Friday, January 07, 2005

It Doesn't Stop There

It may seem cold hearted to against the grain to condemn altruism at a time like this. Alot of people responded to Holcberg's statement as apalled. But the reason shows itself more and more as this crises goes on. One only has to look to see how the underlying mentality-that need = *right* and that those in *need* somehow have a mortgage on those deemed *less in need*-never ends. You can never give enough to satisfy, and you only create reliance upon aid around the world.

As relief pledges near $4 billion, officials hope to leverage altruism for crises elsewhere. As a massive relief effort takes shape in Asia, some aid officials are already planning a next step: leveraging current world concern for tsunami-ravaged regions into greater interest in other humanitarian crises. The Asian tsunami was a natural disaster of historic proportions. But as terrible as it was, the grinding conflict in eastern Congo has killed far more people. Similarly, fighting in the western Sudanese region of Darfur has displaced millions over the past two years. Disease and poor sanitation continue to devastate families in other parts of the globe's poorest regions. "An essential component of our mission ... is to point out that disasters happen everywhere, and we have to care about all of them," says Salvano Briceno, head of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. And as terrible as the situation on Indian Ocean coastlines, some displaced persons in other areas of the world may be wondering how they, too, can command such sympathetic attention. How many innocent Congolese have to perish before the world starts paying attention?

For a good article on this subject see also "A Foreign Aid Disaster in the Making".


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