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Tsunami appeal finishes at £300m

Clearly, a public who have given £300m to help this disaster have been deeply affected by it, and overcome with the urge to aid their fellow human beings. This is one of those extraordinary events which demonstrates that true humanity and care still exists in this country, no matter what the media might have us believe.

This 391st post was filed under: Tsunami 2004.

‘Struggle’ to spend tsunami funds

This is the inherent problem with DEC campaigns for single disasters. As I’ve said before, it would be much better all round if it was up to the charities to divide the income between all of their projects, sending money where it is most needed, and not spending disproportionate amounts on one particular disaster.

This 349th post was filed under: Tsunami 2004.

Suddenly, we’re generous to a fault

Suddenly, we’re generous to a fault (Guardian)

This is a very interesting piece, seemingly suggesting that many people have donated to the various charities supporting those caught in the Asian Tsunami are doing so for the glory and pride of doing so, rather than to actually support the people.

A new Populus poll for the Times has suggested such widespread eagerness to appear generous that avowals of altruism occasionally precede the actual act. Over the weekend 83% of the British public claimed that their household had made a donation to the earthquake appeal, the average sum being £33.28. Which, if true, would have added up to more than £800m. In fact, the sum raised by last Friday was a respectable, but more modest, £100m.

I certainly think that there is an element of this going on, though I suspect that it was bound to happen as soon as the celebrities got involved. Once one pop group support the charities, another looks bad unless they do the same. I’ve not seen this happen on a person-to-person level in the community, but perhaps that’s just me.

I personally worry about the amount of money given to this one campaign, and the money that has been diverted from other charitable campaigns. I think it would make more sense to highlight charities that are working in the areas and not have special campaigns, since this would mean that those on the front line in different emergencies can use the money most appropriately. That way, the money donated to this campaign could also be directed to the people dying of HIV and AIDS in Africa. But would people be as likely to donate? Probably not. Or maybe I’m just being cynical.

This 194th post was filed under: Tsunami 2004.

First Band Aid, now Radio Aid

First Band Aid, now Radio Aid (Guardian)

This seems like a very positive story. I’m not personally a fan of commercial radio, but the fact that every station in the country has united behind this has to be a good thing.

Well done for putting the most bitter commercial rivalries aside in the name of a good cause.

This 185th post was filed under: Tsunami 2004.

Pepsi delays TV ad after tsunamis

Pepsi delays TV ad after tsunamis (IHT)

Is this one of the most unfortunately timed advertising campaigns in history? It must be in the top ten: An advertising campaign based on giant waves in the current world climate.

Unfortunately, Pepsi have threatened to sue anyone who publishes images of the ad, and so it’s quite difficult to track down. But because I’m just the best, I’ve found it for you here.

This 184th post was filed under: Tsunami 2004.

BBC News 24’s weaknesses exposed

Matt Wells strongly criticises the BBC (and pretty much everyone) in this article about their response to the Tsunami disaster. I agree that the lack of coverage on terrestrial BBC channels was somewhat lacklustre, but I think it’s unfair to criticise BBC News 24 in this way. My defence is below; for Roger Mosey‘s, click here.

While the competition were sending anchors to Thailand (Why Thailand? Presumably because that’s where most British tourists are), the BBC News 24 anchors remained in London, giving a much less nationalistic and narrow-minded view of the crisis.

BBC News 24 presented the world view, sat at a desk with the full facts in front of them, and passing to various highly experienced local correspondents around the affected region. Sky in particular concentrated on the plights of individual British tourists, exemplified by the pseudo-public-service-broadcasting ‘Messages Home’ ticker, whilst giving second billing to the world view, and shipped out anchors with little or no historical knowledge of the region to cover the disaster.

That’s not to say, by any means, that the BBC were right and Sky were wrong. It’s just that they’re catering for different audiences: Whilst the BBC takes the considered ‘broadsheet’ view, Sky goes for the getting-the-hands-dirty sensationalist ‘tabloid’ view. Many, if not most, people in the UK respond to ‘It could have been me!’ news reporting, and they should certainly be provided for. Comerical stations do this well. BBC News 24 should be providing something different, something more analytical, and so it has been.

The Guardian criticised BBC News 24 when it followed Sky’s lead. It now criticises it for doing something different. It complained that BBC News 24 had fewer viewers than commercial rivals. Now it barely mentions viewing figures.

BBC News 24 is doing its job and doing it well. Long may it continue.

This 164th post was filed under: Tsunami 2004.

Voltaire: Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne

After all of the posts on here recently about the religious explanations for the tsunami disaster, I thought it was about time that I gave my personal opinion on the matter. Not wanting to use my usual non-elequant writing style, though, I turned to classical poetry, and Voltaire, who’s opinions roughly match my own.

Some choice quotes (from the English translation, you’ll be glad to hear):

Behold these shreds and cinders of your race,
This child and mother heaped in common wreck,
These scattered limbs beneath the marble shafts—
A hundred thousand whom the earth devours,
Who, torn and bloody, palpitating yet,
Entombed beneath their hospitable roofs,
In racking torment end their stricken lives.
To those expiring murmurs of distress,
To that appalling spectacle of woe,
Will ye reply: “You do but illustrate
The iron laws that chain the will of God”?
Say ye, o’er that yet quivering mass of flesh:
“God is avenged: the wage of sin is death”?
What crime, what sin, had those young hearts conceived
That lie, bleeding and torn, on mother’s breast?
Did fallen Lisbon deeper drink of vice
Than London, Paris, or sunlit Madrid?

God holds the chain: is not himself enchained;
By his indulgent choice is all arranged;
Implacable he’s not, but free and just.
Why suffer we, then, under one so just?
There is the knot your thinkers should undo.

But how conceive a God supremely good,
Who heaps his favours on the sons he loves,
Yet scatters evil with as large a hand?

And, since it’s 2005 and not 1756, here’s the Reduced Shakespeare Company with their similar take on things:

Why does God allow bad things to happen
To good people?

Praise the Lord for the good he can do,
But he should take the wrap for the bad crap too…
If He can’t take the heat,
He oughta get out of heaven!

Well over two hundred years of poetry in a single blog entry, all painfully relevant to modern world events. What other blog gives you more? 😉

This 162nd post was filed under: Tsunami 2004.

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