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Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Defining "Stingy": 100,000 Euros
by Bonjo
Stingy: The French government has pledged 100,000 Euros for tsunami disaster relief. That's --roughly--$135,000. Whew, I bet they're going to have to sell bonds to cover that generous aid package.

Not stingy: The citizens of the United States and Amazon.com. Amazon held a disaster relief fund raiser on their website:
"Amazon.com collected more than $1,300 a minute for tsunami and earthquake relief efforts in South Asia after calling for donations on its Web site... During the first four hours more than $315,000 was collected."

The total is now, I believe, in the neighborhood of $1 million. That's money from citizens paying out of their own pockets, not money from government aid (which also comes out of citizen pockets).

The United States, for its part, can do no right. It's always the good guys who are made out to be the bad guys. It doesn't matter who we help, it doesn't matter what we do, it doesn't matter that we never ask (or expect) anything in return. The U.S., according to some, never does enough.

It's certainly nice of these foreign "leaders" to dictate how we should and should not use our wealth. The U.N. referred to "stingy" contributions from wealthy nations, implicating the U.S. in the comment.

We originally pledged $15 million, before all the details of the destruction were even known. As more reports came in, our pledge for initial aid increased to $35 million. And that's just tax-funded relief. Our citizens will give much more, through fund raisers like the one conducted by Amazon.com, civic organizations, and churches.

President Bush summed it up nicely:

"Bush noted that the United States provided $2.4 billion 'in food, in cash, in humanitarian relief to cover the disasters for last year. ... That's 40 percent of all the relief aid given in the world last year.'"

40% of the relief aid given in the world last year came from you and me, and I'm proud that our nation is a model of generosity to the international community. But, wait! There's more...

"...[U.S.] foreign assistance for development and emergency relief rose from $10
billion in President Clinton's last year to $24 billion under President Bush in
2003. Powell said U.S. assistance for this week's earthquake and tsunamis alone
will eventually exceed $1 billion."
Remember that the next time you see someone in the international community pointing fingers at the United States. And remember, that unlike the U.N., we don't expect kickbacks and financial profit from our offers to help those in need.

P.S. What's important right now, and needed more than arbitrary financial numbers, are our prayers for those affected by this disaster.
4 Comment(s):
I'm sorry to say that I absolutely disagree with your P.S.. Prayers are worthless. Money and manpower (personpower if you're with the pc trend) are the things that'll really help. Prayers will only make YOU feel better. My opinion, of course. God can prove me wrong if God in fact exists. 

Posted by A portuguese guy
Thanks, Portuguese.

I guess my point was, we can say we're going to send $X million, or $X+20 million, or the National Guard, or thousands of volunteers. The truth of the matter is, it will be days, if not weeks, if not months, before some or all of this aid reaches these people.

I believe in the power of prayer, and believe that it's a more immediate means. And sure, it makes me feel better, but I also believe that it is of benefit to those affected.

Don't get me wrong, I recognize the fact that it's manpower and money that are going to make a difference. I also believe that it's through manpower that prayers are answered.

Is that paradoxical or circular logic? I don't know.

Thanks for the comment! 

Posted by Bonjo
By the way, I see that Amazon's tsunami fund is now over $4 million.

You can see the latest running total here

Posted by Bonjo
Another example of non-governmental humanitarian aid: as the LDS church encourages its members to donate and prepares to send significant resources to the affected areas. 

Posted by Bonjo
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