Yesterday — Friday — was World Humanitarian Day.
I had no idea.
Of course, I also had no idea last Tuesday was the 34th anniversary of Elvis’ death, until it was ludicrously brought to my attention by one Miss Mickie Bachmann.
Sad state of affairs — the human suffering currently rocking some parts of the world is near-incomprehensible and yet mirrors a paradox to mankind’s near-indifference in response.
(Illustration found here).
Any news about any observation of World Humanitarian Day had gone unobserved if there were any — I saw this morning an AFP story about the US White House statement on the event buried in the old news section at Raw Story, the first I’d seen of it (I generally peruse that site just about every day).
This WHD was the third observance, which takes special note and acknowledges those aid workers associated with relief agencies around the globe.
These people perform most-perilous jobs, especially in the Horn of Africa, where a mankind disaster is unfolding right is the middle of nasty warfare — famine has left more than 300,000 children in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti severely malnourished and in imminent risk of dying while tens of thousands of people have already died — and caused the UN also on Friday to ask for another $1 billion in donations.
Apparently, this disaster in the Horn has unfolded too slow to catch the needed attention.
From the UK’sÂ The Independent last week in a story about the African Union taking a bigger role in aid to the ravaged region:
In the majority of cases though, aid has been a long time coming from the west, as well as Africa.
Largely because the kind of outpouring of private donations seen in some recent disasters, like those in the wake of the Haitian earthquake and even the Japanese tsunami earlier this year, have been almost entirely absent in the horn.
â€œThis is a humanitarian crisis that the scale is unprecedented in terms of the number of families affected,â€ Una Osili, director of research at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, explained. â€œBut if you look at the trajectory, itâ€™s unfolded over time, gradually.â€
Meaning the global response has been rather more sluggish than one might expect, more on a par with that following the floods in Pakistan in Summer 2010, than other disasters perceived as more urgently dangerous.
And to make matter worse, Osli said: â€œWe do see from the data that the disasters that garner a lot of response that comes quite early in the first six weeks or so and then tapers off,â€ she said.
â€œSo if you donâ€™t have a big response right at first, the challenge is how to build momentum.â€
Most likely you really can’t, at least nowadays with the global financial network in a panic and a lot of cash is being spent elsewhere on shit people think is important.
A quickening, way-modern life, yet without much compassion.
This from Dr. Naseer Homoud, External Relations Advisor of Arab Non-Violence Society and Honorary Member of Arab Youth Media Forum, on marking the third birthday ofÂ WHD and heroicÂ aid workers (via PR.com):
Urging youths to come forward for this noble work Dr. Homoud said â€œThe world demands a lot from its aid workers.
And the future is sure to ask more of us.
With the impending mega-trends of climate change, water shortages, urbanization, food scarcity, and global economic recession, the call to action is formidable.â€
He further added â€œIt is a cruel irony that at a time of the most monumental technological advances in the history of human civilization, we also have the greatest number of people who do not have enough food, water, medicine, and shelter.
Humanitarian aid professionals work in situations that simply should not exist.â€
Congratulating the aid workers he said â€œto all humanitarians on this day, we thank you and admire you for your ongoing commitment to serving those in need.â€
I underlined the emphasis.
Yet the US spendsÂ $400-a-gallon fuel to operate the war machines in Afghanistan.
Ironic or just cold-hearted bat-shit crazy.