Foul-Weather Friends

You’ve heard the news about the crippling cyclone in Myanmar. I wish I could go over there and help ameliorate the crisis. Handing out food, making deliveries, cleaning up, sending money.

Other people had the same feeling after the 2004 tsunami hit India, Indonesia and a host of other places. They wanted to help in some way after 9/11, too.

I think of the dismal state of parts of those tsunami-devastated countries before the disaster. I think of the deluge of blood donations that came right after 9/11 and then dwindled back.

The thing is – sending money, donating blood, taking an interest – it’s all desperately needed before a disaster strikes. It’s easy to be concerned to the point of tears when you hear horrific news. But what about years before or years later, when people are struggling to build their lives, and to the rest of the world it’s a faded memory of images on TV and momentary empathy?

The rest of the world and foul-weather friends like me.

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2 thoughts on “Foul-Weather Friends

  1. I think with the recent catastrophic disasters of recent years there is a growing desensitization to the need and devastation. I feel as though I hear less and less about disasters on the news or even at the workplace water cooler. While I hold myself at fault for not staying current, I do place blame on governments and media for not increasing awareness of needs and for not creating enough avenues for people to help. You’d think we’d learn from the lessons of past tragedies. But, I believe at least in recent times…we’ve regressed.

    p.s.
    welcome to the blogosphere my friend.

  2. Maybe disaster after disaster means desensitization. Especially a disaster we don’t have to look at when the TV’s not on.

    This comment quoting Adam Smith was left on the Freakonomics blog yesterday:

    “Let us suppose that the great empire of China, with all its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe, who had no sort of connexion with that part of the world, would be affected upon receiving intelligence of this dreadful calamity. He would, I imagine, first of all, express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people, he would make many melancholy reflections upon the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of all the labours of man, which could thus be annihilated in a moment. He would too, perhaps, if he was a man of speculation, enter into many reasonings concerning the effects which this disaster might produce upon the commerce of Europe, and the trade and business of the world in general. And when all this fine philosophy was over, when all these humane sentiments had been once fairly expressed, he would pursue his business or his pleasure, take his repose or his diversion, with the same ease and tranquillity, as if no such accident had happened. The most frivolous disaster which could befal himself would occasion a more real disturbance. If he was to lose his little finger to-morrow, he would not sleep to-night; but, provided he never saw them, he will snore with the most profound security over the ruin of a hundred millions of his brethren, and the destruction of that immense multitude seems plainly an object less interesting to him, than this paltry misfortune of his own.”

    Theory of Moral Sentiments: Part III. Of the Foundation of our Judgments concerning our own Sentiments and Conduct, and of the Sense of Duty in paragraph III.I.46

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