Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Media generated orgy of giving?

By Aussiegirl

The news today that President Bush has named his father and Bill Clinton to head up a fund raising effort strikes me as a little odd, to say the least. And not the least of my problems is the use of a disgraced and impeached liar, felon and thief in such a position of respect.

As I understand it, this will be a fundraising effort to raise private funds. Are we really so short of private donations? Is it not unprecedented for the President to head up a private fund drive? Millions have already been donated via Amazon and numerous other private venues. Business and corporations are giving, individuals are donating. Aren't we going just a little bit overboard with this? And why? Because it's on TV all the time. And why? Let's be frank -- it's because there were a lot of western tourists among the dead and missing.

Sure, it's the biggest natural disaster that has happened in many, many years. But tens of thousands died last year in earthquakes in the Middle East and natural disasters in that part of the world routinely decimate thousands in floods in Bangladesh, earthquakes in China and other natural catastrophes. And of course the world is always generous -- and the United States is always the biggest and most generous contributors of aid in these cases.

But let's have a little bit of perspective. Millions of people die of malaria in the undeveloped world. Millions of people who could be easily saved at pennies on the dollar by simply spraying the mosquitoes which carry this disease with DDT or other pesticide. But the envirogreenies are more concerned with the supposed fragility of the eggshell of a bird, than with the deaths of millions of human beings.

While all this outpouring of money and aid is laudable, and certainly our hearts go out to these poor people, I wonder just how much good throwing billions at this problem is going to solve. It's not getting any immediate help there any faster, the helicopters of the U.S. Army are doing that. And many people still don't have food, water or medical care. It's more of a logistical problem right now, rather than a money problem.

Where is all this money going to go once the worst is over of disposing of bodies, treating the wounded and cleaning up the mess? I fear we are engaging in a media generated orgy of goodwill without much thought to where all this money is going to end up. Usually money like this, as well meant as it is, ends up lining pockets, including bad people like the Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka and other Muslim groups and crooked politicians. I'd rather the established organizations that are faith based and actually have people on the ground and know how to help, get this money than simply throwing it around.

I'm becoming uncomfortable with the feeling that President Bush is reflexively appeasing the media gods here rather than simply mending the damage done by the weather gods. Flying the flag at half staff for the victims is too much for me. Why are we not flying the flag at half staff for the duration of this conflict in Iraq while our young men and women die on a daily basis? If we are going to start lowering our national flag every time there is a natural disaster somewhere in the world, we will never fly it normally, and it will cease to have any meaning. Let's not overdo it and think this thing through.
India has already said it doesn't need any aid and is capable of handling the damage on its own.

And how much have the oil-rich Arab and Moslem states contributed? As far as I've heard -- Saudi Arabia -- zilch. These are Moslem countries that are affected -- Indonesia -- why are they not helping?

Just a few thoughts. I've appended a list of the 100 most deadly natural disasters of the 20th Century -- read this for a bit of perspective.

4 Comments:

At 11:45 PM, Blogger Pindar said...

An excellent post, Aussiegirl, about what increasingly seems to be an overindulgence in covering this latest natural disaster. I don't recall such a fuss when 30,000 died not that long ago in an earthquake in Turkey. I think that the reasons you present for this day-after-day TV onslaught are correct, and that a president asking his nation for cash donations, and ordering the lowering of the flag to half-staff, really is an overreaction, and has the smell of PR about it.

As a footnote: in writing about all the disasters that happen that don't get all this coverage, you mention the millions who die from malaria each year because the use of DDT has been banned. We can thank that sanctimonious do-gooder Rachel Carlson and her book "Silent Spring" for helping to bring about this banishment. For an excellent article on the myths surrounding DDT, go to that very interesting website "JunkScience.com" and this link: http://junkscience.com/ddtfaq.htm#ref5.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Just Rannin' Around said...

I couldn't agree more. It is amazing what the media can push the government into doing. It isn't necessarily bad that it is such a huge concern, but send stuff that matters. I know that the church to which I belong is sending humanitarian packets that include: food, water, blanets and hygiene products. Stuff that actually helps and makes it to the people that are in need of it (rather than money lining pockets of not such great people).

Hope you have a magical 2005!!

 
At 8:35 PM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

The astounding thing about this is that Koffi Annan and the corrupt U.N. are going to end up running the show. Does ANYONE remember Oil for Food?

Koffi is going to retire a very wealthy man.

 
At 11:56 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

Yup -- not only will Kofi retire a wealthy man, but so will his children, and his children's children, unto the umpteenth generation probably -- corruption begats corruption, I'm afraid.

 

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