The politics of Tsunami aid: Dueling donors, and recalcitrant recipients

While France, US and other countries duel it out (via Metafilter), trying to prove they are the most generous (US is currently leading at $350 million), India has refused aid from other Governments. They will still take aid from United Nations and other non-Governmental organizations, but not from other Governments. At first blush, this is a stupid idea – why stop anyone from helping? There are people who need help – there are Governments willing to help. But, as the escalating aid figures from US and Europe show, such aid is a political instrument. It comes with strings attached (even if the strings are invisible). And in the day of the internet, who needs Govts – people can help each other directly (as they are doing – in so many generous, creative ways).

In other news, how one phone call saves an entire village. That is all one needs – a phone and a Public announcement system in every village.

2 responses to “The politics of Tsunami aid: Dueling donors, and recalcitrant recipients

  1. There are amazing survival stories from everywhere. From wailing elephants that lead a group of people to a hill, a ten year old school girl who rememberered her geography lesson saving a whole beach, a woman who floated on the sea for 8 days to a man who survived after 10.

    India is emerging as a big power in Asia. It is the only victim nation that is also one of the main donors. Just commented about it on (http://avc.blogs.com/a_vc/2005/01/tsunami_continu.html#comments) another blog.

  2. I think India is emerging as a superpower more in India’s eyes than anyone else’s! (am referring to all the self-congratulatory articles in TOI – the national rag).

    I think the Tsunami taught a few geography lessons – to both India and the world. Typically India has not seen itself as having much in common with its Indian Ocean neighbours. Strangely, this tragedy provides a bond (and an acknowledgement of a geographic reality). For example, I had not realized just how close Nicobar is to Indonesia…

    And yes, Indian strength can be seen, but its still a little bit of an act right now. We still have starvation deaths in Orissa – hard to say with a straight face that we can take care of all our own.