Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tsunami Remembered

I did a double-take at the reports today on the third anniversary of the tsunami which killed 230,000 people in Asia. Third? It hardly seems possible that it was that long ago we watched the death toll climb and began to act. There was an outpouring of financial aid from nations around the world -- $13 billion in total. Some of it was delivered immediately and some is still only a promise. Individuals, school groups, religious organizations sent billions more. It was impressive to see how quickly the world responded to such heartache.

I wonder why it is so much more difficult to motivate those of us who are reasonably well off to give what it needed to eradicate malaria or provide support for those living with HIV and AIDS? The number who die every year from this diseases is many times that killed in the tsunami. Governments could be systematic in their contributions, budgetting each year. Can you imagine what good we could do if Canadian households contributed $5 or $10 a month to a worthy cause overseas?

Instead we seem to need the electric shock of a natural disaster or war with the resulting hardship and loss to get us going. I hope we don't need another tragedy of monumental proportions to motivate us toward compassion. That's where faith communities are important as places where the important issues can be raised and we can be agents of Christ's love.

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