Would you risk your life for RM16.00? I think not. But 23 poverty-stricken women from Pasuruan, East Java, did, and paid the ultimate price for it.
They were trampled to death in a mad rush to claim zakat money of 40,000 rupiah (RM16.00) apiece from a wealthy businessman.
I was deeply saddened to learn of the incident which happened on Monday recently (15/09/08) in Purworejo, Pusuruan, about 800 kilometres east of Jakarta.
Apparently, some 5,000 poor people made a beeline for the businessman's compound as early as 4 o'clock in the morning upon learning he was going to distribute his zakat on that day.
Indonesian newspapers and agencies reported that it had been the man's tradition to give zakat in that manner for many years and there had never been any untoward incident in the past. This time around, however, the waiting crowd got rowdy. The pushing and jostlings caused some of the women, already weakened by fasting, to tumble.
They were promptly trampled on in the ensuing mad scramble.The tragedy left 23 women dead and many more injured, some seriously.
Dear readers, marilah kita ambil iktibar di atas kejadian yang amat tragis ini. Bersyukurlah kita betapa mewahnya hidup kita, tidak perlu mengharap belas kasihan insani lain dan tidak perlu bergadai nyawa untuk mencari sesuap nasi. ..