Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Giving till it shows off

There's virtually nothing I can say about the tsunami that hasn't already been said. But a couple of points keep rattling in my head about it.

Number one, of course: donate. I did it early on and am proud of not being on an official bandwagon; of course, my company just sent out a memo yesterday telling us they'll match donations if we do it their way, so now I have to go see if a pre-donation will be matched or not. As noted on Radosh, if you haven't donated by now, there's not a lot of hope for you. (More places to donate there.)

But what's been strange is watching the bandwagon go rolling down the hill. Do bandwagons do that? Each country seems to want to top itself in how much they're giving; this morning the BBC indicated Japan was giving the most, now Australia is practically at a billion dollars. Which is marvelous and wonderful (and odd in some cases: Apparently Pres Shrub is giving $10,000, which I assume is a personal donation) but just feels like one-upmanship at this point. Not that the money isn't needed ... but it feels disconnected from reality.

And one disconnect is that there are so many other mass-killers and long-term problems which need this kind of money across the rest of the world. Getting AIDS money is like pulling teeth (if it isn't attached to some kind of fundamentalist religion); malnutrition and disease and neglect and, oh, say, genocide (re: Sudan) keep people getting murdered left and right. Even after the massacres in Rwanda, no one said "hey! Let's send money there!" and that was well over a million people.

Not that the money isn't deserved in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Not that the destruction, the random sudden violence of it isn't shocking. But ... the proportion seems lost in the process.

And then I read about opportunists and others who have run through the destroyed areas and kidnapped young children to sell them, who have raped young women and young girls, who have essentially turned into animals. Or you could say they were animals before this. If there is a hell, these people are going to it, but that said, if there was a higher deity, surely these people would have been struck down before they got home that night.

It all just makes you wonder. Really, it does.

No comments: