I was, after the seriousness of the last couple of days, going to try and write something a little more light-hearted this morning but, my fur is up. Instead of purring placidly I am still growling.
To the ‘gentleman’ outside the supermarket who said, “I am not giving anything to the b…..Indonesians or Samoans. They don’t b…. need it.” There was no collecting box in sight. You did not have to give anything. I hope your friend was impressed by your generosity. I liked your friend. He was interested enough to approach me after I had been pointed out to him. He wanted to know.
I worked long hours yesterday. I will work long hours today, tomorrow and for some days to come. I will do it so that other people can go there to help. They will work even longer hours than I will. They will risk their lives alongside the locals. These people will give up their holidays. They will take unpaid leave. They are doctors who will operate in appalling conditions to save lives. They are architects who will crawl into dangerous spaces to see if a piece of cultural heritage can be saved. They are engineers who will walk for hours in the heat and humidity to see and then try to save vital communication lines and bridges. There are many others as well. I will try to give each one of them who contacts me the most basic means to communicate with local people in culturally and educationally appropriatge ways. I won’t get paid for it and neither will they.
I know too that I have the easy part, the easiest part of all. I will not smell the indescribable smell of decaying flesh. I will not hear the howl of recognition of death. I will not have to try and meet the eyes of the mother who has lost twenty-one members of her extended family and her own legs as well. I will not have to touch the surgical tools which will end all hope of a soccer career for the eight year old - and then see his eyes when his mother never comes.
I will not have to turn over the rubble and find the body of the father of five who made the hopeless attempt to save his wife.
You will sit home comfortably. Watch the footy. Have a beer or two with your mates. Dial for a pizza. I hope you sleep well. Thousands won’t.
Oh, and just by the way, one of the architects is Jewish. Indonesia is a Muslim country. They asked specifically for his help. He will go in with the Christians and the Buddhists, the agnostics and the atheists. It makes no difference to him. It makes no difference to me. Why does it make a difference to you?
Deeds not creeds.