The toll of South Asia’s earthquake passes 30,000 dead at the same time millions of tsunami and hurricane survivors are beginning to make sense of their lives. Aid is slowly making its way into Pakistan from around the world just as it did for the survivors of other natural disasters.
As accountability becomes increasingly more important, the relief gets more direct. We’ve seen photographs and footage of supplies dumped right on to the ground where people stood in New Orleans, Sri Lanka, and even Baghdad. Today we can see similar pictures coming in from Kashmir.
Meanwhile, back at the origin of man, no such accountability exists. African aid that hasn’t been misdirected or mishandled is just missing. Despite billions of dollars in relief and a staggering mortality rate, there are still millions of hungry and sick people in many African nations waiting for aid. While we’ve blamed violence and corruption for thwarting the relief efforts, we’ve used violence and corruption to both justify and wage the war on terror. Clearly, the world knows how to get where it wants to go, it just doesn’t want to go to Africa.
It’s hard to hear the cries of the African people over the din of warring factions. Hunger, disease, rape camps, and genocide have muffled their voices. But if you really listen, you might here them crying out for something more globally palatable — like a tsunami, a hurricane, or an earthquake.