December 30, 2004
Playground battles
All this talk about what country is being the most generous and which ones are being 'stingy' just blows me away. It's like a bunch of 6 year olds in a sandbox arguing about who's daddy is the toughest!

The Tsunami tragedy is proving to be the single most paralysing and all-consuming disasters to happen in recent history. No one could possibly begin to put a price tag on could they when no one has even been able to fully assess or even see what havoc has been created in total?

To be arguing about dollars and cents right now is infuriating, childish and completely besides the point. What is needed right now is help, in the form of potable water, medical supplies, food and medical help. Take care of the small stuff and the big stuff will take care of itself.

The death total now stands at 125,000 and is still expected to climb to at least double that. For every person who was not lucky enough to survive, at least 10 more are either hurt, homeless or otherwise traumatized by the event. These people need immediate help, and while it's great to talk about forgiving debt and sending money, it's still a bit pre-emptive.

Much has been written about Canada's DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) being terribly underfunded to such a degree that we couldn't even send them as we had no available planes. Laurie Hawn's blogs at Strong and Free are very well written and provocative. I agree completely with his view, and I don't even begin to assume that I have as much knowledge as he does on the subject. But today, I was pleased to see that the DART team has now left on commercial flights. Whatever the logistics end up being doesn't really matter. The people who can actually make a difference and physically help, are on their way rather than waving dollar figures around and expressing condolences.

Yes, Canada's funding to our military, to our disaster relief funds, to our coast guard and many many other programmes is woefully inadequate. But is this the time for our government to wring their collective hands and nod slowly that they wish more could be done, or is it the time to get things figured out and fix it? Large-scale disasters, natural or man-made, don't make schedules. They don't give warning. It happens and we must, as a nation who has a reputation for assisting others, jump in with both feet.

The last couple days, it seems most countries have been caught in some sort of reverse bidding war, each one trying to show up the other with their generousity. Meanwhile, the regions hit are barely holding it together. Bodies are decaying, water is preciously low, people need medical attention and food. Forget the politics for now. Take care of the moment. This is going to affect us all for a very long time. Right now is the time for action, not words.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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