There’s been a debate happening on one of the forums I’m a regular at. It started out as a discussion on mis-perceptions versus reality of US aid, and then migrated into a discussion of whether or not more prosperous nations even owe us anything.
I’m of the opinion that the US does not owe any foreign countries aid. Canada doesn’t owe us anything either, neither does Japan, or anyone else. As soon as we start feeding into that mentality, we create a culture incapable of taking care of itself.
Unfortunately, that attitude and that culture is already prevalent in Sri Lanka.
I’m worried that getting so much aid will reinforce the attitude of expectation that I see so frequently here. They expect that, because I’m a foreigner, I ought to pay ten or a hundred times what the locals pay to get in to the zoo or the museum or any other sites of cultural interest. They expect that, because I’m white, I’m rich. They expect that, because I’m white, I can afford to give them anything they demand. They expect that I’ll gladly do this for them or that for them. Because I show up, I’m on time, and I’m responsible, and therefore, they don’t have to.
Not everyone has that attitude here, but enough of them do that it’s a huge problem.
Having said that, I still believe that it will be beneficial all the way around if prosperous countries and prosperous individuals give as much as they can to help.
But I want that tempered with the locals giving of their time and money, as much as they can. If they’ve lost their homes, then they need to help rebuild. If they have no money to donate, then they can give of their time. But somehow, they have to play a part in rebuilding their country. It will help them become more self-sufficient and industrious, something which is now lacking.
Having said that, I am extremely grateful for those countries, corporations, and individuals who choose to help the affected areas. Many here are extremely poor beyond any standards that most in western nations can even comprehend.