It’s hard to not feel as though we can never do enough to help the millions of people that are going to be affected by the tsunami disaster. Lots of the media talk about how “thousands” will be affected, likely fixating on the death toll. But this will go way beyond those who died. This is gonna affect nations for many years, affect families for many generations. To help get some word out, here’s an email that MoveOn.org sent to its members about methods to keep American government invested in this relief movement:
Dear MoveOn member,
The tsunami in southern Asia and Africa may be the worst natural disaster of our time. More than 116,000 lives were wiped out within hours. The toll in death and suffering from smashed cities, broken families, rampant disease, and crippled economies cannot even be calculated. In the face of this horror, MoveOn members have poured in requests to help, asking how we can push through our sadness and lend a hand.
Rising to this challenge is at the heart of global leadership, and the world is depending on us. The U.S. government can lead billions of dollars of aid into this relief effort, if it chooses. Americans are generous and ready to step forward, but the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration have made a weak initial contribution to the effort — first offering $15 million and then $35 million when they came under pressure. Clearly, we can do more.
Let Congress and the President know that Americans are supporting strong leadership in this relief effort — that millions of lives are at stake and we have to help. In this hour of need, if America chooses to embrace our role as a world leader, we can have an unparalleled impact. Send a message to our leaders at:
But we can’t just wait for this Congress to move. We can help directly, as individuals, and save lives today. Our friends at Oxfam are already scrambling on the front lines to fight off starvation and disease — and beginning to rebuild. Because Oxfam has worked for years with grassroots groups in the hardest hit areas, they were able to mobilize local leadership to help survivors immediately after the tsunami hit. And Oxfam will be there for the long-term, helping communities recover and regain their ability to meet basic needs. Oxfam needs to raise $5 million immediately to provide safe water, sanitation, food, shelter, and clothing to 36,000 families in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India. Your contribution can make this possible.
Please give what you can, at:
Of course, Oxfam is only one of dozens of great organizations, like UNICEF, CARE, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent, rushing to help with the immediate need. Their efforts give the victims a head start, but it won’t be enough unless the great nations of the world step forward in a big way for the long-term challenges.
Indonesia, by far the hardest hit country, is also the world’s largest Muslim nation. Their estimated death toll stands at 85,000 — in some areas, 1 out of 4 people have already been killed. Now it’s time for America to show its true colors. We want to be known as a nation that leads the world with compassion, generosity, and community — not with disastrous foreign military adventures. We are a nation that values human life, family, and extending freedom and opportunity to where it is most needed. We must now reach out in a serious way to do just that.
The $35 million offered by the Bush administration seems like a lot of money, but it’s insignificant compared to what’s needed in a disaster relief effort than spans continents and is expected to be the most expensive in history. To put it in perspective, we’re spending $35 million in Iraq every 7 hours. (The Bush administration is about to ask for another $80 billion to cover the next installment of this tragic occupation.)1
We can and will do better. Thanks for doing your part to show the true generosity of the American spirit.
–Adam, Ben, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Justin, Laura, Mari, Noah, Rosalyn, and Wes