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Daily Quote and Video: Selective Generosity in Pakistan and The Buddha on Giving

Why is human generosity so selective, if it happens at all?


My girlfriend has recently wondered aloud why Americans, and the American media, have turned a blind eye toward the disastrous flooding in Pakistan, which has so far claimed more human casualties than  the Haiti earthquake, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake combined, according to the United Nations. The Red Cross cell phone texting donation program has received .03 percent (that's one three thousandth!) of the support that their Haiti campaign received, according to a good write-up in the Atlantic.

What is it that makes us get excited about giving to a few worthy causes, ignoring so many others?

Today's quote is one from the Buddha's Pali Canon. The calligraphy was done by IDPer CJ Dunn. The video is the latest on the Pakistan catastrophe.

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a way to help...

Fundraiser in NJ for Flood Relief: http://www.sumei.org/

Celebrities and the New World

Maybe some Pakistani celebrities with a following in the United States need to get together to have humungous relief concerts, TV ads, get on MTV and tell the kids how important it is to send money to Pakistan.

I don't watch much TV and remember HEAPS of "give money to for Haiti relief" adverts/commercials on nearly every channel. I haven't seen a single "give money to Pakistan relief" commercial.

Here's an article on celebrities and Haiti relief: http://technorati.com/entertainment/article/celebrities-helping-with-haiti-relief/

At first glance I see the names Pitt, Jolie, Damon, Clooney. I saw MTV in there.

Here's a photo of Matt Damon with Hatian children:

Here's an article about celebrities and donations for the Pakistan Flood relief efforts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11151186

Seems very Pakistani celebrity centric. Angelina Jolie dropped $100k on the relief effort (she seems to give lots of money to relief efforts). She shot a movie in Pakistan once or something.

Maybe the lack of media attention is due to the physical proximity to our borders? Pakistan is militarily close to our borders (if that makes any sense). We haven't declared war on them yet so maybe that's not true.

Mostly my money is on "foreign Arab nation on the other side of the world" and the majority of Americans don't identify with that and the proximity to their lives and homes.

Gets me thinking about how much one should care about disasters and relief in general. Makes me think about Thich Nhat Hanh's "do your dishes before saving the world." What to do what to do?


I'm appalled, and had no idea the response was so abysmal. I just don't understand that at all, although the previous comment about the media and perception may be correct, even tho Pakistan is not in the Middle East. Makes me look at what triggers generosity, and what inhibits it? that we think the recipients are "for" or "against" us? anyway, I'm texting some $$$ to Red Cross right now, and contacting Pakistani friends to see
about more direct aid, too.

could it be....

that Americans have come to feel that giving money to Middle Easterners is like giving money to terrorists?

sick as hell, but probably a factor if you look at what's going on in the media.

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