Belfast Telegraph

Being so mean over Pakistan is shameful

By Jane Graham

While I often get riled by the views of the omnipresent ‘man/woman in the street’, I am not often so ashamed of my fellow natives that I consider lying about where I come from next time I go abroad.

However, the floods in Pakistan have brought out the very worst instincts in some UK inhabitants, and the result has been a gruesome display of blinding selfishness, astonishing ignorance and breezy indifference to suffering on an unthinkable scale.

There are, according to a decent percentage of popular opinion, many reasons not to contribute financially to efforts to help people whose lives have been destroyed, and who have had family members brutally killed, by this natural disaster.

One common thesis is that we in the UK are also experiencing ‘tough times’ post-recession, which means we shouldn’t help homeless and newly widowed women holding cholera-struck newborns until the average wage packet in this country is back in line with inflation.

An even more commonly used argument is that Pakistan is a nuclear power with a questionable government which is not spending what it should to look after its own people.

In other words — these innocent people may be neglected by their own government, and could die needlessly as a consequence; the right thing to do must be to fall in line with that policy and abandon them to their fates.

Why should we behave any better than a government we are quick to condemn for its lack of moral responsibility?

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes words just fail me.

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