"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Help? Don't need it

Its alright to take money from Saudi Arabian princes, but left wing south american leaders, thats going to far.

Repsonse to letter in the Irish Times.

Dear Madam,

Having not heard John O'Shea comments on Morning Ireland it is difficult to defend his 'apparent comments' voiced by Carol Carty in todays Irish Times other than to say he obviously deems the threat to life is more serious in those third world countries he works in than those in the more developed world.

John O'Shea, in working with GOAL, deals on many occasions with populations that live in abject poverty while their leaders live in luxury. Those of us that contribute to his work see the necessity of aiding peoples whose governments have no affection for. America is one of the richest nations in the world and just as we cannot rely on those nations with riches displayed in palaces of gold we cannot rely on that 10 percent of America that controls 80 percent of its wealth to provide support for those that fail to register on its governments radar.

The US government's response to this disaster has been abysmal. From the failure to provide an adequate evacuation plan, to their abandonment of those unable to leave, to their aggressive/inhuman policies against looting this administration has shown a lack of competence and a lack of morality. Indeed, this evidences the need for a positive response from other rich nations. But if you do feel compelled to give generously to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, don't try and twist an aid workers personnel assignment of importance into 'anti-Americanism', unless you can explain this reasoning to the children still dying in Sudan.

It is precisely this anti-Americanism that has put the most vulnerable in the most dangerous position. With the rejection of Venezuelan aid reported in today's Irish Times it is quite obvious that anti-Americanism is, if anywhere, rampant within the US Administration.

Yours sincerely,

Madam, - I found Lisa Hawkins's letter in yesterday's edition, detailing the begrudging response of some of her neighbours to her collection for the New Orleans disaster victims, very interesting in the light of the remarks by John O'Shea of Goal on Morning Ireland. Mr O'Shea apparently believes that money sent to alleviate the suffering of Hurricane Katrina victims would be better put to use in Africa through the hands of his own organisation; some of Ms Hawkins's neighbours apparently believe that aid to US citizens is solely the job of other US citizens.

As a dual Irish-American national I have a mixed response to this sour-faced stinginess. As an American I am horrified by the ham-handedness and lack of empathy displayed by the White House in response to the Katrina disaster. However, here in Ireland I smell the stench of revenge from those who disagree with the Iraq war and the general aims of the Bush administration. But the poorest of the poor and the mentally and physically frail who were abandoned in the wake of the flood are as much the victims of the uncaring, ideal-minded, anti-pragmatic US administration as any innocent citizen of Iraq. To withhold aid to the victims of Katrina because of anti-American sentiments is to punish the downtrodden of the American system.

As an Irish national I am deeply embarrassed by the mean-spiritedness displayed by John O'Shea. We in Ireland have been quick to take whatever America has to offer for our own benefit. To pull back the hand of friendship from some of its poorest and neediest citizens at this time belies an undercurrent of resentment at being in some ways "under compliment" to the US and is a classic display of the worst of Irish begrudgery rather than the generosity for which the Irish people are known.

Denying money to hurricane victims through the Red Cross should not be placed in the same category as anti-war demonstrations or plane-bashing at Shannon. To endorse deliberately withholding such aid is to deny compassion, and our shared humanity, in the name of a twisted "political correctness".

Mr O'Shea says the Irish Government should have "offered advice" in place of money. Oh, really? Based on Ireland's extensive experience of hurricane damage and mass evacuations, I suppose? - Yours, etc,


US rejected aid offer from Chavez
Duncan Campbell in Baton Rouge

Foreign aid: An offer of aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina from the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, which included two mobile hospital units, 120 rescue and first-aid experts and 50 tonnes of food, has been rejected by the US, according to civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

Mr Jackson said the offer from the Venezuelan leader included 10 water purification plants, 18 power generation plants and 20 tonnes of bottled water.

He said the refusal of aid was typical of the mishandling of the crisis by the Bush administration.

The offer was one of many from governments and aid organisations across the world, despite the allegations of conservative commentators and bloggers that the US is being ignored by countries it helped during crises. "This may be Mr Bush's worst hour of leadership," said Mr Jackson, who is urging the government to use deserted military bases to house evacuees.

Article: The Irish Times