A bit upsetPosted: January 3, 2005
I haven't posted in a while, and I can't think of anything to say about the horrific Tsunami that hasn't already been said already. I can, however, say that one of my favorite blogs, Biur Chametz, has posted what I feel is a calloused and even glib assessment of a religious Jew's responsibility to help out. Tell the thousands of homeless children who are at risk for fatal disease why you feel they're such a low priority.
He also asks why Tsunami victims are any different than the desperately poor people around the world who are suffering – in his words, “Is it our responsibility to bear the burden for all the world's poor?”. First of all, yes – we should do whatever we can to alleviate the needless suffering of as many people as possible. Second of all, none of the crises throughout the world come close to the devastation wrought in South Asia. Malaria, for example, affects millions, but, as bad as it is, it doesn't displace or destroy entire communities – certainly not on the level that the Tsunami did. When it comes to war, the tragedy comes from political turmoil – something that requires a political (or military) solution. Money and aid does not help in a warzone like Darfur (although it obviously helps the refugees who have fled the warzone). The solution there can only be peaceful negotiations.
So, Biur Chametz, you may be able to come up with all sorts of rationalizations not to help, but I hope it doesn't prevent you from actually doing so.
p.s. As I said, Biur Chametz is a great blog, and I always read what he has to say with great interest. It is for this reason that I was so disappointed by his post today.