A Farewell and Edhi

Bassam Tariq is a Boing Boing guestblogger who is the co-author of 30 Mosques. A blog celebrating the NYC mosques during the Islamic month of Ramadan. He lives in Harlem, NY.

Dear boingers,

These past two weeks have been nothing short of amazing. Thanks for letting me share my stories and experiences with all of you. I will be contacting those who won the haiku competition via private message to coordinate the giveaway. I would like to stay in touch with everyone, so please feel free to follow me on Twitter or even add me on Facebook if that's not weird.

Next up for me? I will be leaving to Pakistan shortly to start filming a documentary on Abdul-Sattar Edhi. For those who do not know his work, here's a decent article on his work. In the 1950's he bought an old blue van and began transporting the sick and dead to their fated destinations. This small van called The Poor Man's Van was the first ambulance in the history of Pakistan. Though Edhi single-handedly created one of the most successful health and welfare network in Asia, he never lost his simplicity. He owns only two tunics to his name, sleeps on the floor of his foundations office in Karachi, and eats only a piece of stale bread every morning.

I met Edhi in August when he was on his yearly visit to New York. He shared with us the plight of the Internally Displaced People in Pakistan and said he never saw a situation so bleak before in his life. Edhi has been with Pakistan since its inception and has seen many leaders and governments come and go. There is not very much written about him in English, but you can find a translated copy of his autobiography at Desi-store.com. I remember asking him if he could sign a copy of his autobiography for me. Edhi doesn't speak or write much English, but he took his pen and wrote in English, "love human beings." As I read aloud what he wrote on the flap he looked to me, smiled, and said in Urdu, "it's really that simple."

Thanks again everyone.

(Picture of me taken by Omar Mullick.)

Edhi Foundation Website



  1. I wish you could blog here permanently. You’ve opened a lot of eyes, including mine, to things we might never have thought about.

    Best wishes in all your endeavors!

  2. Beautiful Aramco World cover. I began seeing and reading it in the 70’s, when my father started receiving it.

  3. Bassam,

    Thank you for your time and efforts.

    May Allah bless you and grant you peace all the rest of your life.


  4. Sorry to lose you. You’ve been by far the most interesting guest blogger in the last year. Thank you for sharing a genuinely fresh viewpoint.

  5. Thank you for bringing your perspective and awesome posts to boinboing! Enjoyed your posts and the discussions. Best to you!

  6. Please come back from time to time, or permanently! It was cool having someone with a BB-like offbeat worldview but from such a different cultural background (I am probably not saying that quite right, identity politics and labels and such…).

    I learned a bunch from reading your posts, and that is a good thing. Thanks!

  7. I have little to agree about with Islam, but it has been very informative and refreshing to see how a modern Muslim sees the world.

    Maybe that has moved us just a little bit towards better understanding, the road is long but must be travelled.

    The real task for decent Muslims is to fight the corrosive influence of fanatics, writing about Muslims that understand that what matters is the human being is something to be applauded.

    Good luck.

  8. Thanks for guest blogging! It was a pretty eye-opening experience looking at Muslim culture through your perspective. Good luck with future endeavors.

  9. While I certainly would like to see more of your insightful blogging,

    I rather doubt I’ll tag along over to twtr & fcbk.

    So please come back from time to time, and make a little noise about what interests and holds your attention.

Comments are closed.