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Thread: Can you spare a billion, sister?

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    Can you spare a billion, sister?

    Can you spare a billion, sister?

    Anjum Niaz




     









    J.K.rowling
    Can you spare a billion for Pakis­tani kids, Jo­anne Kathleen Row­ling, who need to be res­cued? Just hold this thought?
    Meanwhile, what has fifty got to do with it? Plenty. Apart from blowing out 50 candles on her birthday cake recently, the first author to become a billionaire can put down her pen and instead give herself a pat on the back for rescuing hundreds of children locked behind bars, cut asunder from families. ‘Lumos,’ her charity, has turned 10. J.K. Rowling is the same woman who as a single-mom, lived in a cold, cramped flat in London’s welfare housing with an infant to care. With no heating or money to buy diapers for baby Jessica, the mother took refuge in public toilets to warm themselves and use the diapers that lay around.
    In 1990, while travelling on a train from Manchester to London, Harry Potter came alive on paper, that too on toilet paper! “Harry Potter just sort of strolled into my head. He arrived very fully formed. It was as though I was meeting him for the first time,” Rowling is oft quoted while describing the origin of her billion-dollar story plot. “I really don’t know where the idea came from. It started with Harry, then all these characters and situations came flooding into my head.” With no paper or pen to swiftly scribble the storyline as her fertile imagination began streaming, on hindsight it proved a blessing in disguise. “Perhaps, if I had slowed down the ideas to capture them on paper, I might have stifled some of them”, she says when describing the magic moment of her inspiration for her Harry Potter series. Once the story was fully formed in her mind, Rowling quickly dashed to the nearest loo to grab toilet paper and borrowing a pen from somewhere, she plotted not one book but its seven sequels during the four-hour journey.

    After earning billions off children, Rowling decides it is ‘pay-back’ time


    Serendipity, would you not say?
    Rowling’s fertile imagination once again came into play when in 2005, she perchance happened to see visuals of children in caged beds. Locked up in institutions in the Czech Republic, Rowling knew she had to do move to set them free. So, she set up a charity called ‘Lumos.’ Today, it works on projects in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Moldova and Montenegro “to end the systematic institutionalisation of children” who are sexually abused, orphans, severely malnourished, mentally or physically handicapped. Rowling hopes to expand her work to more countries in coming years, “across Europe, and to see children placed into safe, caring environment.” Her vision is a world where all children are raised in a safe and caring environment; where none are placed in large, uncaring institutions.
    Why focus on children? Because Rowling earned her billions thorough casting a magic spell on children (adults too!) through her Harry Potter series. Now it was time for her to give back. To children, of course! To those children who were denied normal happy lives under one roof with their loving families, just like the orphan Harry Potter. The Potter storyline is about good versus evil. Hollywood turned the series into eight blockbuster movies, earning billions of dollars.
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    Rowling’s own life trajectory is as chimerical as the teenage magician she wrote about. How did an ordinary woman with no fancy college degree in creative writing (these days it’s virtually mandatory for fiction writers to attend intensive creative writing workshops) beat everyone to it? “I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me,” she told the graduating class at Harvard University. Rowling may not have gone to Harvard, but she was invited to give the commencement address in 2008. She opened up her heart to the fresh graduates telling them how she considered herself “the biggest failure” seven years after she graduated. Why? Because Rowling said her life was a mess - a failed marriage, no job, and a kid to take care for. “Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential,” she told her hushed audience. “Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized … I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
    Wow! That’s a lot to take in for anyone looking for inspiration who is currently down in the dumps. Does adversity change your thinking? It surely changed one man’s life — Walt Disney’s. The icon of animation and creator of Disneyland, the theme parks in California and Florida that pull millions of visitors each year, declared, “all the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me ... you may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
    Can you spare a billion sister J.K. for Pakistani kids who need to be rescued? Don’t forget the hundreds of children who were sexually abused by a gang of 20 to 25 men at Hussain Khan Wala village in Kasur. The molesters made 400 videos of the boys being sexually abused. Later, the same sick stories flared up in Hafizabad. Had these stories been picked up by the international media highlighting the abuse, exploitation and violence Pakistani children, maybe, just maybe, they would have caught Ms Rowling’s imagination. Don’t forget, it was the media in UK that showed photos of kids being caged to their beds in Czech Republic that led the billionaire author to start ‘Lumos.’ The documentary Pakistan’s Hidden Shame too put the spotlight on how young boys were sexually abused by pedophiles. We even see a clip of Imran Khan lamenting the prevalence of child sexual abuse in our society. As a nation, we have failed to protect our children, Imran Khan laments. But he too plays politics and quickly points an accusing finger at the Punjab government for letting such heinous things happen to the children of Punjab.
    What about the all the children across Pakistan? Where are our billionaires and millionaires? They owe their fortunes to the people of Pakistan. Should they then not step forward, like J.K.Rowling has done, to save innocent children from all kinds of brutalisation?
    Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, October 25th, 2015

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