Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Difference Between 3rd World Compassion and 1st World Complacency

A typical Sunday afternoon chatting with a friend about world issues can sometimes lead one to ask some controversial questions. Such a question recently came up while talking to an old friend about the current flooding situation in Quebec Canada. While I was sitting in his store, he mentioned that he had a customer who was one of the many flood victims; she was for the moment staying in a hotel, which she could apparently afford yet he wondered what would become of the multitude of people who had suddenly found themselves without a home. At first glance, there is a huge outpouring of compassion for those who have been hit by this year’s disaster yet if one is to dig deeper the question inevitably comes up ... As Canadians are we doing enough?
Sure our army is there sand bagging and the Red Cross is, as ever, diligently collecting donations; two major actions taken with hundreds of individual efforts no doubt being made outside of the public view. Being Canadian I have faith that the homes of those who have not been affected by the rising water have been opened to victims,yet it concerns me when I look at the news and see that for all the articles and broadcasts about the disaster I have yet to see an announcement of a major relief fundraiser.
I don’t know, maybe I missed it, perhaps I was not watching the news that day... I could have, goodness knows my eyes and ears cannot be everywhere at once; I pray that if I am wrong in this somebody will send me the good news that ‘yes – of course the artists of our world are banding together for Quebec Aide’ – It is a story I would love to see... As of today however I have not seen it so I write in the hopes that if the right word is whispered in the right ear our artists and musicians will come to the rescue of those who support them...
Why the artists? Why the musicians? Because to me it has always been these people who have held the strongest position for change... It is their voice that rises above the din to pull at the hearts of the listeners and what a voice it is.... Japan, Haiti, Philippines... the list I am sure is miles long of places that have been literally lifted up by the melodious sounds of big name artists who have sung out their desire for support. I can’t sing... and I would have no idea how to even attempt to go about collaborating such an event; I certainly don’t have the resources but as usual I have my pen...
So who do we talk to? How do we make this happen and why bother?
I’ll start with ‘why bother’...
Let’s face it, regardless of the numbers of helping hands that are now being leant to the efforts to curb the flow of water, and the countless volunteers who have promised their time for the cleanup efforts when the waters do stop flowing there is one flow that will still be must not end. The flow of cash; these people are left in a desperate situation. As much as we would like to believe that the help will be there for them when they need it, we have to stop long enough to ask; will it? The government resources are limited and strained; Quebec is not the only victim of natural disasters in Canada. Our army has man power but do they have the money? There is always the Red Cross. They are set up for this but they can only be expected to handle so much; they do after all cater to the whole world, and tomorrow there will no doubt be another disaster for them to focus some of their seemingly endless resources on. Insurance is not an option, this disaster most likely falls into the realm of ‘ACT OF GOD’ and the unfortunate truth is that the insurance companies are under no obligation to dish out any money. The banks however are under an obligation to collect on any of the mortgages that may be held on destroyed homes. And what of the jobs affected? I was told today the lady staying in the hotel lost her job because she stayed too long from work in an effort to save her home; her choice, her consequence... I would have done the same. What of small business, farms? What do they do? There will be no end to the need when all is said and done and we are missing out on our most powerful tool to pull people together in a time of need. Music has ever been the life blood of all peoples; it is what pulls nations together and given the vast talent of the artistic community in Quebec I have to wonder why a relief concert has not been announced.
Is it simply that we are so used to this idea that our social system is set up to care for the needy that we neglect to reach out to our own people? Are our own people less important than those in other countries who do not have the resources; we as Canadians have always stood by the belief that we are not MORE important and has it perhaps come to a time when we might have to take a step back and tell ourselves that while we are out there trying to help the world, there are times like now when we might also have to help ourselves. Thank goodness we live in the country we do; caring and compassionate, willing to give and more than willing to work hard and fight for what we believe in... That is the Canadian way...
It got to to pondering however - Have we become complacent...?
I don’t believe it, I can’t believe it... Refuse in fact to believe it... I think perhaps in this case it may just be as simple as ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ If that’s the case then all it will take is the idea being put out there before those generous, welcoming people we know to be our people take that idea and blow it up into a hugely successful movement to raise these people up out of despair to a place of hope for a new day. So I ask, given the fact that I am certainly no musician are there any out there who will sing for chance at a new life for the people of Quebec?
Who do we ask? How do we do it? I have no idea how but artists like Celine Dion and Karl Wolf no doubt have the connections and that is just the first two names that popped into my head... Is this a new idea; certainly not... Is it my idea... don’t be silly... I am just taking the cue from the amazing feats accomplished in the past by artists like Michael Jackson. Can I talk the artists into doing it – who knows...? Am I going to try...? I am right now, in writing this blog and putting it out there for you all do with what you will... The only question now is how big can they make this concert and how many lives can they change with the money? I guess as usual – only time will tell...
Vive le Quebec...
P.S. I might live in the Montreal area now but I am from Toronto and in this case, me being of an out of province english speaking girl has nothing to do with how much I care – I am CANADIAN; scratch that – I am a human being from the planet Earth – these people are my family too...
Jean Victoria Norloch
www.feenxrising.blogspot.com

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