Friday, December 31, 2004

you can make a difference

I, like many I'm sure, haven't been able to turn the channel from CNN the last few days. The absolute devastation in Asia is more than I can comprehend, and I sit here with tears running down my face, feeling helpless. As more and more reporters and cameras enter the area, I've started hearing one refrain over and over - "Where is the help? Why is no one here? Where is the United States?". Many Americans are infuriated by comments like this. We are, it seems, damned if we do, and damned if we don't. We step in anywhere to do anything, and we are big bullies, trying to tell everyone what to do. If we seem to be a second too slow, suddenly we are selfish, stingy, unwilling to share.

As an American living in foreign countries, I've had numerous chances to discuss this phenomenon with others, and this is the conclusion I've reached. As the wealthiest country, we have become the "parent", if you will, of the developing world. Early on in a country's development, they are eager for our friendship and assistance, much like a young child. However, like teenagers, most of the developing countries have now made other friends, and have their own ideas about how to run their lives (or governments). They don't appreciate as much when we give our advice, and often turn their backs on us. However, when they have trouble, they run to our arms, desperate for our comfort and assistance.

What America should do is what any good parent should do: remain firm in OUR values, teach by example, yet allow the younger countries to grow into their own, and recognize that their values may turn out to be different from ours. At the same time, we must understand this is one world, one family, and know that when one of us hurts, it hurts us all. It is our responsibility, as the parent, to be there when they need us. - Kelly in Peru

PS - And one other thing - Please, everyone, everywhere - give what you can... If not to help the people of Asia, then help the Sudanese in Darfur, help migrant farmworkers in Florida who lost all in the hurricanes, or the people of Bangladesh, Haiti, the Dominican Republic. If you think that your little bit doesn't make a difference, know this: according to Oxfam, a measley $20 USD can feed a family in Ethiopia for 6 MONTHS! Don't sit in front of your tv, shaking your head at the troubles of the world - Do something! And if you can't do something, give something.

Marie's note: This came from a mailing list I am on and I thought it was interesting enough to share. There are hundreds of organizations that are accepting donations to help the people in the affected areas. Countries delivering millions to billions of dollars in aid packages. Just be careful of the charitiable organization you give your money to... make sure that they are a good one.

Follow the links for more information and places that are helping out in Asia.

Action Against Hunger

ADRA International

Air Serv International

American Friends Service Committee

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

American Jewish World Service

American Red Cross


Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team

Baptist World Aid


Catholic Relief Services

Doctors Without Borders

Habitat For Humanity International

Oxfam America

Project Concern International

Project Hope

Save The Children

United Way International

World Hope International

World Relief

This is of course just a partial listing. If any of the links don't work, tell me and I'll figure out where I made the error at in coding them onto the page.

Wishing you all a safe New Year's...

Until next time~

GIST - The Sunday Edition # 175

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