Mudcat Café message #2971048 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #131368   Message #2971048
Posted By: bobad
23-Aug-10 - 08:34 AM
Thread Name: BS: So little empathy for Pakistan?
Subject: RE: BS: So little empathy for Pakistan?
Pakistan's Plea

We started the show with a clip of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, speaking in Islamabad, Pakistan last week. He had just returned from some of the country's worst flood-affected zones, where millions have been displaced by the disaster - and tens of thousands of villages still remain underwater.

There is no question of the urgency of the situation and the urgency of the Secretary-General's call. Thus far, the UN has asked for $460 million dollars in donations - but the pledges have been slow to come and the cause has not caught fire with the public in the west. That's in stark contrast to immediate and plentiful assistance donated after the earthquake in Haiti and the Asian tsunami of 2004 but it's also much less than was raised in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistani Kashmir.

The slow response has been blamed on Pakistan's so-called "image problem" and that may be true, judging by the online comments of newspaper readers in this country who've directed more than their fair share of vitriol at the victims of the flooding. But on the other side of that coin, many observers have suggested that the disaster presents the west - particularly the U.S. - with the opportunity to make political gains in a strategically-important part of the world where the Americans themselves have the "image problem." On top of that, inside Pakistan, nearly every side of the fractured poltical and military power structure has an interest in appearing to be one delivering help - and in discrediting opponents.

Shuja Nawaz is an analyst and author and the Director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council of the United States. He was in our Washington studio. Tarek Fatah also joined us in Toronto. He's a writer, broadcaster and founder of Muslim Canadian Congress.

Listen to this informative discussion HERE, click on the player at the listen to hour one link.