Saturday, January 08, 2005

The UN gets it right?

After the tragic tsunami there was the inevitable debate in the media here in Australia. Do we help by providing funds for people to rebuild their lives in their own country or do we simply shift the affected populations to Australia? Those of us who believe it better to allow people to rebuild in their own countries were accused by the left of being heartless, lacking compassion and so on.

So I was especially interested in the comments of Carolyn Hardy, who is the chief executive of UNICEF Australia. You normally expect the UN to promote very left-liberal, politically correct views. But Carolyn Hardy took what I believe to be a very realistic, more conservative view of the situation.

This is how the Melbourne Age (7/1/05) reported her response to the idea that orphans should immediately be sent to Australia for adoption by Australian couples,

Ms Hardy said UNICEF was trying to help children stay in their own communities by finding extended family members to care for them.

While Australians wanting to adopt were acting with generosity, Ms Hardy said removing a child from their culture, language, customs and communities would add to their loss.

In effect Carolyn Hardy is recognising the importance to individuals of forms of connectedness like those of family and ethnicity. She is going against the reigning political ideology in doing so, as liberalism insists that the bonds of family and ethnic identity are "prisons" from which individuals need to be liberated.

PS. Congratulations Australia for such generosity in providing funds to tsunami affected countries. As of today Australian government aid totals over 1 billion dollars, and private donations to charities total well over 100 million.

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