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Old 01-09-2005, 02:38 AM   #1
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a statement about the reaction to Asia emergency

Hi, I'm opening this thread because I want your opinion on a thing I just heard on TV.
Emma Bonino, a member of European Parliament, said she thinks that the big and great reaction we had to the emergency in Asia is partially due to the fact that European and western people were involved. She added that, otherwise, she couldn't explain why so many people stay indifferent to other emergencies (Aids in Africa, for instance)
What do you think about it?
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Old 01-09-2005, 02:55 AM   #2
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If I may say the coalition of Australia, USA and Japan have done very well by bypassing the UN and getting the aid directly to the people that need it while the UN beurocracy winds around to pontificate. The reason for the attention is the magnitude and time scale, few care if a few million people are murdered of tens of millions are wiped out by disease (provided of course that they are poor). I must say that the response is impressive and shows that when mankind works together all the bullshit cultural barriers that some insist must be upheld manage to melt away.
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Old 01-09-2005, 04:00 AM   #3
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The tsunami is a media friendly disaster.

it is not made by politics,.you can see the damage right away ( hunger you can`t see ), it is not inflicted by war and it will go away easy ( damaged repaired, everything ok. )
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Old 01-09-2005, 04:07 AM   #4
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I agree with Rono. The tsunami came out of nowhere and hit normal people just going about their lives. Thanks to the media we have seen much of the destruction and therefore can empathize with the victims and that makes people much more willing to act.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:05 AM   #5
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I agree, this is media-driven. The death and destruction are on the evening news. It's so graphic, this is what is motivating people to act.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
If I may say the coalition of Australia, USA and Japan have done very well by bypassing the UN and getting the aid directly to the people that need it while the UN beurocracy winds around to pontificate. The reason for the attention is the magnitude and time scale, few care if a few million people are murdered of tens of millions are wiped out by disease (provided of course that they are poor). I must say that the response is impressive and shows that when mankind works together all the bullshit cultural barriers that some insist must be upheld manage to melt away.
This great coalition was disbanded in favor of a UN led relief effort.

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/f94c32b6-5f...00e2511c8.html

Bush quake aid group to be dissolved:

The “core group” of nations announced by US President George W. Bush to channel aid to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami will be dissolved on Thursday after only eight days as the United Nations takes control of the international relief effort
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:51 AM   #7
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great question. remember the earthquake in Bam, Iran? what about the genocide in Darfour, which has probably killed an equal number of people. i think two things are going on here:

1. this was nature -- sadly, in response to things like genocide, it's easy to say, "well, that's sad, but that's what goes on in these places." with a tsunami, and the resulting spectacular home video (as opposed to an earthquake where footage is pretty much unattainable), there's a feeling that we're simply gnats on the earth's crust and we can be swatted by nature at will, there's a level of existential angst that i think is very palpable and makes the story that much more compelling -- any Westerner can relate to that on a philosophical level. there's no enemy here, no bad guys to explain the situation and draw lines of understanding.

2. a huge number of the victims were children, and it's utterly wrenching to see the parent-child bond (that's pretty universal) severed in the most brutal way possible. parents screaming over the bloated body of a 6 year old, or shell shocked new orphans with dead looks in their eyes trying to understand what's going on -- even my mother, who's pushing 60 and has already raised 3 kids, was inquiring about adoption.

at the end of the day, i don't think it's because there are so many westerners, at least from an American perspective. there were very, very few Americans washed out to sea (as opposed to, say, Swedes), and while i think we feel European tragedies on a slightly more personal level due to shared Western values and heritage (to a degree), i don't feel as if that has anything to do with this situation. even if there weren't a single Westerner -- and, let's be honest, that's really a euphamism for Caucasian, and we're dancing around what's at the heart of this question, which is race -- killed in the disaster, i think you'd see much the same reaction.
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Old 01-09-2005, 03:31 PM   #8
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Well Australia's pledge Indonesia of 750 odd USD is not going through the UN at all and those Australian and US serice personell are not wearing blue helmets.
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Old 01-09-2005, 04:40 PM   #9
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I'm not trying to minimilize the tsunami disaster in saying this, believe me, I can't watch the news without crying these days at what I see. I can't really answer the question without asking one of my own. The question that comes to my mind is...why are we generally disinterested to the other emergencies?

Take Africa for instance, 6500 people die for lack of ARV medication every single day. Also children are enormously affected by this as well...there are going to be millions of orphans inheritating the same bleak and dismal death sentence in Africa if things don't change....well if that's not an emergency I have no idea what is.

I guess the best answer I can give right now is this: and the thought that these emergencies are BOTH important because they really both are, I wouldn't want to pick one instead of the other to fix...they both need human compassion and outreach.
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Old 01-09-2005, 04:43 PM   #10
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Perhaps it is an issue of exposure, when you have "the usual suspects" moralising about AIDS, preventable diseases and genocides most people just tune out, perhaps the better way to adress these problems is to make them even more visable and demonstrate that they can be solved - we have been hearing about the disaster of the third world for a few decades now and people just drop out, being able to show successes can bring renewed interest, win the people over and the politicians will follow. This is not an attack at those who work tirelessly for these causes I am just saying that there are a lot of people who have heard so much about them they view the problems as unsolvable, it is what happens whenever they are only exposed to the bad news surrounding any event.

p.s that 750 figure should be multiplied by 10^6
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Old 01-09-2005, 04:59 PM   #11
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These people were victims of something they have no power over.

Many people, I've even read it in here, think AIDS in Africa is their own fault.
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Old 01-09-2005, 05:34 PM   #12
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Well...thier fault or not...it doesn't really matter. If you see a guy crashed in a ditch on the side of the road you're still going to call an ambulance, whether or not it turns out he was a drunk driver.

I can't speak for everyone but rarely do I ever see Africa or the other countries in the like on the news. But the tsunami is very media friendly, with all the captions on the photos saying things like, "Waves Of Death". I'm sure that plays a part....
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Old 01-09-2005, 06:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Do Miss America


Many people, I've even read it in here, think AIDS in Africa is their own fault.
I think this is very true. People's hate and ingnorance will all them to ignore Africa.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:08 PM   #14
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I think Ms. Bonino is partially correct - there is an element of self-interest in the developed world's response to the tsunami., but I think that Irvine511's analysis is also correct.

People are more willing to help those caught up in a sudden natural disaster than in almost any other situation. I think it has to do with people's sense of the fragility of life.

But it is plainly wrong to not assist the People of Africa due to one's misguided ideas that their struggles are somehow self-made.

Their extreme poverty and struggle for life against hunger, disease, lack of clean water, etc is no more their own fault than extreme poverty anywhere else in the world.

Thanks, lady luck, for this thread.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:36 PM   #15
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As many have noted, a disaster like tsunami is relatively unambiguous; the movement of the Earth's plates is something no one can control and it's outside of politics. And, well, there's a aspect of a spectacle to it, too, as distasteful as it may sound. Those images of nature's fury is something that really captures people's imagination.
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