Why is the World so Generous?
On all continents of the world, people have been fighting each other. Since 9/11, Americans have been fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Daily, the newspapers, radios and TVs have been pouring out violence. The horrible man-made violence is more than we - all of us on earth - can bear. So when we hear about this tsunami, a natural disaster that is killing over 150,000 and is destroying the societies of 11 nations in Southeast Asia, we are traumatized. We give billions of dollars. We send ships filled with food. Each of us is eager to do his or her utmost because we realize that all of us on earth are in the same boat. Under these terrible circumstances, we develop the cooperative spirit.
The fierce earthquake and tsunami demonstrate that violence accomplishes nothing. Violence destroys. Osama bin Laden killed 3,000 people and since then we have been panting for revenge. Many have died and are dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the slaughter is far from over. Terrible, horrible and heart-rending stories from the war front come to us every day. Bin Laden accomplished nothing just as the tsunami accomplished nothing.
Then again, perhaps the tsunami did accomplish something. I hate to say something good about such a destructive world force. However, maybe now the world mood will change from killing to saving, from destroying to helping, from competing to cooperating. I'm encouraged by the outpouring of help from nations, corporations, foundations and ordinary people from all over the globe. According to Jan Egeland, the UN emergency relief coordinator, pledges for this disaster topped all the aid received by the UN in 2004 for the 20 top crises in the world combined! He said:
"International compassion has never been like this."
It looks to me that people all over are tired of violence. They thought that violence could achieve their goals. No way. Violence begets violence. The southeast Asia catastrophe showed us all what violence does. It brings misery. This violence is an equal-opportunity violence. Nature does not distinguish among Christians, Jews and Muslims. Nor does it know the difference among whites, blacks, reds and browns. Nor does it care where you were born, what you do or what you believe.
A tsunami catastrophe, or some other natural disaster, can happen to anybody. All of us on earth are in this together. Violence cannot help. This means that the best approach for living on this earth is to cooperate with all types of people for achieving the common good.
Everyone seems to have gotten the message of cooperation. Too bad it took such a huge tragedy to bring out the spirit of cooperation hiding in each individual. Already there is talk of the government talking to rebels in Sri Lanka. Maybe the mood will hit the Israelis and the Palestinians. I have a hunch it will smooth some of the rough edges from the violence in America.
Why is the world so generous? Because it has discovered that only by lending a helping hand to those in need can it make the world more livable and more peaceful.