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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spare a shekel for an old ex-leper?

This week's earthquake in Haiti has, at current estimates, killed at least 50,000 and has made over 300,00 people homeless....

....and if I'm honest, I really don't care.
Don't give a shit, couldn't give a monkey's.
Don't get me wrong, on one level I know that these people are experiencing a human tragedy that I really have no comprehension of, but still I find myself looking at images of the dust-caked survivors being pulled from the ground and I feel nothing.

It all started on October the 23rd, 1984. Michael Buerk's now famous news report from Ethiopia highlighting the famine there was the first push downhill of the media snowball. In the years since, it has just been one humanitarian crisis after another, disaster upon disaster, and I'm sorry, but Compassion Fatigue has well and truly set in.
I've become so overexposed to starving black babies with flies in their eyes, roadside ditches filled with dead Kosovans or Rwandan rebels butchering civilians that I now just stare blankly at these news reports, wondering what the next emotionally blackmailed tv advert will be.
I'm not an uncharitable, uncaring person, I currently donate monthly to three charities that I believe do good work both here in the UK and around the globe:

In a purely selfish way, I feel better knowing that "I've done my bit", and indeed I've doubled my donation to the British Red Cross this month in the knowledge that I'm probably paying for five plastic water buckets for some Haitian families.
Job done.
Conscience clean.

At least until the next A-list celebrity pops up and tells us that we really need to give more for the next humanitarian disaster.


downhilldad said...

This you first ever controvertial blogg. So well done, about time.

In essance I agree. I too support a charity monthly, this to alleviate the intoxicating guilt of regular human suffering across the globe.

Unless you wish to leave you home, your wife, your family , your friends etc and trot off to downtown Mogadishu there is bugger all you can do about all these worldly problems.

Some would have you feel guilt for your thoughts or for not paying enough or for not making enough effort to be Florence. Hell some would say you make these payments just to appease your guilt - therefore your are still guilty.

Fuck all these go gooders I say we all have our materialistic lives to lead. The blame lies with the media and out insatiable appetite for crap news. BBC news 24 must just sit around waiting for a disaster to happen, as then it gives them something to do - but now this is a whole different story......

Steve said...

I know what you mean. I'm sick of celebs with earnest looks on their faces pleading with me to give up soyet more me of my shit earnings to another good cause when they're making more in a month than I will in a year - even taking into account they "donated their fee" for the campaign advert. I find the footage of suffering children more difficult to stomach since having kids myself. I naturally think "what if"... but like you I give what I can, when I can and when I choose too. Not at the behest of some celeb who, let's be cynical, is improving his media profile by displaying his professional compassion so eloquently (thanks to a script writer). Encourage people to give if they can by all means but don't blackmail them into doing so by making them feel guilty with some carefully selected footage and music. I can only fight my corner for me and mine... not the rest of the world.

Inchy said...

You can't save everyone.
Full stop.

I just don't understand why this current group of impoverished third-worlders are more deserving of funds than any other group of impoverished third-worlders.

People die, tragedies happen.
I do what I can, which is very little, but it's something.

I didn't see anyone rushing to the aid of the people dying in the shanty towns of Haiti BEFORE the earthquake struck, and this time next month we'll all have forgotten about it because they got their £20 and that's that.

...and don't even get me started on Africa!

Steve said...

"I didn't see anyone rushing to the aid of the people dying in the shanty towns of Haiti BEFORE the earthquake struck..." Yes, yes, damn well yes! That's the whole point there in a nutshell.

The Sagittarian said...

so, these guys on here with no shirts on....

Inchy said...

It's a scene from the Monty Python film 'Life Of Brian'.

Löst Jimmy said...

I am going off topic for the exciting chance to slag off Sting!
Flying out of Madrid on Sunday night I read about the great activist, musician and friend to the Royals. He continues to rant on about saving the world and his continuing battle to help the environment. This is the same guy who flew Concorde back in the days and was the face of Jaguar cars. Hehe I do love a good hypocrite do gooder, and don't get me started on Bono or that guy out of the Boomtown Rats with daughter named after a shite London football team...

TheUndertaker said...

I am taking donations now, btw, if you change your mind? I could really do with some cash : ) I promise it would be a worthy cause. You know, because I'm worth it!