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Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 08:12 am
Blinded by hate, The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee hasn’t noticed the overwhelming amount of aid from the US:
“Charity begins at home” is the mean-minded dictum of the right, unwilling to spend on foreigners, unwilling to spend on those outside the family fortress at home, either. But there may be a lot of truth in the old maxim. Countries that tolerate vast wealth gaps are unlikely to concern themselves greatly about the poor even further from their door. Countries that give most – the Nordics – are the ones that have created the most socially equal societies at home first. Can America be anything but unjust in dealing with foreigners when it cares so little about the third world poverty within its own borders?
The US government has ponied up $350 million for tsunami aid, with more promised. Coca-Cola has pledged $10 million; Exxon Mobil, $5 million; Wal-Mart, $2 million; Walt Disney Co., $1 million; Pfizer Inc, thirty-five million dollars.
Here’s more from poison Polly:
Charity begins at home because people’s basic good instinct for generosity and decency has to be nurtured by leaders brave enough to take the risk to appeal to altruism, at home and abroad.
Given the numbers cited above – many of which were available to Toynbee before she wrote her column – George W. Bush has obviously “nurtured instincts for generosity and decency”. Polly owes him an apology, wouldn’t you say? Send the lovely woman a note.
(Via contributor J.F. Beck, who points out that so much aid has arrived in the stricken areas that it’s delaying relief operations. Those evil westerners, always sticking it to the poor …)
UPDATE. Max Edwards in the Sydney Morning Herald:
There is one surefire way to get the US government to increase its contribution to tsunami disaster relief to a generous level: simply announce that Halliburton will be given first crack at all the major reconstruction contracts.
UPDATE II. The US response has been incredible, reports the Red Cross:
The donations are coming from everywhere and everyone – including the tourist on the street, said Leslie Gottlieb, of the Red Cross’s New York chapter. She said a tourist passing her office near Lincoln Center stopped in and gave $100.
At CARE USA’s office in Atlanta, “a stranger just walked into the office with a check for $10,000. And our offices around the country are reporting similar experiences,” said Ahuma Adodoadji, director for emergency humanitarian assistance.
UPDATE III. The Dell Foundation has kicked in $3 million, with another million donated by GM. Yahoo collected $1.2 million within 18 hours. Also:
Americans using their credit cards were donating a total of about one million dollars a day to relief organizations through Network for Good, a nonprofit portal for charities created by America Online.
UPDATE IV. Among US military resources involved in aid efforts are six C-130s (carrying bulldozers, HUMVEEs, and the like), three KC-135 Stratotankers (bringing MREs and water), and the USS Fort McHenry (containing more than 10,000 pounds of clothing and food). Six Navy P-3 Orions will shortly join three other Orions already in Thailand on search-and-rescue missions. Eight cargo vessels bearing food and water are en route from Guam and Diego Garcia. Two military forensic teams are due to arrive this weekend.
UPDATE V. The unwillingness to spend on those outside the family continues:
So many gifts for injured troops and their families have poured into Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and the National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md., that they have run out of space and are asking well-wishers to give elsewhere.
Overwhelmed by thousands of items like CD and DVD players, quilts, toiletries, clothes and food not to mention huge stacks of prepaid phone cards Walter Reed this week urged people to wait until February or March to send items. An official at the naval hospital requested that contributions be postponed until March.
UPDATE VI. Another decadent capitalist nation gets in on the action:
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has pledged $US500 million in grant aid for the countries badly affected by the tsunami disaster.
UPDATE VII. Josh Chavetz points out that one voice really can make a difference:
Im my radio interview Wednesday night, I said that I thought the Administration was being far too stingy in its pledge of aid to South Asian countries affected by the tsunamis. I’m very glad to see that the Administration has just increased its pledge by an order of magnitude.
UPDATE VIII. Perhaps those caring Nordic governments Polly adores aren’t so caring after all:
Scandinavians are fuming at their governments’ initial lax response to the tsunami disaster as hopes dimmed for thousands of foreign tourists, mostly Europeans, still missing days after the wall of water hit.
Swedish tabloids were the harshest critics of the Government. “She went to the theatre,” said Aftonbladet, referring to the Foreign Minister, Laila Freivalds, saying she waited 30 hours after the initial report of the disaster to go to her office.