Wednesday, September 07, 2005


In January, my father-in-law died after an extended fight with liver cancer. When my wife and I returned from his funeral in Canada, there was seemingly an entire grocery store on our front porch. Our friends, knowing what we'd been through over the holidays, had called to make sure they knew when we were coming home and made sure that there was nearly a month's worth of groceries and prepared foods waiting for us when we arrived.

It was one of the most humbling things that has ever happened to either of us. To know that friends would care so much, would think of nearly everything we could need, would do so much of us... To this day I can't think about what they did without choking up.

In the same vein, I've been humbled by the response of the world community to the disaster on our Gulf Coast. You won't hear much about it on the news - you have to go to the blogs and the "unofficial" media to learn about who's given what - but the response has been similarly humbling. One in particular that I remember hearing about was from Bangladesh. Typically we only hear about Bangladesh when the latest typhoon sweeps seemingly half its population away in the storm surge. In this instance, they pledged to send food aid and over a million dollars; an amount probably equal to a fair percentage of their GDP.

It's such a shame that the media chooses to ignore this response; it makes the rest of the world seem so far away rather than the integral part of our neighborhood that it really is. Even worse is the federal red tape delaying the deployment of this aid...

Offers of foreign aid worth tens of millions of dollars -- including a Swedish water purification system, a German cellular telephone network and two Canadian rescue ships -- have been delayed for days awaiting review by backlogged federal agencies, according to European diplomats and information collected by the State Department.
Since Hurricane Katrina, more than 90 countries and international organizations offered to assist in recovery efforts, but nearly all endeavors remained mired Tuesday in bureaucratic entanglements, in most cases at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
So when you hear some mouth breather on the networks or talk radio asking where the aid from the rest of the world is, you'll know.

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