Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Anyone see Primetime Live last night with Brad Pitt talking about the situation in Africa? First to get this frivolity out of the way - Oh. My. God. Is he hot or what?
BradPitt
But here is my question. Do you think it is our job to help Africa out of the poverty and disease they are mired in? On one hand, as the richest nation in the world, isn't it our moral responsibility to help since we can? Those kids, orphaned by parents who died of AIDS, seemed to sincerely want to make something of their lives and seemed quite capable of it too. Most wanted to be doctors - and with all the sickness there, wouldn't it be great to support people going to medical school so they can help their own population?

And, on a selfish note, isn't it wise of us to assist in developing the African nations, which are half Muslim? Rather than them turning into another Middle East and hating us and looking for ways to destroy us, they would see the value and generosity of Americans.

But, on the other hand, why is it *our* responsibility to help everyone? We have hungry and needy and diseased people right here who need help. Shouldn't we help ourselves first?

So what do you think? Personally, I believe its our moral obligation to help. We can facilitate a 180 degree turnaround by contributing so very little from our pocketbooks, and the returns would be so substantial. What is your view?

45 comments:

trine said...

yes it is our moral obligation to help. we are after all partially responsible (some would argue wholly responsible) for them being in such a mess in the first place.
HOW it is best to help, however, is a difficult question. I have to admit, I don't know the answer to that one.

Guppyman said...

The thing about it is....

We do help already. More than anyone else on the planet. But, most of what we send doesn't necessarily get to the folks who need it. The 'tribal warlords' confiscate or just straight up steal the things we send.

So what are we supposed to do? Keep pouring money into a system that never ends up helping the people who need it? Send the UN in as peacekeepers, only to find out later that they are raping the local girls? (And yes, that happened just recently in Africa).

Until someone actually comes up with a workable plan, I personally don't think pouring more money over there is going to help anything.

And Trine... how are we responsible?

trinamick said...

First, thanks for that pic. That will get me through the rest of the day. :P

Second, we're all human and there are people who need our help. That's part of who we should be - helping those who can't help themselves. AIDS doesn't just stop at the borders of Africa, so we're also helping ourselves in the long run.

TrueJerseyGirl said...

I thought we did a lot more than we actually do. They said on tv last night that the US gives less than 1% in aid to needy countries. That's really not much at all, and it makes us the *least* giving country in the world. I had always been proud that as Americans, we give so much to those in need. And while I guess we do give more dollars than anyone else, our percentage is waaaaay lower than other nations.

I agree with Guppyman though, there has to be a better system for giving. They talked about a loan system currently being used sparsely, where villagers would request a loan and then repay it with the funds that their loan raised (ie, they borrow money to plant crops, then sell the crops and have enough money to repay the loan and feed their families and plant for next season). They said that system was quite successful.

soapbox.SUPERSTAR said...

I think that the interview was ridiculous and way to hyped up! If your going to advertise an interview w/ Brad then do one. If your going to discuss the poverty in Africa - let me know ahead of time what I will be watching!

Don't get my mouth all ready for a steak and then give me a hot dog! You know what I mean? I'm just sayin!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the article in the NY Times yesterday where there are areas of North Carolina ( right on the edge of newly built beautiful golfing communities) that have no running water and no indoor plumbing? IF we can be assured that the money can get to those that need it most, Yes, I think we should help. But, don't we also have an obligation to help our own first?

-xtessa- said...

OMG, true! i really had to think about this one...

coming from a 3rd world country, america seems like a treasure trove. everything in excess. that's how we view your country, and that's why so many of us are lining up outside the US embassy day in, day out.

as an individual, i'm all for helping. we were taught that whatever we have in excess, we share. however, if others depended on you too much, what would give them the drive to help themselves out of that situation? they become lazy and complacent. and when the time comes that you have no more to give, they turn on you.

back home, i would get irritated by the people always complaining that our government is not doing enough to help the poor. sure, if the government officials stop stealing from the people, maybe it would help. but their attitude should be, "i'm not waiting for the government to help me out of the gutters. i'm going to help myself." others overcome poverty that way.

one of the best ways to help is to give them knowledge. knowledge that they have options in life. women in africa should be given the knowledge that they have a choice, that their men does not hold the ultimate power.

money could help them, but knowledge could change their lives.

InterstellarLass said...

My issue is that we put the focus on one place. If we're going to help, fine, then help. Just don't call us 'ugly Americans' or 'infidels'. There is plenty of good we have done and will do. There is plenty of bad we have done and will do as well. But, don't bite the hand that feeds you. I also have issue with the fact that we still have places in our own country that are as bad as the '3rd World'. 15 years ago I spent a week in Chavies, Kentucky in the Appalachian mountain region, and witnessed some of the worst poverty I could imagine. It brought tears to my eyes and pain to my heart. At the time I was a high school student. Yes, a high school student giving up 2 weeks of their summer to travel, work, and improve the lives of others. I went on 4 total trips in high school, and 1 as an adult. I would go again if schedule would allow. There are people in our own communities that need assistance. Cleaning up a yard, painting shutters, fixing plumbing. People overseas need help too, that's fine, good global relations. But we all have a responsibility to the communities we live in as well. You can make a difference too.

Sorry for the long pseudo-rant. BTW...BRAD PITT IS HOT! WOW. Thanks for that pic...;)

Indigo said...

I love that I come from such a giving nation. However, sometimes I think we should be focusing on our own problems in the USA first.

I totally agree with -Xtessa, knowlegde could change lives.

Pieces of Me said...

Okay first of all Xtessa nailed it!!
But most importantly HOTTTT!!! he is so cute!! I think Brad and Angelina would be a hollywood power couple!! Sorry Jennifer Aniston...I bet she is having a hard time seen all of the Mr. and Mrs. commericials, etc!

supplymadam said...

Wow some intersesting comments. We already give up alot of our paychecks to income tax and alot to property tax. How much more are we supposed to give when the money is so mismanaged(as goes to show with the school officials stealing 11 million of the school tax dollars) It's getting out of control with the taxes. I live in Suffolk County and 25% of my propety taxes goes to welfare, besides the state tax that comes out of our paychecks. And they want more from me? When I was out of work I wasn't eligble for health care(unless I was an alcoholic or a drug addict) Now there's an incentive.
I say we should only give to countries that get rid of thier corruption. Now that's an incentive!

Janet said...

Did you say anything after Is he hot or what? My eyes got stuck on something just after that sentence...

Jenn said...

I have to agree with just about everyone...especially guppyman and supplymadam. the mismanagement of money makes me less inclined to donate. My heart just breaks when I think about how these people need someone or somebody to help them. I agree with xtessa, knowledge and examples are the key.

MommaK said...

I'm sorry, what?? I had to go and get a tissue to mop up my pool of drool and I totally lost my train of thought.....

Miss_Vicki said...

Without reading all the other comments, and without thinking too much, first let me say.......

HOLY SHIT HE IS HOT! I'm single, he's single......... hey!!! ;)

I don't put politics in this, because it just gets too complex to debate. I think anyone who is in a position to help someone else should, out of human decency. I would want to help people, because I would want people to help me. It's that simple. Of course, being an animal lover, I worry more about the animals :op

I don't know HOW to help or what the money consequences are. Just that if we can, we should, instead of pouring all this money into a stupid war to boost George W's ego. God, that man is one stupid F :o) There, I've said it!

Miss_Vicki said...

Also, as an afterthought, I did not see the special, I had to record it, so I didn't see any facts or figures they went over. Besides, I would have been too busy drooling, anyway :)

I'm glad he cares and is helping though. Maybe all those damn celebrities who have tons of money can actually use it to do something positive for someone.

jlybn123 said...

There are many ways in which the economy could be better spent, and I strongly believe that those with more fundage than they could ever spend, should be doing their duty to help out. We ARE the "richest country", afterall. Make the rich responsible for making it their civil duty to help, not only with Americans, but with other countries as well!

Just my opinion! =)

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else sick of celebrities, preaching from their Palm Beach soap boxes about poverty? I sure am! Why is Brad Pitt getting involved in politics? The guy can hardly put a coherent sentence together! Just make movies and look pretty for the ladies. I'm not against helping people out, I'm just tired of celebrities who have more money than God, telling ME how to spend my hard earned money on Africa. How many African children has Brad Pitt, a guy who could afford to make a difference, fed today? Probably Zero. Ask him if he'll donate half of his salary from the next movie he makes. Yeah, right! Of course this thing has nothing to do with his movie that comes out in a few days. "Saving the world" in this fashion is an elitist pass time! It's a hobby for the rich, who feel guilty about their excessive, hollow lives.

Not too mention, no matter how much the U.S. gives to a country, they will still pray for our destruction. We're always the bad guy. We should concentrate on poverty at home. F%@K Brad Pitt, and while we're at it, Bono too! (I'm sure there is a line of ladies lining up for that job. :) )

Katy said...

He IS SO HOT and we should help Africa. At least that is what Bush and Blair said at their joint press conference.

supplymadam said...

I agree with anonymous about these celebrity preachers. Let's put a cap on what excess money they make and use the balance for other countries. You're hot Brad but shut up,sit down!

KARCHAMB said...

Here's my simple thought: A hand up, not a hand out. We need to help people/communities/countries learn to help themselves. That goes both within our borders and without.

There's only so much that sending money alone will do. Even in this country, money means nothing if those who receive it don't also receive the means to do more for the generations to follow. Even for those who are without food and water, education must come along with whatever other aid is provided.

TrueJerseyGirl said...

I just want to quickly comment on something "anonymous" said about celebrities and their causes. I watched that Brad Pitt thing last night to hear what he had to say about his marriage and Angelina and all that...and in the meantime, I learned something. He was well-spoken and he was wonderful with the kids he spent time with in Africa. They adored him. You certainly don't have to do something because a celebrity does it or tells you to do it, but they have freedom of speech just like we do, and a platform to raise consciousness on issues like this one.

However, it can certainly backfire on them as it did in the last election.

And Xtessa - I completely agree with you. Education is the key. It costs $16 to send an African kid to school for a year, and you have children who are at the top of their class and will not be able to go next year because they don't have the money. Personally, I think the money needs to be put into education so that the next generation coming up can pull themselves up and then raise children who don't have to worry whether they will have at least one square meal a day.

Ok, so it wasn't a "quick" comment. Too bad. My blog.

janie q said...

that is the exact pic of him i have been trying to post and couldn't figure it out. yeah, he's hot in that pic, ohhhhhhhhhhh baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
now what was that other question you were asking me, for some reason, i've lost my concentration

Anonymous said...

I didn't say he didn't have freedom of speech, sure he does! I just think what he is doing is a sham and a hypocrisy. It's great the kids adore him, apparently you do as well, that's fine. But it's because he's Brad Pitt, he's a specimen of a human being, not because he's a humanitarian. For arguments sake, let's say a celebrity that looked something like Jack Black did a special about Africa, it wouldn't even be on the news! Because the guy is fat & ugly, the African kids would have run from him, and America would have changed the channel! I'm the same way, if Kirstie Alley was doing a special, as opposed to say Jessica Alba, I would change the channel on one, and be forced to listen to Jessica's numbskull views on God knows what. I like quite a few of his movies, he's a good looking guy, no doubt about that, I just don't see him as the saint that he's being portrayed as over this. There is a huge hollywood bandwagon right now over Africa, I wouldn't be suprised if his publicist suggested this, or maybe that nut he's been laying with, this is certainly her cup of tea.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Millions are given in aid to Africa every year, not forgetting that Band Aid concert in 1985. The trouble is 90% of the cash doesn't go to where it belongs, but into the pockets of the corrupt African governments.

-xtessa- said...

anonymous, why do you hate brad pitt?

at least he's doing something. even if it's a gimmick, a self-promotional gig... maybe out of his "hypocrisy", one or more "normal" people out there would be urged to help and make a move and become unknown heroes.

but heroes, nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I never said I hated Brad Pitt, I like him in MOVIES. He's an actor. I like him a lot less since I saw this special, because in the past he stayed involved in MOVIES.
Secondly, are you saying that if he IS doing this to promote his movie (the timing is undeniable, not to mention, he obviously has us talking), that you are OK with that and still support him? That would mean he is completely full of Sh*t! If he is completely full of Sh*t, do you still support him?

Anonymous said...

There's too many people(especally Americans) discrediting this country. Remember United We Stand, Divided We Fall. We are going to be sorry in the future if we don't stop this nonsense and Unite as a country. Stop the government for everything. We will definately turn into a country of infadels.
Always going by other countries standards. Screw 'em. We do alot of good but it never seems to be enough!

Dawn said...

I think it is important to help out as a nation and as individuals. True, there are a lot of poor people in the states and lots of programs and people in place to help them out. I lived in a developing country for quite awhile and believe me when I say that poverty in this country is not the same as poverty in other countries. . .most americans haven't seen first hand what the rest of this world is really like.

-xtessa- said...

anonymous,

it's not brad pitt. it's the cause that we support.

don't you get it?

Taylor said...

I did watch this last night and I while watching it I felt bad for all of the little kids but then again felt bad for the problems in our country. I think I may feel like that though because most of the people I am around feel the same way. After I thought about it for a while I started to feel bad. I felt bad that I have what I have and those kids will never have to opportunity to have anything. They won't ever get to on vacation, or drive a car. They will never get to experience the wonderful lifestyle of being an American. I think we should help them as much as possible. The part nearing the end when they showed the small groups of people who were able to get loans and get on their feet - that right there shows me that they will be able to make it on their own, they just need some help. I am all for helping them. If we don't, nobody will, and it will just be a never ending circle of poverty, death, and lost dreams.

TrueJerseyGirl said...

This certainly wasn't a post about Brad Pitt, it was to find out if you think we should give money to Africa or use to it help Americans. I am actually not a huge fan of his; he is nice to look at but that's where it ends. But he did bring to my attention, which I appreciate, the continuing problems in Africa. Even if he is using this to promote his movie - Diane Sawyer said she had wanted to interview him and he said he'd do it only if she would give some press to this cause - it made me sit up and take notice of the crisis over there. If you dislike celebrity causes, DON'T GIVE ANY MONEY TO THEM. But I am glad the topic was raised.

This is the last comment I am going to make on this subject, because I hope my points are clear. Thanks for all of your opinions as well.

Twist of Kate said...

Well I was on the computer {how shocking} in the other room when it was on...I heard some of the show. But nothing specific. As far as my opinion on the subject, I would be more than happy to help out in anyway I could...but maybe we should help those closest to us first. It's a tough subject, Jersey, I feel very helpless when it comes to this, it's something I think about a lot actually. Well I think more about how I can help those little girls in Indonesia who get sold into prostitution at like 5 years old! But that's a whole 'nother post Mama! But way to raise awareness! :)

Raehan said...

You said it best, it is in our best interest to help them, whether one believes it is our moral obligation or not.

annie said...

"supplymadam" said it for me!
I see my taxes go to feed the "poor" here, and then I see them in the grocery store with their 6 children, using their food stamp card and OF COURSE they all get medical care cuz they're "poor". After buying my own food and getting sporadic medical care that I pay cash for, I probably have less money at the end of the month than THEY do.

Elle said...

Hot abs!!! Sorry, brain hurting cannot think too much.
:)

Charlie Mc said...

Instead of wasting billions on a war in Iraq, we should be putting those dollars to use HERE. Our poverty level is rising, our infrastructure crumbling, jobs going overseas it's a mess. Let's clean our own yard first.

Danno said...

Right on Charlie MC! Why is it our responsibility to fix Africa? Africa has been a mess since the beginning of time! We are not the big brother to the world! The World F&%king Hates Us!!!!! I hate to see people suffer, but some countries are going to suffer no matter what we do! Their own governments have sucked the wealth out of their countries, why is it our responsibility to save EVERYONE!!?? Moral obligation my A$$!

J&J'sMom said...

Sorry..I'm with Elle my brain turned to mush with the blonde hottie up there! I can't go there tonight Jersey...too flippin' tired. maybe next time.

Miss_Vicki said...

Charlie - getting Bush out of the goddamn office he doesn't deserve by way of STUPIDITY would be a nice start.

Nam LaMore said...

i completely agree with you, brad is hot. there, i've said it.

Anonymous said...

Hey John Kerry is a big asshole. This guy has no clue either! Haven't you heard him speak? Just because he says what people want to hear, he still made absolutely no sense. Sorry but under his watch there would probably be more terrorists here training to hurt us like they did the previous 10 years under Clinton! Liberalism is good for us but not to extend those freedoms to the criminals. What's the saying? "Liberals have heart and Conservatives have brains" Sorry but that man scares me more than Bush!
This country will never clean up it's backyard. 40 years of democrats in congress put us in the state we are in. It didn't happen overnight,so don't expect miracles overnight.Check the facts, not the Times!

Peanutt said...

There are so many different opinions on this from people. I agree with you on why is it "our" responsibility to help everyone??? I understand the pain and suffering that most of us won't know in our lifetime..but we do have it here as well. Can we help us as well? When something happens to "our" country, who comes to our aid and help with anything that they can? Few and far between, thats who. It would be nice to help the people that actually like us and appreciate the help and don't wish us to all die! Too bad we can't just blink and weed out all the haters that don't deserve our help!
Have a great day!

Arethusa said...

Africa has been a mess since day one!- Danno

Oh ye of little knowledge but much bluster. The combination is so amusing, yet disheartening at the same time.

Peter Gibbons said...

Sure we should help, but the Europeans, who created the mess in Africa in the first place, should be the ones driving the helping effort. I get so-o-o tired of accusations the US has caused or is causing all the grief in the world. Least we forget, slavery came to the United States as an invention of greedy Europeans.

Africa cannot be fixed until they fix themself. As the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." We can't forget we cannot make African nations be something they are not or are not ready for. But nonetheless it is painfull to watch the suffering.

Africa is an extremely complex continent with hundreds of distinct cultures. And Westernization has not served this land well.