It’s not just terrorist attacks that coincide with my holidays, but natural disasters too. Although the latter, like the Tsunami, seem to occur when I holiday at home. But then almost everyone was off work for the Tsunami so rather than give in to a rather egotistical superstition I’ll continue to put this phenomenon down to coincidence.
A typical response to events is to reach for the cheque book and the American Red Cross was advertising in the papers over the weekend. But I find it hard to get my head around donating to American victims, even though there’s no doubt that their suffering – in the last week at least – could hardly be worse. And as the US has asked Europe for aid, I guess we could hardly not pack an African International Airlines plane with aid.
I know many Americans will know where I’m coming from on this because the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd sums it up: ‘Who are we if we can’t take care of our own?’
And I’m not convinced that my donation would make a difference. Hurricane Katrina’s victims are citizens of the world’s richest nation by a very long way and entitled to the protection of the world’s most powerful government. The US government hasn’t been rendered ineffective by conflict, corrupt dictatorship, foreign intervention or poverty. It’s no comfort to the victims to know the US has been studying this sort of thing since 1807 and saw it coming, but that is illustrative of the cause of their suffering: incompetence and stupidity. Eventually, they’ll get their act together and start behaving like the great nation they are: my money won’t speed that process.
So my charity’s gone to Ifaw which is sending a 78-foot mobile disaster-relief and response unit to rescue animal victims of the hurricane. They say they can’t do it without your help… so donate here.