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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Idiotic comments after a tragedy

One of the greatest natural disasters* in a long time has been visited upon one of the poorer areas of the planet. People, groups, and governments from all over the world have moved into action to supply funds, material support, and logistical and transportation aid to try to ensure that the suffering in the aftermath of this tragedy is minimized, and that the recovery is sooner rather than later.

But there are also a great many people who are quite happy with the tsunami. "I know it sounds terrible", one of them said to me, "but I can't help but wonder how many Communists got wiped out by the tsunami." Yes, we know evil Godless Commies are likely to be the ones eking out a living as subsistence fishers along the coasts of the Indian Ocean. And hey, wouldn't this world be a much better place if every Communist were swept out to sea?

"I don't think we should give one penny to them. They're all terrorists down there." This was from one of the kindest, most generous people I know and work with, whose major personality flaw is that she is a staunch Bush supporter. (See almost exactly the same comments from conservative darling / right-wing wacko Michael Savage here.)

Another person at work simply feels the need to mock any individual or group efforts to participate in tsunami relief efforts. And, as he is a bit of a Bible-thumper, I did feel the need to tell him that this was a very un-Christian sort of position to take. "The Christian position," he retorted, "is that this is just God's way of getting rid of terrorists. Why should we interfere?" This was from someone who is always trying to tweak my nose, politically speaking. But he wasn't entirely joking. (You can read almost exactly the same comments from conservative darling / right-wing wacko Michael Savage here, which is the same link as the previous one. Hmmm, I think I've figured out which "conservative talk-show host" the people I'm working with are listening to.)

Others who fancy themselves as morally righteous have simply chosen to stand mute in the face of this disaster, or to try to sum it up in the theological equivalent of "shit happens."

Yeah, I guess it's in circumstances like this where you see where people's "moral values" really are. Some people want to do what they can to help. Some people say "screw 'em, let 'em all die." And some people choose to remain uninvolved. Glad I'm on the side of the good guys. Too bad the bad guys won the last election.

* This should read "One of the greatest instantaneous natural disasters." There are many other sustained natural disasters - droughts, AIDS, malaria, famines - that are killing larger numbers of people over longer periods of time.

1 comment:

Chloe said...

I'm astounded at the kinds of illogical, and even rude and insulting, comments that some people will make about disasters & whatnot.

But the whole religious angle ... I listened to a piece on NPR where religious people & clergy, of various religions, were talking about the tsunami disaster.
I think almost anyone who would try to explain the tsunami disaster in any human terms, is too hopelessly egotistical to have any real faith in god. Because how could one know the mind of god? And how could one know the reasons for, if any, an act of nature? It's not something we could know. And whatever truly all powerful entity in the universe, is surely beyond human comprehension.
Plus, don't most people who believe in god believe in a rewarding afterlife for the innocent and/or devout in heaven? And if so, then yeah, a murderer would be bad. But surely god is exempt from human things like murder, and a natural disaster is like a natural death - a glorious call from god to bring the person back to Him, right?
That's not to say that religious people can't have compassion for those loved ones that were left behind and have a difficult situation to deal with, of course.

I'm speaking as someone who has not donated anything to the tsunami relief effort. But I really am in financial trouble, not having a real full-time employment for awhile now. Otherwise, I likely wood have. I don't think it's immoral to not give, even if you have it. On the other hand, I think it's highly rude, bizarre, and illogical, to broadcast that you don't think those people deserve any assistance from anyone because all of them, all men, women, children, and babies, in the effected areas, are all evil or some such rubbish.