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Wednesday, January 12

Why are there no fundraisers for the Iraqi dead?

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | A man-made tsunami

Why are there no fundraisers for the Iraqi dead?

Good question. The Tsunami establishes no liability on our behalf as westerners. There was nothing these "we" can or ever will be able to to to prevent a Tsunami from happening. But "we" can prevent a war from happening. It is guilt-free giving at its apotheosis. We are able to give in order to make ourselves feel better. Giving has become just another input in our utility function as we seek to optimize our happiness subject to resource constraints.

What if the Canadian government had given the millions of dollars of YOUR money in the form of relief to Iraqi victims of war? Well, that would humanize these victims of war and establish Americans as partly liable for their suffering.

Again, it is important to ask what this Tsunami is taking our attention away from. I'd say it is Depleted Uranium babies, 4,000 (possibly) dead US soldiers and the fact that the US is calling off the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction.



Terry Jones
Tuesday January 11, 2005
The Guardian

I am bewildered by the world reaction to the tsunami tragedy. Why are newspapers, television and politicians making such a fuss? Why has the British public forked out more than £100m to help the survivors, and why is Tony Blair now promising "hundreds of millions of pounds"? Why has Australia pledged £435m and Germany £360m? And why has Mr Bush pledged £187m?

Of course it's wonderful to see the human race rallying to the aid of disaster victims, but it's the inconsistency that has me foxed. Nobody is making this sort of fuss about all the people killed in Iraq, and yet it's a human catastrophe of comparable dimensions.

According to the only scientific estimate attempted, Iraqi deaths since the war began number more than 100,000. The tsunami death toll is in the region of 150,000. Yet in the case of Iraq, the media seems reluctant to impress on the public the scale of the carnage.

I haven't seen many TV reporters standing in the ruins of Falluja, breathlessly describing how, in 30 years of reporting, they've never seen a human tragedy on this scale. The Pope hasn't appealed for everyone to remember the Iraqi dead in their prayers, and MTV hasn't gone silent in their memory.



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