For all of my distrust…

For all of my distrust of nationalism, I admit to getting teary-eyed when I saw this:

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she and her fellow citizens felt solidarity with those affected.

"Having experienced the fury of nature ourselves during the December 26 tsunami, the people of Sri Lanka and I fully empathize with you at this hour of national grief," she said in a message to the U.S.

And while the small island nation is still recovering from the tsunami disaster, it also pledged $25,000 to the American Red Cross, the AP reported.

Please understand that the effective exchange rate is roughly 1:10, so this would cost them $250,000 in local buying power. I know it doesn't really make sense for Sri Lanka to offer the U.S. money, not with more than 30,000 dead from the tsunami and close to a million of their own people still homeless, almost all of whom are still living in temporary housing (tents, or tin houses). And yet, it's such a gracious gesture that I just want to cheer and say, "Well done!"

And closer to home, I've pleased to note that my own Roosevelt University is welcoming hurricane-affected undergrad and graduate students, waiving enrollment fees, promising to do what they can to offer financial aid, and hopefully offer housing as well. It's not as splendid as Franklin College offering free admission and tuition, but at least they're doing something. I'm very glad.

Mills is offering undergrad women fall semester admission with non-matriculated status -- they don't say anything about it being free, so I'm not sure exactly what that phrasing means.

4 thoughts on “For all of my distrust…”

  1. You should trust your distrust. While the exchange rate is close 1:10, Sri Lanka spends comparable money to a large US State – last year alone, the defence budget was $718M USD or 52 Billion Rupees. It is more likely this donation was made purely for the publicity value. Sri Lanka, a small nation, giving to the US in it’s time of need. The government probably spent $25K in PR to ensure every major news outlet carried the story. Sorry

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    You’re probably right, Sanji, I know. Effective publicity value, though…I saw it all over the place. Interesting.

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