Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Tsunami Relief Contest

Every penny is a good thing. But the media of the world and the way that people and countries are being "measured" in the relief funds for the Sumatra Tsunami is getting a bit ridiculous. Earlier today one man being interviewed on Fox News assured the anchor that the U.S. would end up being the most generous and the most involved in the relief effort. So what if the U.S. were not? Maybe we shouldn't even participate if we can't be #1 !!!!!

Our world just cannot respond to anything without attaching numbers to it and overanalyzing it. Just as this brief write-up describes, the relief effort has become a "beauty contest" as if a ribbon boasting "Top Donor" will be awarded. It seems that every country is competing for this top prize not to mention the people who are giving hefty amounts and seeing their names in the news the next day. Would they still give if no one knew?

Another question that keeps coming up on television news is that of the "perception" of America in its involvement in this area of the world. Some evidently view this catastrophe as an opportunity for America to renew its image, evidently seeing the need for "war-hungry" America to be seen doing something worthwhile, especially in an area of the world where Islam is one of the predominant religions.

If the U.S., or any other country for that matter, is only getting involved for the sake of the appearance, then the world may be better off without their help. While I don't think any country or person is purely motivated by such shallow intentions, how difficult it is to do anything altruistic in a world where actions are so scrutinized!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I'm right there with you--I've been really frustrated by the "Country X is giving more than Country Y" talk. I'm sure that some kid in Indonesia that hasn't eaten in days isn't going to care at all (for the moment, at least) about any of that--he'd just like something to eat, and maybe a pair of shoes.

Of course, years from now, when there's an outbreak of some mysterious disease in that part of the world, they'll say that the US must have sent tainted food or medicine, because we're just that evil. Oh, or Israel might poison them, that's certainly another possibility. (On a related note, I saw a great article yesterday about the ultra-orthadox Jews that do forensics stuff for all of the bombings and such in Israel. They've sent a team--or multiple teams--to the tsunami-hit area, and they're considered "the best of the best" by all of the other forensics teams working in the disaster areas right now. They're so incredibly thorough and dedicated due to their religious beliefs about burial. Very interesting, but I don't remember where I read it, maybe Yahoo.)

Wow, this is a long "comment".