The first order, of course, is to help. Our suggestion is to find that organization that spends the vast majority of donated funds directly on those who need it most. We recommend the International Rescue Committee (www.theirc.org), since 1933 one of the most efficient and respected aid agencies in the world.
Perhaps the second thing is to ask why we are so surprised, either at the event (New Orleans has been dodging such a bullet for decades) or at Washington’s tragically inept response. More importantly, though, shouldn’t we be asking why most governments, particularly the United States’, are still so devoted to military expenditures at the constant, heart-breaking and profound expense of social priorities?
Isn’t it time – because we are so inevitably and transparently all in this together – to work much harder as neighbors, across all boundaries and bloodlines, to react well not only to a tsunami in South Asia or the current devastation of New Orleans or to such natural disasters to come, but also to the mostly man-made ones that ravage the lives of ordinary people every single day in every corner of this Earth?
– Tony Balis (September 2005)