Tsunami vs. Rwanda vs. Darfur

We can read and watch lots of info covering the recent Asian tsunami disaster. It happens to be mixed up with a lot of other “virtual” negativity around — from the Iraqi war to local killers. I say “virtual” because it’s not like most of us can see these things for ourselves — we are disconnected and discover them through the same box that gives us comedies and action movies.
That’s why I was kind of numb to the tsunami disaster — all this negative information insulated me from reacting with any oompf. However, my own local exposure to two events inspired me to donate to the Red Cross:
1. My friend Michael Moon, who falls under the “working musician” category, said he personally donated $50 to relief.
2. While renting some gear at my fave Toronto music store Long & McQuade, one of their employees was going around getting personal donations from other employees there.
It struck me that people around here were really taking the disaster seriously. They weren’t as disconnected as I was. May I say that I was pleasantly surprised and happy about this?
I’ve since seen many more additional inspiring charitable efforts.
Of course, our own money is given in addition to the money we are already donating through our taxes ($80 million currently allocated from Canada). Since we don’t actually see the taxes physically coming out of our pockets and going to Southeast Asia, we feel comfortable making further personal donations.
My wish of course is to take the same attitude with our local homeless and displaced (or anybody’s local homeless and displaced), and pay attention to other problems that don’t get the hype that the tsunami crisis did.
Hype is everything.
Did you know about the Rwanda genocide 10 years ago? TWICE as many people died. But the event didn’t get any major press, I couldn’t find out how our goverment donated (I spent a half-hour searching on the ‘net), and I don’t recall anybody else donating anything at the time. It follows that I didn’t donate. Was it just the media’s lack of influence? A friend of mine suggested that the current tsunami disaster is getting more coverage than the Rwanda genocide did “because you can’t blame anybody for a tsunami”. I thought that was interesting.
See some FAQ’s on the Rwanda genocide here.
And if you haven’t heard of Darfur, you hopefully will. More than 30,000 black Sudanese in the province of Darfur (Sudan, Africa) are believed to have been murdered or starved by Arab militias in the past year, and thousands more have been raped or tortured. Nearly a million refugees have fled to outside camps. The U.N. currently officially estimates that if significant aid does not arrive soon, the death toll may quickly jump to 300,000.
Read about the Darfur genocide situation here.
It goes to show that high human death counts will not necessarily get international attention like the Asian tsunami disaster is.

  • detoxdietgirl at 3:48 am

    i think our governments should do some more proactive task in Darfur. the UN is not doing a very good job in resolving the crisis in Darfur.

  • Colleen at 7:51 am

    the international community should be more proactive in dealing with the situation in Darfur. we should not only send food aids but we also need to influence the political policies in the Darfur region `