Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Haiti vs. Chile: Which is more important?

Hi Guys,

So today's topic of the day is: Chile vs. Haiti Earthquake

It seems like 2010 is the year of natural disasters.
In the past two months we had the earthquakes in Japan, Haiti, Chile, as well as Tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific and record snowstorms in the US and across Europe.

Here in Bahrain it's been an unusually warm winter (bordering on summer the entire time), and has left many people wondering, what is going on?

Now I know that that's way too big of a question to be answered here, let alone by me, but what I wanted to talk a bit about today is the perceived value of importance.

Why was there such a huge fuss with Haiti, as opposed to the countless other atrocities that happen everyday around the planet?
Is it the fact that it was a natural disaster?
Or was it the poverty?
Was it the lack of infrastructure?
Or its proximity to the US?

All good questions to ask, but for me, the main question is, why was the issue framed in a way that unless people from all over the world contributed to this particular cause, they were somehow cast as selfish?

There's no denying that where you live contributes strongly to the causes that you support, and sense of affiliation.
But the second the media and everyone jumps on the bandwagon, the aid donated no longer originates from the thought and desire of helping others, but also for its prestige and image enhancement.
And that's when we get to the murky subject of charity hierarchy.

Should giving money to children's cancer research be more important than to adult research centers?
Where is food aid more important, in Africa, or your neighbourhood?
Education or shelter?
The arts  or sports?
Etc. Etc. Etc.

The only insight I have on the matter is this.
When everyone is running in one direction, think about helping those who aren't in the spotlight.
It seems like they're the ones who need the most help, when the general public isn't that interested.
If you can help both causes do.
Forego that dinner out this weekend, and change someone's life, even for a moment.
But don't do it for bragging rights, or because it's the 'it' charity at the moment.
Do it because it was chance that put in the family that you ended up in.
Always remember that you could have just as easily been the child slave half way across the world.

I try to live by this, but sometimes I forget.
Thanks for listening,

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