Happy birthday, Dr. King.
I've been reading a lot of articles recently on the world's responses to the tsunami. I haven't written anything about it, but here's a trend I've been noticing:
National governments are in a bidding war to win the PR boost that comes from pledging the most money. The U.S. government seems to want to give money so that its image in the Muslim world improves. Relief organizations seem to have their alterior motives - one Christian group wanted to "provide entrance for the Gospel" in predominantly Muslim Aceh. Muslim groups fought back. An ugly battle ensued. (Read the Post article here.)
(And to the Christians out there - yes, I understand that y'all see the spreading of the Gospel as an act of compassion. But the WorldHelp guy seems like he's using Acehnese orphans primarily as pawns to spread Christianity instead of providing them with a home because it's the good Christian thing to do, and that's sickening to me.)
Which makes me wonder: what the hell happened to compassion for compassion's sake? How about helping people not because you want to look good, or because you want to advance your foreign policy goals, or because you want to spread your religion, but helping because someone's home and family just got wiped out by a big ass wall of water?
Maybe most people and organizations are helping out of the goodness of their hearts, and the ones with alterior motives are the ones who get the press. I guess I'm just bitter. It reminds me of Christmas in a weird sort of way - somehow, our worth as people and as countries is measured by how much we give, and that kind of defeats the purpose of generosity.