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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tsunami Disaster revisited

I think I'll bring this post back to the top of the list for a while. Most people have "Where to donate for tsunami relief" links and so on at the top of their pages, but I think there are other facets that need to be thought out a little. On that note, I have a few random thoughts I am going to try and express.

From Roto-REUTERS:
"Aerial view of people sunbathing next to Patong beach, Thailand, four days after a tsunami hit the area, on December 30, 2004":

I guess everyone helps any way they can.

Japan is the biggest donor among 44 countries that have promised aid, pledging $500 million. The U.S. has promised $350 million, the U.K. $96 million and Sweden $75 million. Canada doubled its aid promise to $80 million yesterday. China increased its contribution to $60 million, and Taiwan upped its pledge 10- fold to $50 million.
Not on this list is Saudi Arabia. They contributed $30 million.
Now I say, good for Japan. They're the biggest donor. How much did France donate? Hmmm. Don't see them up there at all. They're probably just coming out of hiding from the fear of a second wave hitting them. But Saudi contributed $30 million. Make that only $30 million. Surely, a nation as wealthy as Saudi could cough up more.

Lotsa bucks. And that's just the major contributors as of now. There are still a lot of individuals contributing which may never be completely tallied.

Now we have Islamic websites saying this sort of drivel:
"However, your beloved Muslim brothers and sisters deserve more and more of prayers and du’aa’. They deserve your moral and financial assistances. You should share their sorrow and difficult time and do invoke Allah to accept them among the Shuhada’ or martyrs on the day of Judgment.'"
Wait a minute. Is this the same Allah a whole bunch of murdering, beheading, homocide bombing, camel fucking towel-heads in Iraq who, by the way are trying to kill us infidels, are worshipping? You mean us heathens are going to use our capitalist, godless trucks and aircraft (which were bought using infidel taxes, garnered from christians, jews, atheists etc.) to transport capitalist, godless supplies (which were bought using infidel taxes, garnered from christians, jews, atheists etc.) driven and flown by christians, jews, atheists etc., to help out people who would rather see us all dead? Don't forget the image of the fella wearing the Osama t-shirt while looking over dead countrymen. That gives us an idea of whom we're helping out over there.
I have to take issue with reaching out a hand to pick someone up from the ground when they've fallen, if I know that when the stand, they would just as soon kill me as say thanks.
But we don't stop and ask them what their personal feelings or religions are now do we? We offer to help.

Now I also think of Oil-for-food. How many corrupt pockets are getting lined from this disaster? Not just corrupt individuals handling the money locally or even abroad. How much gouging is going on? How many local businesses are charging twice, triple, quadruple the price for their goods and services just because the demand is there and now and so is the money?

Some say this disaster was God's will. Mmm, if you're religious, I guess you could believe that. Some ask though, if this is the same god who allows innocent people to get beheaded. If this is the same god who allows a mother to drown or chop the arms off her child because she can no longer cope with reality. If this is the same god who allows millions of people to die at the hands of one psychotic individual.
If you're a scientist, you probably believe the layers of the earth are constantly advancing and shifting, and eventually, they're going to jiggle a little. There are some beautiful places to live on this planet and it also seems that living in these places comes with a little risk.
California is also on a big fault line. Florida has the occasional bout of inclement weather. (Of which there were four of this year. Gee. Do you think any of that $350 million could have been used locally?) And so on.
If you build a house or a business in a risky area like that, you just may have to deal with the odds when the dice are rolled that way. God's will or not.

Update: As I wrote previously:
"There are still a lot of individuals contributing which may never be completely tallied."
Looky here: Private U.S. Aid for Tsunami Tops $200M
"...more than $200 million raised as of Tuesday. One charity said online pledges were coming in at the rate of $100,000 an hour."
This is individuals. Not the government. I would be curious as to what other nations' individuals are donating. You know, the nations who think we're selfish capitalistic assholes.

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