Why I will not donate to Katrina relief
Date: Tuesday, September 06 2005
[Please keep in mind that this is an op-ed, i.e. written by one Canadian reader/member of this site, and doesn't represent the views of *every* Canadian or necessarily the views of this site. Rather, Vivelecanada.ca encourages everyone to donate to the relief fund (https://www.paypaq.com/redcross/en/), regardless of political views. Remember, the people who need relief right now are *not* the war profiteers. --Editor]
By Pat Meloy
Sept 3, 2005
I watched with sympathy the reports of tens of thousands of people trapped in New Orleans. My sympathy became mixed with disgust at how the media was characterizing whites scrounging in grocery stores as “just trying to survive” while at the same time characterizing blacks doing exactly the same thing as “thugs and looters”. My disgust turned to outrage as I watched video of helicopters evacuating ambulatory white people that could afford private hospital care while directly across the street, blacks in dire condition in stretchers at a charity hospital looked on – with FEMA giving the excuse that “the neighborhood around the charity hospital was too dangerous.” These people were staring directly at one another across a single street, rooftop to rooftop! This is naked racism and class warfare!
I watched with incredulity as the head of FEMA, on CNN, said that he didn’t know about the plight of the people at the superdome and convention centre. Everyone around the world was aware of their plight for DAYS and, unlike FEMA, we are not the FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION.
In the face of this obviously uncaring (at best) attitude of those that are supposedly in charge that I felt an almost overwhelming need to help - to donate something to help the tens of thousands of people who had lost everything. I donated to the Tsunami relief effort and I was prepared to donate to this as well.
What changed my mind? Well, the news is reporting that a fair number of Canadians are not planning on donating. Reasons expressed range from softwood lumber disputes to saying the US is rich and doesn’t need any help. None of those reasons would have stopped me from donating.
Trade disputes are important in their own way but rank very, very low compared to human life and human suffering. No, while I am angry at the US for their dishonest trade practices, that would not stop me from helping, not even for a moment.
The US is indeed a rich country, but so is Canada. By donating I could help offset some of the economic chaos that this disaster is sure to precipitate on the American people. In a way, that would also be helping myself as economic trouble in the USA also spells economic trouble for Canada. No, being a rich country doesn’t mean that donating would be of no benefit.
When the USA destroyed Fallujah, murdering thousands of innocent civilians and leaving tens of thousands homeless, they also bombed occupied hospitals, shot and killed ambulance drivers, and imprisoned hundreds without charge, where was the sympathy? Where were the donation drives to help those people that USA had murdered, maimed, left homeless and without any basic necessities like water, food, and medical care? Where was the outrage from the American people that its troops were killing doctors? Where is the outrage against the Bush administration for its crimes against humanity in using imprisonment without charge, torture and carrying out assaults on civilian populations? Where is the outrage against the US government over the targeting and murder of reporters?
Why, when they had the chance to NOT elect Bush, did only ¼ of the eligible voters of America vote against Bush? That means that ¾ of the eligible voters in the United States either actively or passively gave permission to Bush to keep on invading countries in order to steal their resources. It legitimized the use of murder, torture, and terror by the America government. Some people may not donate because the people of the USA don’t deserve help. That is still not my reason for not donating.
Yes, Bush is a monster, on par with Mussolini and Pinochet, but the American people are just people, identical to you and I. They do not deserve to suffer for the past actions of their elected leaders.
My reason is what the Bush administration will be able to do because of the money I donate. Every dollar I send would be money the US government does not have to spend to help its own people. The money they save will be used to murder more Iraqis. It will be used to attack Iran. It will be used to fund the manipulation of our very atmosphere under HAARP. It will be used to put nuclear weapons in space in order to blackmail the rest of the world into following its orders.
I feel horrible for the people affected by the hurricane and I wish I could help, I will not donate because every dime I save the US government will be used to kill, murder, torture, terrorize, and blackmail, and I will not have that on my conscience.