OPINION

A wave of humanity?

The readiness with which Greek citizens rushed to offer their contributions to those Asian countries struck by the merciless tsunami waves was a comforting indication of sensitivity and humanity in a society which is increasingly characterized by its individualism. And it is perhaps even more comforting that similar sensitivity and responses to appeals for help were displayed by people in countries where individualism is even more prevalent as a social characteristic than it is in Greece. On an international scale, the question is whether one can maintain the momentum of this humanitarian drive; whether the sentiment of the international community could guarantee a more permanent contribution to the weak and the sick of our planet. Statistics show that humanitarian aid to disadvantaged regions is static, if not diminished, while the situation in many areas (particularly in Africa) is one of enduring catastrophe and human misery. In these places, the average life expectancy is 47 years, drinking water is a luxury and sanitation non-existent, with dozens of children dying every day due to lack of food and medicine; and these deaths go unnoticed, failing to reach the front pages of our newspapers. However, they add up each year to reach increasingly nightmarish sums, even worse in total than those of the recent tsunami disaster. But the death tolls of these «ongoing» disasters have not succeeded in provoking a wave of humanitarian aid. Just as no measures have been taken to tackle the marginalization of sections of the developed countries’ populations on the domestic level (along with the undermining of the welfare state), so – on the international level – the problems of the hungry do not only fail to rouse those in power but they cannot stop the growth of inequality on our planet…