Thursday, December 30, 2004

Whose Lives Count?

Made painfully relevant, this article from Journal of Communication 1986 may be interesting reading.

Link from Erling


moncay said...

if you read german, I would like to draw your attention to this article, too!
best, sauseschritt

Torill said...

Thank you for the reference. I do read German, but I have to say that I think the writer of that article is misdirecting his anger a little bit in this case. The areas which are open for tourism are also open of aid and international assistance. Sumatra, where the numbers of dead were far beyond what anybody imagined at first, is not a target for mass tourism, and I have not yet heard how Burma may have been hit. And while you can say that the wealthy west should take more interest in the poor east as something other than a place to get cheap luxuries, we can't insist on "helping" where assistance is considered intrusion. They need to figure those problems out on their own, WITHOUT the intervation of western superpowers. The writer is however right that what might actually make a difference is to be willing to pay a bit more for clothes, electronics, luxuries like spices and coffee, if we know they have been produced by people who actually get some of the money we pay extra. But tourism leads to more attention, knowledge and interest in the west. The slavery in the closed Asian states hardly ever makes headlines here, unrest in a tourist target does.

Using a disaster like this to get attention for certain political issues is useful, as the news are already overflowing and all journalists are hunting for new and original angles. I am however more interested in for instance the cooperation between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lanka government. While it is extremely painful that a disaster of these proportions is what it takes to make them talk, this is also a little ray of hope for a region fraught with inner conflict.