Thursday, January 06, 2005


[Heroic music. Pan bleak tropical coastal landscape to CU of white American man holding Asian child. American-made chopper lifts off/touches down in background.]

US Helicopters aid rescue effort.
The nationality of a particular mode of transport makes headlines. Can you imagine:
Thai rickshaws convey food supplies
PRC-made bicycles move hundreds of tsumani refugees

How many photos of the Lone US Aid-worker (or soldier) holding an Asian youth can grace the above-the-fold front pages of US dailies? They have replaced the image of grief-struck keening women in sarongs as the narrative changes from Generic Third-World Natural Disaster to US-as-Hero.

The story of aid has become the an evaluation of US generosity. In ways this is good -- the assertions of American generosity reflect a nervous response to global criticism. The increase from a few mill to $35 mill to $350 mill as only the beginning is a product of critique.

That we spend more on killing than saving usually goes without commentary. Some handy graphs -- bombs and coffins compared to food packets and bandages -- would be a contribution from the media.


Post a Comment

<< Home