Man's dominion over the earth

"...painting after painting of Turner's of the most shameful sort - the pudenda of women - utterly inexcusable and to me inexplicable".

I was going to end this year with several lists detailing the year that was, but the recent developments in South East Asia have left my mind completely blank. I have found requests for funds all over the internet, and while the desire to help is undoubtedly a good one, it has left me feeling a little cold. I feel the same way about the rush of charity that always accompanies the winter holiday season of your choice. Like the money counter behind Jerry Lewis' head, the death toll from the tsunami keeps rising: first 14,000, then 25,000, then over 80,000. While this number is big I can't look at it without being reminded of the approximately 17 million children who die every year from malnutrition, or the hundreds of thousands of Hutus and Tutsis killed in Burundi, or any of the other tragedies scattered around the globe. I can't help but feel that the money being raised for this particular disaster is less an indication of humanity's united spirit and more an indication of the West's need for instant gratification. A natural disaster isn't as complicated as genocide or politically sanctioned starvation. It does not require long-term solutions, or negotiations, or disarmaments. Clear up the debris, build another shack and its business as usual. We can then easily forget that thousands in the region are fucked anyway, tsunami, earthquake, or both notwithstanding.

Don't get me wrong - I don't do anything either way. Starving children in Africa, genocide, the war in Iraq, it's all pretty much the same to me. I wonder how long till they start making black wristbands with "Fight Tsunamis" written on them, and how much longer after that till Paris Hilton wears one.

Edit: The above does not mean I feel people should not send money to help those in need. Further, while the tsunami certainly affected a large region, I am most familiar with South East Asia.


At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was speaking with a friend on Messenger and he passed forward a message that asked for me to put a flower in front of my name. This is some sort of support for all those suffering as a result of the tsunami. My first thought was "and where is the flower for the millions that die every year from starvation and disease" My second thought is... more than likely, the guy in Indonesia that has lost everything is not gonna be on-line for a while. He might have more pressing matters to arrange, but if it makes you feel good as you sit in your warm home, while you talk to your friends on Messenger about all the crap you got for Christmas, then by all means. Love to make you feel better about the whole thing.

Oddly enough, I have plans to do a fundraiser in order to drill a new well in a 3rd world country. Hopefully you'll choose to attend.


At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An end of year list of bad rationalisations...
Don't blame the suffering of people in coastal regions in Asia on instant gratification in the west. Those two issues are very very distant from each other. Burundi was a political problem. You are hard pressed finding your way back from people dying in a tsunami in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, etc. to people who wear wristbands saying "fight tsunamis."
Your cynicism does not get you to the moral high ground. Stricken people who live in Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia are not dogs- they want to build their own shacks and better their own lives but right now their lives suck so bad they'll take money from anyone, even tsunami wristband-wearers. One thing they don't need is pseudo-liberal crap from a person who is indifferent. Just hand over the damn cash.
Requests for funds leave you cold- interesting, why? because there are superficial people walking around in Canada?
So give the money directly to NGOs in Indonesia.
Get back to making lists about pop culture- don't talk about Burundi or Sri Lanka. I put in some dough- where do I buy the wristbands?
And by the way, get your head out of your geographical ass...the tsunami was across Asia stretching to Africa not just in South East Asia.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

Next time you decide to leave a comment, Hari, you might want to actually read my post instead of just surfing for key words and generating a knee jerk response.

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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