Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tsunami Donations

Two good editorials on the controversy over the Tsunami Donations. One on the left side of the spectrum and one on the right.

On the left, New York Times editorialist Nicholas Kristof. You can read the entire column here, but I thought this point was worth considering:

The 150,000 or so fatalities from the tsunami are well within the margin of error for estimates of the number of deaths every year from malaria. Probably two million people die annually of malaria, most of them children and most in Africa, or maybe it's three million - we don't even know.

But the bottom line is that this month and every month, more people will die of malaria (165,000 or more) and AIDS (240,000) than died in the tsunamis, and almost as many will die because of diarrhea ( 140,000).

And that's where we're stingy.

And David Frum, author of the now somewhat infamous Axis-of-Evil phrase, addresses attacks on inauguration spending in the wake of the tragedy.

My humble opinion on any of the Tsunuami controversy is the following. I certainly am impressed with the out-powering of support that people have given the victims of this tragedy. The terrible and sudden magnitude of the tragedy is awful. It's unfortunate, though, that we haven't been doing more to address the everyday suffering of those living in the poorest of countries as much....

However, I am annoyed by the hypocrisy of some who criticize spending on this or that instead of using the money to help the victims of the tragedy. You could skip your hooker visit this week and send that 200 bucks to the Red Cross, but you aren't. You ain't selling your sweet new laptop for OxFam either. I also am not sure I think it's right that we expect our government to take care of our charity. How charitable is it to just exhort others to do their share? Why not make some sacrifice yourself? Well we all are greedy, selfish and hypocritical in our own way. I know I am.

Anyway, enough preaching.

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