January 07, 2005

Tsunami Efforts Must Continue

As my trip in India comes to a close, I have reflected a lot upon what I have seen and experienced. Never had I expected to find myself at the site of a major disaster. The scale of what I saw, will forever stay with me.

It was announced that in Jakarta, the world's nations had pledged an unprecedented amount of money for the relief efforts and rebuilding of the hit areas. The public donations have also been incomparable worldwide.

At a time when human indifference to world crises was starting to appear as a widely accepted trend, it is pleasing to discover that empathy has not yet perished in the light of the tsunami disaster. The real test will be in the long term, as to whether people's interest can be piqued enough to continue contributing to the effort. All of us have to be in it for the long haul.

Some people have questioned the role of government in charitable work; that the spending of taxpayers' money for efforts in distant lands, is some kind of irresponsible abuse of funds, while problems remain within the contributing country. This kind of callous rationale I find very disturbing.

As a human characteristic, the expression of compassion should easily outway the frugal self-interests of a few. Compassion must always be encouraged, because it inevitably nurtures positive changes in society.

In a world that recently has been driven by profits alone, often at the cost of human rights, I hope that this outpouring of compassion seeds the start of an age in which people are more responsible to each other, rather than to themselves.

Already, discussions for debt relief have been widely recommended; although this should have been achieved decades ago. If the so-called "Developed World" genuinely wants to improve the lives of those living in the "Developing World", then leadership through example, rather than force or manipulation, will succeed in bringing about positive transformation to all.

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