Friday, January 07, 2005

Tiring of the Contest

The relief coming from all corners of the globe to help rebuild areas affected by the tsunami has been a source of mixed emotions for me. I am heartened by the support shown globally, by individuals and by governments. Politically, I'd rather not see governments use tax dollars this way, but we are in the system we're in, and if tax dollars are going to be spent to help people, this is one such use that it is hard to be cynical over.

Or you would think. There has been incredible cynicism shown in comments issued by those on the left and the right, questioning many donations as 'stingy'.

I think the phrase any observer should utter when considering anyone else's donation is "thank you".

Instead of "thank you", there have been insults hurled in all directions.

The left had heaped scorn on the US for its initial relief donation as too small and stingy. Increased to a significant level, the American relief is now scorned as embarassing because it is smaller than Australia's. The right has heaped scorn on Muslim nations for donations they believe to be too small and stingy, and on Hollywood types who have not given anything.

Enough. Stop the judgments. Nobody had to give anything. If you really believe in humanitarian aid, begin to take stock in the fact that there were no obligations, and yet, for the benefit of humanity, a great deal of wealth was given.

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