has neighborhoods built arbitrarily. So when the rainstorm hit, the city became flooded.
Jeddah is one example of the corruption we have in Arabia. But this post is not for talking about corruption in Arabia. It’s for sharing an article I translated from Arabic into English. Farman Ali khan, saved 14 people during Jeddah flood and in his way to save the 15th person, he drowned.
His story touched us all in Arabia that Saudis launched a huge campaign on facebook to honor him, with over 22,000 members. They demanded that his family be given monetary compensation, and that a street in Jeddah be named after him.
Two weeks ago, a program on one of the Saudi channels was dedicated to honoring him. So I hope by all this Saudi’s voices are heard and their demands are granted. Of all the articles I’ve read about him in our newspapers, I only loved Maram Makkawy’s” Let ‘Farman’ be against discrimination’.
This is the translation of Maram Makkawy’s article
Even though we know in our hearts that our country and the Arabian gulf have been built and still are by the hands of Asian workers who work under scorching sun, live in overcrowded and poorly ventilated places, and wait months before they are paid, some say they have come to our country out of greed and they don’t do anything for free. And that they are the source of all evils in our angelic societies. Some even shamelessly demanded their deportation of the two holy cities as if they are terrorists or invaders..
I can say the media has contributed a lot to the spread of this negative image. It focuses on their crimes and mistakes extensively but when it comes to their positives and the great services they provide for our country, it’s almost nonexistent.
Even when one of those ordinary workers is a victim of greed, extortion ,or mistreatment by a Saudi citizen or an institute, it is not difficult for our conscience to justify their crimes and present them as exceptions and not worthy of attention.
Then Wednesday flood came and people showed their true colors. Some recorded their heroic actions in gold, others marked them with shame and disgrace.
Today I will talk about the first kind, about the hero of Jeddah.
I will talk about a man whose face exudes light as his picture shows.
He was 32 years old. He saved 14 people before the flood swept him away in his way to rescue the 15th person .Our hero’s name is Farman Ali Khan, a hero from Pakistan. His mind was occupied with one thought when he saw people crying for help…what could he do to help them? He did not say I’m a foreigner and I don’t care. He did not stand by as some of our men did only taking pictures by their expensive cell phones of people fighting when they could help. He did not even justify himself as many did by saying he had a house full of women and that he was their only breadwinner.
The need made Farman, the university graduate, travel and work at a grocery store to support his family financially. He left behind a wife, and three daughters Zubaidah (three years ), Madihah (6 years), and Jarirah ( 4 years). He hadn’t seen them for years to the extent that his youngest daughter does not remember him. And for this reason, his brothers insisted on having his body airlifted to his home so his family could take a good bye look at him after he died a martyr in a country far away from home saving his brothers of religion and humanity.
On the other hand, a few days after the disaster, a video showed us something that makes any Saudi ashamed .A clip of a Saudi man shouting at Saudi volunteers in Jeddah distributing humanitarian aid to people in affected areas and saying ” Give to Saudis but not to foreigners”.
Back to our hero, Farman. People in Jeddah agree that this man’s memory must live on in the city. And here they are demanding a street or a square be named after him. They are also demanding that his family be taken care of financially for life. Others requested that his family be given the Saudi nationality in gratitude for his sacrifice. Is there anything more nationalistic than giving your life for your country and for your people?
Let our men be like a man with a lion’s heart as Farman Ali Khan.
Let this sad occasion be an opportunity for us to rethink our treatment of expats both at the individual level in our daily interaction with them and at the state level with regard to their rights and sponsorship laws, etc.,
Let our appreciation of Farman’s sacrifice be ” Let ‘Farman’ be against discrimination”. Allah grant you paradise , Farman