Monday, January 03, 2005

Tsunami Aid and Islam

I was happy to see the Catholic Church respond so quickly to the tsunami--a special collection was taken up for Catholic Relief Services on Sunday, and they're one of the best organizations around. And I've also been heartened by all of the private donations which have been pouring in through normal folks at places like Amazon ($13,244,332 and counting) and rich folks like Sanda Bullock ($1 million all by herself, make sure you go see her next movie).

But scroll down to the end of this story on relief funding. After a delayed response, the U.S. government is finally beginning to do the right thing. That's good news. The Taiwanese, God bless them, are giving nearly as much ($50 million) as the Chinese ($64 million). That's also wonderful news. But keep going down the list and you'll find some very rich countries who are doing next to nothing.

Take, for instance, Saudi Arabia ($10 million), Kuwait ($2 million), and Iran ($627,000). This, for their Muslim brothers and sisters? These are countries for whom wealth flows from the very earth which killed so many. The Saudi princes do not work or create. They shop and harvest. And yet here they stand again--they and the rest of the Middle East--sitting on their hands and expecting the rest of the world to take care of their Islamic brothers. How much is Islamic solidarity worth for Iran? About 16,000 barrels of oil.

That's fine, so far as it goes. It's their choice. But remember it the next time you hear a bin Laden tape blaming the West for the destruction of civilization. Remember it the next time you hear an Islamist imam castigating the Jews and infidels for defiling their lands. Remember it the next time you hear an al Jazeera story about how infidels are disrespecting Islam. Remember it the next time you hear how Islamic "solidarity" with other oppressed Muslims is what keeps this or that country from fully joining in on the war on terror.

Remember that, when it counted, it was Japan, America, Britain, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Australia, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, and the rest of the West--not to mention the Far East--which opened its arms to help the millions of people--including millions of Muslims--who were struck by this terrible disaster.


Anonymous said...

As I recall, Iran just had a nasty earthquake that killed some 30,000 people. They were more than happy to accept money on that occasion. It really demonstrates the incredibly self serving world view that a totalitarian regime has. Effectively, whatever keeps me in power, good. Whatever doesn't directly contribute to that, screw it.

Anonymous said...

According to Reuters, Saudi has pledged 30 million, Qatar 25 m, the UAE 20M, and Kuwait 10m (and some Kuwaitis pundits have been castigating their gvt for its stinginess).

Please correct the information on your blog or follow up with primary sources to ensure you are being accurate.

Toning down the bombast and misinformed rhetoric would be nice as well (frex, Bin Laden spends plenty of time hating on the Saudis) but that's more a personal choice.