Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Guilt of Disaster (or "How to Get Millions in Aid from America")

Is anyone, other than me, more than a little angered by the recent negative news about our country and its perceived lack of charity for the tsunami victims in southeast Asia? Well, I am thoroughly peeved.

I am, let me assure my gentle readers, deeply sympathetic for the victims of such a monumental disaster. This once-in-a-century (or two) catastrophe is a horror for its victims, probably as great as any in recorded history. I am saddened as I hear stories of the hundreds of thousands dead, injured, or homeless. The loss of human lives and property will be disastrous for the region.

What I have another completely different set of emotions - namely, anger, outrage, intense frustration - for is the apparent U.N. doctrine that we, as the world's most productive and "rich" country, are "stingy" and somehow responsible for the whole mess. I will go so far as to say I am thoroughly ticked off.

By now, with the liberal-leaning mass media trumpeting these criticisms of our country (as they always do), you are familiar with the story. U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland, a Norwegian, said on 12/27/2004 that "If actually the foreign assistance of many countries now is 0.1 or 0.2 percent of their gross national income, I think that is stingy really. I don't think that is very generous."

This from an overpaid [I have no idea what he is paid but, if he works for the U.N., I am sure he is paid out of proportion to what he actually accomplishes - such is the nature of that august organization] paper pusher for an organization widely known as the great "Black Hole" of charitable institutions. The more "contributions" the U.N. demands from the world's countries, the less it accomplishes and the more bloated it becomes. The more money they "guilt" from our country and others, the more corruption they ooze out and the more officials they can overpay to criticize the Western world, our cultures and, of course, our "stinginess."

[Rhetorically, I ask Mr. Egeland: Exactly how much did the U.N. (and the rest of the world) contribute to disaster relief and rebuilding in the southeastern U.S. after this fall's catastrophic, multi-billion dollar onslaught of a record number of hurricanes?]

Perhaps he would be better served to ask Koffi Annan and his son and all the other corrupt U.N. flunkies to simply write out a check from their soaring bank accounts, recently filled to capacity from skimming off the Iraqi "Oil-For-Food" Program, and take care of the whole disaster? Maybe he could get more sympathy (read: dollars) from countries actually in that regions of the world (Russia and China, perhaps?) instead of singling out countries like ours, on the other side of the globe? I don't hear of any major contributions coming from the oil (and cash) rich countries of the Middle East (save Saudi Arabia) - who share the Muslim religion with the countries most affected by the disaster - do you?

At last count here's the scorecard as of 12/29/2004:

The United States is offering a total of $35 million, followed by Japan with $30 million. Australia has now pledged $27 million, Saudi Arabia $10 million and Germany $2.7 million.

Does anyone see Russia, China, France, Italy, Greece, or - better still - the European Union! - kicking a little something into the pot? I don't. Nor do I expect to. No, all I hear are guilt mongering directed at us. But, why shouldn't Egeland cast his venom at the Great Satan of the World, i.e. America? We are the country who has the most and are most easily prone to taking guilt trips to bail out the woes of the world.

Come suckle at the great teat of the world, American, all you tired, water-logged victims of Western Imperialism. All you have to do to get in line at the spigot is to say something that will make liberal America feel guilty, and you can move to the head of the ever-lengthening line. I am sure that, if enough guilt is heaped on our ears and our eyes by the media, the American liberals will soon be marching on Washington to demand we do more to help out the world downtrodden. Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn will be on MTV and VH1 expressing their moral outrage that we didn't send the entire Army Corps of Engineer's to Sri Lanka to sift through the rubble and rebuild all the luxury hotels (undoubtedly built by Western tourists' dollars) destroyed there. Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Bono, and the Dixie Chicks will organize concerts called "Feel Guilty, America!" to raise money to boost their album sales and their bank account. Oh, I am sure, 1 or 2% of the concerts' gross profits will go to replanting the rain forests of devastated Thailand.

After all, when the story gets homogenized by the media, this great disaster will be entirely our fault anyway. Somehow, it will be linked to President Bush's failure to ratify the Kyodo Agreement on greenhouse gases. Isn't everything due to global warming? Global warming undoubtedly caused the instability in the earth's crust that resulted in the earthquake that started the whole thing. It's a domino effect! That's the ticket!

I am equally convinced that the U.N. will spend $100 million on a study (incidently, the study group will be headed by one of Annan's relatives) about how to warn sunbathers around the world that they are about to be killed by a tsunami. Given that this type of disaster occurs, what, every century or so, it will be very timely and cost-effective. No one will think to suggest that, perhaps, all the money spent studying the problem would be better spent in relief of the victims now. Nothing will be actually done but they will commission a study on the problem so, if this does happen again in the next 2 or 3 centuries, we will be better prepared. I am equally convinced that the study will conclude that, if the U.S. spy satellites had been directed on the Bay of Bengal, instead of something so mundane as looking for terrorist training camps in the Malaysian forests, America could have prevented the entire catastrophe.

Such is the world we live in. And, unfortunately, such is the collective consciousness of America poulace. All you have to do to get into America's pocketbook is to trip our hair-trigger "guilt switch" and the dollars spew forth. It's sad, really, but it will never change. Colin Powell has already apologized for us. Can a Michael Moore documentary be far behind?

Addendum #1: It has already started! See CNN news article of 12/29/2004

Addendum #2: Egeland clarifies his remarks. (snicker snicker)

Addendum #3: I wholeheartedly agree! Let the U.N. take over relief efforts!

Addendum #4: The "illustrious" N.Y. Times confirms the worst: we ARE too stingy.

Addendum #5: One New York newspaper agrees with us.

Addendum #6: The Concert and Telethons are on! We are the World, Part Deux!




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