Japan and How You Can Help (No Donations Required)
While I have been keeping up with the headlines on the multiple disasters in Japan–earthquake, tsunami, aftershocks the equivalent of earthquakes, possible nuclear meltdowns–I haven’t been watching the newscasts because I have no desire to see that much misery. Every time a natural disaster occurs, I wait for my federal government to announce that it’ll match donations, then log onto a charity web site and make my donation, secure in the knowledge that others like me around the world will do the same (actually, I find most people don’t even wait for the matching donation announcement because they’re better than I am). Imagine my consternation when a week later and the donations are, frankly, pathetic.
Now, I understand most of the world is just coming out of an economic recession, but the lack of donations goes beyond the recession. There have been blog posts and articles attempting to explain the anti-Japan sentiment that make me see red. I won’t link to those web sites because they don’t need the publicity, but I’ll summarize their ignorant points:
- The disaster is karma for Pearl Harbor. WTF? Even if I bought into the whole karma business, I would think the US dropping two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was payback enough.
- Japan and Japanese companies didn’t provide aid during 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina. Seriously? Remember the spam that went around saying Americans should only buy vehicles from the Detroit Three because they donated to the 9/11 relief funds while their Japanese counterparts didn’t? Well, that was a big fat lie, but unfortunately too many people took it at face value because everything they read in their inbox or on the internet must be true. Then there was that myth about how Japan ignored Hurricane Katrina. Once again, a big fat lie.
- Japan is a wealthy country and can survive without assistance. Maybe so because it is the most technologically advanced country in the world (e.g. even their vending machines are programmed to open during earthquakes to provide free food and water to those who need them) and is better prepared for such a disaster than any other country, but they’ll recover faster with help. And realize that since it is the third-largest economy in the world, there are large economic ripples across the globe. You’ve seen the sell-off in the stock markets beyond the Nikkei…although I think anyone betting against Japan is an idiot. Also, Americans need to realize that with 20%, Japan is the second-biggest foreign holder of US government debt. Imagine what will happen when Japan sells it to fund the rebuilding and recovery efforts.
However, I’m not here to tell people they must make a charitable donation. Some people think they donate enough to charity through their taxes, and rightly so. If you don’t want to donate, that’s your choice and you don’t have to explain your decision. If you do, however, don’t use moronic excuses that just don’t wash.
If you do want to help out Japan, leave a comment on or trackback to this post. For every comment or trackback link, I’ll donate CAD$1, which is actually worth more than USD$1, to a registered charity, up to CAD$1000. You have until March 31, 2011.