Anorak News | The Human Touched

The Human Touched

by | 11th, October 2005

‘CAN the earthquake in Asia have a positive outcome? Of course not for the likes of the desperate man the Indy features on its front page clutching the hand of his dead grandson; no good can ever come of a child’s death. But what of the disaster’s effects on the world at large?

Massive natural disasters, like the Asian earthquake and the tsunami that preceded it, give us all the chance to feel more human as we give our support.

And it’s not just the people who through the donation of a jumper, some tins of food and a few pounds get to experience a sense of kinship with their fellow man many miles away, but Government’s, too.

As Bronwen Maddox says in the Times, the earthquake in Pakistan has given the United States the chance to whiten its name in the region.

“The terrorists make us out to be infidels, but this is not true and we hope this mission will show it,” says Sergeant Marina Evan, a spokeswoman for the US military in Kabul.

Ryan Croker, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, is not so blunt, preferring to see his Government’s $50 million aid package as a sign of how the US looks after its friends.

“When crisis hits an ally, we step forward to help,” says he. The donation reflects America’s “long-term strategic relationship” with Pakistan.

Maddox is right when she says the suffering caused by an overwhelming natural disaster “offers governments a chance to make a powerful gesture stripped of the history and troubles of their normal relations with each other”.

While we hang our heads over how it takes so much pain to bring out the humanist within us, and realise that we all have far more in common than not, the Independent looks at one part of the massive relief effort.

It focuses on the backroom headquarters of the Kashmir International Relief Organisation, located in Leytonstone, east London.

So far, 80 per cent of the donations to the group have come from non-Muslim and non-Kashmiri donors; but there is “anger” that the aid is not getting to the needy fast enough.

Some people’s frustration that not enough is being done to help their disposed and stricken relatives is wholly understandable. But then there are people like Farooq Qureshi, a Muslim and local councillor in Waltham Forest, also in east London.

He’s upset that the British government has offered £500,000 to the relief effort. “If the British government can afford to spend billions of pounds on Iraq for the sake of protecting oil supplies for the West then to offer this amount of money is a sick joke.”

Protect oil supplies? Or topple Saddam Hussein, a murderous despot who invaded and waged war on his countrymen and his neighbours?

And since when has a natural disaster, and an offer of aid to the damaged country, had anything to do with war in another land? Nothing at all.

But so long as people like Qureshi see a link, the governments in the West should take this chance to reach out to those much valued hearts and minds in the East…’

Posted: 11th, October 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink