Life’s Labour Lost

DSC_1046 copyI spotted this man on a weekend visit to old Manama.
This was on a Friday at a mini flea market where used clothes, shoes, slippers, combs, and even tooth brushes are sold at prices ranging between 50 fills and a couple of dinars.
The man was “selling” tattered trousers, shirts and scarves, a few broken toys and some pieces of plastic.
He sat on the road, next to a stinking trash bin, which he also used as a shelf to display some of his wares.
No one stopped at his “stall” and he did not utter a word – there was this blank, lost and forlorn look on his face.
Possibly an Indian, Bangladeshi or Pakistani, this man is not alone.
There are thousands like him who need help. They have no identities, no passports, no income and, perhaps, nowhere to sleep.
These people, as a recent news report indicated, even sleep on a park bench, their version of “home”.
They need help. They need their embassies up and about to find, aid and possibly ‘outpass’ them home.
The government does its bit but it can do only as much. The respective missions should be more pro-active and give such matters the seriousness they deserve.
That can only happen, however, when senior officials have a hands-on approach and are in the field to take the proverbial bull by the horns.
It cannot happen, however, if these officials are busy attending fairs, patronising fashion shows or promoting “culture”. Sadly, this is common.
Gone are the days, not long ago, when we had ambassadors on the spot organising relief efforts even after a minor incident. Also history are times when senior government functionaries were kept on their toes, knowing embassy staff would be on to them.
Not only embassies, local community clubs, women’s associations and so-called human rights organisations are in the same boat. They organise song and dance shows, cookery competitions, talent hunts and the likes and never fail to call in the ever-obliging embassies’ officials.
All that senior staff have to walk the streets every Friday and see, at the end of the day, what they come up with.
Even if each embassy ends up getting help to a handful a week, they deserve a pat on the back.
But will they do that?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Abhitab says:



  2. Karan says:

    Good article. I have seen such people very often in Manama streets. Sometimes my reaction on seeing them is more of anguish than sympathy, more anger than compassion. Cos’ mores often they have brought this situation upon themselves.


  3. singhcircle says:

    Reblogged this on SinghCircle and commented:

    This is a re-post from May last year. Am posting this again tonight after a drive through the Old Manama Suq and looking at the vast multitudes of people from all over the Indian Sub-Continent going about their business during the only time of the week they leave their labour camps or work places, and only for a couple of hours!


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