Anglican Samizdat

January 20, 2010

Christendom’s aid to Haiti

Filed under: Islam — David Jenkins @ 6:32 pm

It would appear that the decadent West has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to assist Haiti and the oil-rich Islamic nation of Saudi Arabia – nothing. Perhaps Allah is a racist.

What do Alyssa Milano, Sandra Bullock, Lance Armstrong, Gisele Bundchen, the country of Senegal and — very possibly — you have in common?

All — including you — have donated more funds to the Haitian relief effort than oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

That’s right … if you personally have donated money to help the earthquake-stricken people of Haiti, then you have contributed more money than the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose combined dollar donation is a big fat zero.

As Haiti slowly recovers from last week’s earthquake, nearly $400 million has been donated by countries, individuals and organizations to the devastated nation, accordign to United Nations documents.

But the goodwill has been far from balanced. India, which has one of the world’s largest gross domestic products, has donated $1 million, a figure matched or eclipsed by much smaller economies like the Czech Republic ($1.1 million), Botswana ($1.1 million) and Senegal ($1 million).

And those donations have been matched or topped by individuals like Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

And, within days, Israel had set up a field hospital:

IDF Medical and Rescue Team has set up a Field Hospital, Beginning to Rescue and Treat hundreds.

The IDF Medical and Rescue Team has arrived in Haiti, set up a field hospital in Port-Au-Prince and is beginning to treat patients there. In addition, the forces are locating and rescuing survivors trapped in ruined buildings, including many who were injured during the collapse of the UN headquarters.



  1. Some people have taken the view that giving to a country basically corrupt is not a morally-good thing to do. This is like the giving-to-the-street-beggar issue: if you give to such a person, it may keep him in the state he’s in (or he may be being “worked” by bad people, who pocket the cash). Sure, it would be wrong to help keep such people in that state, but, as Christians, we will be judged by our intentions; if the beggar really runs a Porsche on your contributions, it doesn’t change your intention to help a destitute person, and the Lord knows the truth of your intentions (as for Haiti, real, actual people need help badly, NOW – never mind the long-term questions as to the political/economic structure of the country, etc….)

    Comment by John Thomas — January 21, 2010 @ 7:50 am

  2. I saw the Israeli field hosp on on Sunday – all set up and working, helping patients – high tech – – – and I had to wonder – why isn’t North America set up to respond immediately? I mean immediately. They came across an ocean – we just have to cross a sea – – – The one redeeming point in the interview was that the interviewer was making a ‘gentle’ comment about the distance and speed with which the Israelis had responded. And the lack thereof of the U.S.A.
    When one thinks of some of the disasters of recent memory [Katrina immediately comes to mind] and the [basically] atrocious response as regards speed – how can we call ourselves ‘advanced’, ‘high-tech’, the ‘wealthy West’?
    Just wondering.

    Comment by Margo — January 21, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

  3. The bigger the country the more sluggish the bureaucracies (if you’ve ever worked for a large US corporation you’ll know what I mean). Also, Israel’s survival has depended on its ability to think and act fast.

    Comment by Ian — January 21, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

  4. Margo (#2), I’m currently working in a large military headquarters that is directly concerned with the issues you are asking about. If I was in your shoes, I would probably be asking the same questions, but I can assure you that there is much more going on than meets the eye. Given the many constraints that exist, some of the capabilities that can be brought to bear quickly are quite impressive. If I was to be the surviving victim of a major disaster, I would rather be in the US than anywhere else.

    Comment by Warren — January 21, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

  5. John #1), I have to disagree with you about the homeless point. I don’t think giving a panhandler money is the right thing to do, nor is it done with good intentions in most cases. When I do it, I usually don’t take any real interest in the person, it’s just to get him/her out of my face and/or make me feel good about myself even though I know that there is a good chance the money will be mis-used. I believe the more Christ-like thing to do is to give food, a hot drink or whatever else the person needs (ie: bus ticket, clothes, directions to the local shelter, etc.)

    Translating that to the Haiti situation, we are also giving responsibly when we give to reputable aid organizations who we know will spend the money wisely to help those directly in need; I do not plan on directly giving cash to the Haitian government.

    Comment by John — January 21, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  6. John (# 5): I know this is a complex issue. I understand the reluctance to help street beggars, which you express, and I don’t particularly disagree with it; but I know (and you may have too) the situation where a person uses these, and other arguments, to justify not giving, and what may even be a mean attitude. Yes, you’re so right: our attitude to the beggar in question is so important. If one encounters a person in need it is useful to think of this person as, in a real sense, Christ himself – but just having compassion for them is no use, if one keeps one’s wallet buttoned (the person will say that one’s compassion alone is no good to them). And people can have morally-good intentions, and do bad things.
    Regarding Haiti, I agree totally: I’ve seen ads by various charities, wanting money for Haiti, where I have never heard of the charity in question before, hence I’ve given by an established one, Christian Aid.

    Comment by John Thomas — January 22, 2010 @ 7:18 am

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