by Kopi Annan
In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, the world witnessed a complete breakdown of law and order in Louisiana that required the presence of the National Guard to safeguard property. The chaos is best described by Rossie Diamnno of The Toronto Star (September 2, 2005) as follows:
"It is disgraceful that countless people are still stranded five days after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf coastline, flattening communities and knocking a major metropolis on its ear.
It is disgraceful that hundreds of state troopers and National Guard soldiers have been deployed to protect property rather than help people.
It is disgraceful that thousands of hurricane refugees — including the elderly, the infirm, the sick, mothers with babes in arms, children separated from parents — have been essentially abandoned in the Superdome and the convention centre, left to fend for themselves without food or water.
It is disgraceful that not a single relief agency has any presence on the ground as far as those of us who are here can see. No Red Cross, no federal emergency administrators, no medical teams, no shelter officials, no angels of mercy.
That is why, beneath the damp and dank, New Orleans is seething."
In another part of the world, people with meager means faced a similar situation when the recent tsunami struck. It was in the NorthEast of Sri Lanka, the homeland of the Island’s Tamil population. The aftermath of the Tsuanami was no different from that of Katrina.
But, what followed the colossal natural disaster in the NorthEast, especially in the areas governed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE, a rebel group listed as a terrorist organization in the US, was quite heartwarming to watch. Had Rossie Diamanno witnessed the relief effort provided to its people by the LTTE and the Tamil relief agency, the TRO, she would have perhaps said the following.
"It is heartwarming to note that countless people, who were stranded only five days ago when the tsunami struck the Tamil Eelam coastline, flattening communities and knocking a major metropolis on its ear, have now not only received physical assistance, but also moral support from the LTTE and their fellow citizens in their homeland.
It is heartwarming that hundreds of LTTE troopers and Home Guards have been deployed not to protect property, but rather to help the people.
It is heartwarming that thousands of tsunami refugees — including the elderly, the infirm, the sick, mothers with babes in arms, children separated from parents — have been essentially taken care and housed in makeshift tents without them having to fend for themselves for food or water.
It is heartwarming that the relief agency TRO that has had a continued presence on the ground for decades providing relief to victims of war, mobilized itself instantaneously to provide relief to those affected by the tsunami. Not a single relief agency other than TRO had any presence on the ground as far as those of us who are here can see. No Red Cross, no Sri Lankan government emergency administrators, no medical teams, no shelter officials except for the angels of mercy, the LTTE
That is why, beneath the damp and dark, Tamil Eeelam is shining."
These two events expose the hypocrisy of those who seem to care for our children by regular press releases on child recruitment. Who, one may also ask, are the true national guards?
This is, however, not a time to gloat on the differences, but to unite on humanitarian grounds and help the victims of disaster wherever they are located on this planet earth.
In this respect, it is heartwarming to note that the TRO has, once again, risen to its true obligations by spearheading a fundraising campaign for the victims of the Katrina hurricane.
Posted September 6, 2005