Wednesday, December 29, 2004

You Can Help

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I sat in my office, staring dully at the computer screen, constantly refreshing the news sites and listening to the radio. One of my employees, a Mexican-American, came in to ask me something about the WTC, because I had lived in NYC and had watched the aftermath of the first bombing. He sat down with me a while, and we listened to the radio, where they gave an estimate of 20,000 people dead. He said, "Wow, that's almost as many people as died in the Mexico City earthquake".

In the USA, we have no concept of this kind of mass disaster. Our hurricanes kill in the tens, not in the thousands. The September 11 attacks were the worst terrorist attacks in the world, but even they pale in comparison to the nearly one million people killed in 100 days in Rwanda in 1997. There have been an estimated 15,000 civilians killed in Iraq, minimum, just in 2004. It's not that what happens to us isn't tragic; it's that we often forget how far down we are on the scale of human suffering.

The Tsunami is shaping up to be one of the worst natural disasters in history. You can donate to the American Red Cross at Amazon.com,
or to UNICEF through their web site. Cash donated is not only used to buy supplies, but also to pay for shipping the supplies to where they are needed.

You'll be doing at least as much as our President (emphasis mine):

Earlier yesterday, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the president was confident he could monitor events effectively without returning to Washington or making public statements in Crawford, where he spent part of the day clearing brush and bicycling. Explaining the about-face, a White House official said: "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your pain.' "

Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for the cameras to hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy. "Actions speak louder than words," a top Bush aide said, describing the president's view of his appropriate role.



3 comments:

CLMama said...

I am organizing a playgroup-fund which we will donate to either UNICEF or World Vision. I agree: we need to help. Last I heard, as a counry, we are. I do not believe that we won't be doing everything we can as a government to aid these poor people. I am just so saddened by this too, Carrie. Thanks for posting about this today.

Jen said...

Carrie,

Have you found any info on how to donate items, instead of just cash? I would be interested in donating clothes, children's items, and toiletries. These things are always overlooked at first, since the need for basic food and water are a first priority, but I know these displaced people must need basic clothing and toiletries as well.

Carrie said...

CL, I think that's a great idea to raise some money. Our little group hasn't had its first meeting yet, or I'd be doing the same thing. I know we will come up with a lot of aid as a country. The problem I have is with the president not bothering to disrupt his vacation to make so much as a statement offering sympathy. We still have Americans missing over there, after all. I remember how much it heartened me to hear the leaders of other countries around the world express sorrow after Sep. 11, and I know it means something when it comes from the US President. The leaders of other countries are taking much more active, or at least visible, roles in coordinating relief.

Jen, I found an article from the Red Cross here http://www.redcross.org/article/0,1072,0_312_3877,00.html about why they aren't taking anything other than cash donations. I haven't found any other aid organizations in the US that are either. It seems that local groups may be doing some of that, such as Hindu temples or Muslim mosques, or Indian cultural groups in your city. They may be interested in care packages, so you might want to look locally if you want to do something more than cash.