Should charity begin at home?
from CBC.ca archives | Wed, 12 Jan 2005
From a column by Anthony Westell
When I worked in British newspapers many years ago there was a cynical saying that in news value one Brit equalled a hundred Frenchmen or a million Indians. We are not quite as racist now but would this disaster have attracted as much attention and so many millions in aid if there had been no tourists? I doubt it.
Commentators are saying that the public interest in the events far away and the unprecedented flood of donations prove that we are now living in a global village. I've always hated that phrase because villages conjure the image of friendly people in pretty cottages going about their peaceful ways, with Miss Marples ready to deal with any unpleasantness.
The reality is that we live in a global metropolis in which the rich live in luxury high-rises and eat themselves to death, and the poor in hovels or cold streets and are often hungry. Violence, in the form of war and between individuals, is endemic in our global metropolis, and natural disasters are frequent.
Perhaps there just isn't enough compassion to go around.