"Making me really re-think wealth and benevolence.
"Conclusion: Natural disasters (in places rich people frequent and in places populated by "exotic" and "friendly" natives) receive much more empathy (in the form of money and in-kind donations) than systemic poverty (in the daily lives of brown people impacted by globalism). "
Which triggered me to capsulate my thoughts.
I gave the equivilant of 1/2 day pay (before tax) to the red cross for the tsunami effect. Conflicted feeling over it. On one hand I know that there will be waste and silliness in the distribution of aid and that the disaster has the world's attention so my contribution is just a grain on the beach. On the other hand I do feel that such excess and waste and silliness are acceptable in the cause of helping those who did survive.
Then there is the long term affect on Aceh. There is the potential for substantial change (for better or worse or likely: both) as a result of the unusual and unatural (in the course of human events) amount of resources that will pour into the area.
A big "other hand" is, as shanekeiko pointed out, that there is on-going poverty and health related misery in the world impacting millions of people on a daily basis. These people are either abandoned to their fate and, even worse, oft considered to be "deserving" of their situation. NY news radio stations have been featuring a sound bite or two each morning from representatives of other charities who fear that they will be out of luck this year since there is the potential that people will be saying "I already contributed to the tsunami effect." One medical/health charity that focuses on Africa said (I think, assuming I was awake enough to not misunderstand) that nearly 1,000,000 die from malaria in Africa each year.
When will the tsunami movie come out? Who will be the supermodel atop the tree? The waif Swedish boy wandering the beach in search of his family? The family of 3 who steered their sail boat over the wall of water? Doctor sawing off gangrenish limbs with a hand saw and the Muslim female patient refusing the double shot of vodka offered as the only available aneasthesia [sp?].
Hollywood can you hear the call?
Thank you for your time.