27 August 2010

The invisible natural disaster in Pakistan

"August is a notoriously slow month for news, and lacking a natural disaster or missing blonde to obsess over, the cable networks and commentators who fuel the 24-hour news cycle have made the proposed Islamic center and mosque the centerpiece in their overheated echo chamber."
— Tim Rutten, yesterday in the Los Angeles Times

Well, there is the 5th anniversary of Katrina. That made our news last night here in Australia, though there was also something about those few million people (about the number of people in New York state) whatevered in Pakistan's current wetness.

If the natural disaster in Pakistan, with its rising death toll and displacement of millions were happening in the US, it might make our news, too. In fact, it would bump off everything else in our media for some time.

One angle that could be covered now is the upright stance so many people have now about aid to some of the poorest and most dispossessed people on earth. Why give to them when corruption is so great in their government? A good thought in ideal times—and one that luckily or not, didn't stop people giving to the victims of the Asian tsunami, Haiti quake, and even the victims of that manmade disaster, Katrina.

Pakistani government corruption isn't the only reason giving is so low. Let the Islamic countries do it, is another popular reason. Saudi Arabia is giving, but to have aid come from this regressive and corrupt dictatorship that spreads medieval religion and intolerance should stick in any decent person's craw. Otherwise, to blame the victims in this disaster for the ungenerosity of other dictatorships is also pretty stupid. After all, people around the world were sympathetic to the victims of Katrina despite the people in power who exacerbated a situation that unfolded ever more unbelievably and over many incredible days, before our eyes. It flooded our not only our news, but our thoughts.

How you can help
Secular Pakistan's Flood Relief list of agencies

Current reading:
The human cost of Pakistan's floods by Rebecca Barber, The Sydney Morning Herald
Help the secular, or face the extremists by Daud Khattak,
Daily Times (Pakistan)
Pakistan flood aid from Islamic extremists by Rob Crilly,
The Telegraph (UK)
and finally, this is a very interesting article from Pakistan, about the New York Islamic Center controversy.
The limits of tolerance by Irfan Husain, Dawn


JP said...

Thanks for the secular Pakistan link, I will share it with as many people as I can.

anna tambour said...

Great. It's surprisingly hard to find a list free of "faith-based" agencies. One of the ironies of disasters like these is how much these faiths consider the disaster an opportunity for them though a punishment on the suffering and those now "beyond suffering", oddly enough expecting those who weren't killed to go offer praise and thanks to the Pathological One Hisself who especially loves to punish and test the poor. Perhaps we could all save money and our souls by not punishing but praising all the killers who get off on strewing Death, and give thanks to them for their mercy that should never be questioned, as it is beyond anything as crude as secular thought.

"The poor should remain poor ... Without them, we will lose our jobs." - Sister Nirmala, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity - after the death of saint-to-be Mother Teresa.