This world is sick. Let me rephrase that – this world has many sick people. Nope, let me re-rephrase that – this world has many people who are sick in the evil sense. Hmmm, that’ll do! But just to remind ourselves of which sickness I will be referring to in this post, let's term it as an evil-sick condition.
When a natural disaster victimised some poor souls, killing them or destroying their properties, or even worse, dispersing closely knitted families to the 4 corners of the world, some people - i.e. the evil-sick ones - would exploit the catastrophe or even the miseries of the victims to either mask their Scrooge-like mentality and indifference, or buttress the plausibility of their religions.
Boxing Day tsunami – miserly Gulf Arab nations didn’t want to cough up some cash for the victims, including their Muslim brethren in Aceh, so they claimed (from their mosque pulpits) those victims were evil sinners. Yes, the Kuwaiti Parliament heard one of its members, Walid Tabtabai, claiming that Allah sent the tsunami to punish the immoral and unjust. In other words, a case of azab-e-Ilahi or the wrath of God for the sins of those who were hit.
The poor Aceh-ese farmers and fishermen immoral and unjust?
Or as Tarek Fatah said “What sick mind could come up with this description? The Kuwaitis and Saudi Islamists lecturing the world about morality is an outrage. Or is it that in the eyes of most Kuwaitis and Saudis, the dead belonged to the despised underclass who live as fourth class citizens in the Gulf States. Dark skinned Indian, Sri Lankan, Indonesian; truck drivers, cooks and maids; all children of a lesser God in the eyes of these Islamists of the Gulf.”
I was so pissed off I dashed off a letter to Malaysiakini titled Asian victims Children of a Lesser God
But when Katrina hit New Orleans, Kuwait who offered the tsunami victims two lousy US millions (which it subsequently and grudingly increased after much criticism from its own press) straightaway gave 500 US millions to the Americans – in the latter case, no evil sinner was discovered in the good ole USA.
Tragedies shouldn't be compared but the conduct of the Gulf Arabs overruled such nicety. Max no of victims in an affluent nation in Katrina's wake was estimated max 10,000 dead (though to date, only 1000 thousand have been confirmed), while the tsunami victims numbered approximately 450,000 dead with several millions homeless in a large number of poor countries ranging from SE Asia to the East coast of Africa.
Obviously to the Kuwaiti parliamentarian, mullahs and government, the American victims are less immoral and less unjust than Indonesians or Sri Lankans, and therefore more deserving and more needy of their generous donations.
Hurricane Katrina – US Christian Right claimed God punished Americans for approving Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Israeli former chief rabbi, Ovadia Yosef reiterated that divine retribution, and added a couple more – (1) the Americans didn’t study the Torah, that’s also why – and (2) the American blacks who were the principal victims were Kushim, in modern Hebrew a derogatory racist term that's akin to nigger.
The Israeli extremists, very much like the Kuwaitis, believe that the darker your skin is, the more immoral and sinful you are.
Now, an al Qaeda newscast called Voice of the Caliphate also attributed Katrina’s havoc to divine retribution, but obviously in sympathy with Muslim grievances. Colour of the skin wasn't mentioned but if you are a victim from New Orleans, you must be evil and deserving of Allah's punishment.
Leaving aside the colour of the victims' skin or their locality, I suppose if anything could be drawn out of the several claims of ‘divine retribution’, maybe the Gods of some of the Gulf Arabs, US Christian Right, fanatical-racist Jews and militant al Qaeda Muslims must be the same punitive and indeed very intolerant yet busy God.
But a question to those arseholes (in the collective sense) - why did your God punish innocent and mostly poor Aceh-ese, Thais, Malaysians, Indians, Sri Lankans, Maldiveans, Bangladeshis, Somalians, Kenyans (?), New Orlean-ese, etc.
Why did your vengeful God pick on the already downtrodden?
(1) Israeli Rabbi Casts Racist Slur on Katrina's Black Victims
(2) US Christians believe God Kills Americans for Israel