Some of the points brought up in OOPS' locked thread were raised in an abrasive manner so that no one looked at it objectively. Let's re-examine
This tsunami, while being an awful catastrophe is hardly an unprecedented event. In 1970 a cyclone hit Bangladesh and killed upwards of half a million
people. In that same nation in 1991 a cyclone killed 130,000 people. In 1976 an Earthquake killed 600 thousand in China. In just the last 50 years
natural disasters have killed tens of thousands of people at once many, many times. Including several incidents in just the last decade or so.
So that does
beg the question, why is this so different that it gets mass media attention to the extent it has? I'm sure Bangladesh, one of
the poorest nations in the world got only a fraction of the aid going to this area, and very few probably even recall that 1991 event, even though the
death toll was similar. As Peter Worthington writes in the
Sun: "The Boxing Day tsunami catastrophe
may well be the worst natural disaster in human history." This event has been etched into human history while the plight of the Bangladeshi's was
barely recognized when it happened
Just a quick glance at a few of the threads going on about disaster aid tells how politicized this has become. Yesterday on crossfire was a Republican
Congressman from Virginia stating that this is a great chance to show compassionate conservatism. Republicans here are using it as an example of the
Presidents compassion. People that don't like the President are finding a way to fit Iraq war rhetoric into the midst. Non-Americans are using this
as an example to say Americans are greedy. Americans are using it as an example to show how generous we are. Oddly enough - Americans and
non-Americans are coming to opposite conclusions using the same numbers. Go figure. And lost in all this sniping is the fact that Jet Li hurt his
While seeing pictures of desolate natives, the majority of TV news stories have
been about Westerners and celebrities. I have seen one report
about a native Indonesian that lost her entire family in the tragedy, that's the only "local" that I've seen reported on. I'm sure there have
been a few others, but I've seen Petra Nemacova a disproportionate amount of times. And really, who the hell is Petra Nemacova? To say that the
effect on Westerners had nothing to do with the coverage of this is to deny a lot of evidence to the contrary.
While not lessening the tears shed by anyone about this matter, and not lessening the outpouring of generosity, this tragedy was undoubtedly magnified
in the worlds eye by the Westerners effected and the politicization of the aid "coalition" and monetary donations. This area is quickly becoming the
tug-of-war rope of the world...except when we get bored of it we can walk a way, the inhabitants will just have a muddy, forgotten hole.