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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Culture Cult claims a few more victims
Written by: Beck

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While it involves the UN, this post isn't about the UN. It's about an entire world view which places value arbitrarily on Culture for the sake of Culture. These are people who think it's better for a person to grow up in miserable conditions because it's a more "authentic" way of "life".

The tsunami, in a single day, has created an unfathomable number of newly-minted orphans. In an amazing display of generosity, families in wealthy countries have reached out with their hearts & handbooks by volunteering to adopt tsunami orphans. The Culture Cult, naturally, is having none of it.
Adoption groups are advising it is unlikely children orphaned by the Asian tsunami disaster would be repatriated to Australia.

Agencies including Centrelink and support groups in the ACT have received calls and emails from people wishing to adopt victims of the earthquake event.

Julia Rollings, from the Adoptive Families Association, says it is often inappropriate for children affected by war and natural disaster to be adopted overseas.
There's the first bit of arbitrariness--the characteristic which defines most of these heartless, misguided, idiotic policies. It gets worse.
She says the inquiries are well-meaning but are often unrealistic, especially in the short-term.
That's because in the long-term, these children will at best be wards of the state (and in this case, the state is Indonesia, Sri Lank, or Thailand--nations of which one absolutely does not want to be a ward), or at worst, dead.
"Inter-country adoption is only appropriate for children who can't be placed in a suitable family within the country of origin," she said.

"So there's a lot of steps that have to be taken first before they decide that inter-country adoption is appropriate for any of these orphans."

UNICEF Australia chief executive Carolyn Hardy says her organisation will not support or encourage inter-country adoptions.

"We believe children are best left where they are in environments that are familiar to them, in a culture that's familiar to them, speaking a language that they know, and in the schools that they're already going to [and what great schools they are --ed]," she said.
That's right. Children whose outlook involves starvation, disease, privation, lack of education, and despair have to be protected. From culture shock.

Thanks to the generosity of nations like the United States & Japan, and thanks to the unbelievable hard work of the United States & Australian military, starvation likely won't be a concern for too much longer. But the money will eventually be spent, and the fresh water & food supplies won't come in forever.

Then there's dysentery and other diseases. If these orphans manage to live through that, all they have to look forward to are lives of grinding poverty. But thank God they're protected from the horror of having to grow up in a different country in a culture they're not used to. Incidentally, you'll notice that there's no exception being made for orphans under the age of two--children too young to have any awareness of culture.

I've been to Indonesia. I was in Bali in 1997 on a scuba diving trip. 1997 was probably the best year Indonesia has ever seen--it was right before the Asian economic crisis & before the rise in Islamic militancy. Furthermore, as the top tourism destination in Indonesia, Bali was the wealthiest island with the best off citizens. And it was still full of Grinding Poverty. We're talking full-grown adults bathing in road-side irrigation ditches kind of poverty.

Sumatra is one of the poor(er) areas of Indonesia. Aceh, the hardest hit by the tsunami of anywhere on earth, has been torn by separatist militants, is geographically isolated, and exists entirely on fishing (but the fishing fleets have been destroyed) and subsistence agriculture (but the rice paddies have been flooded with salt water). And UNICEF & others are blocking Australians & others from adopting orphans from Aceh. Just fucking brilliant.

I suppose Indonesia will do a better job of raising these children? Indonesia can't even get food to it's own people. Indonesia only remains solvent thanks to the intervention of the World Bank and IMF. Indonesia does not need to be taking care of literally thousands of parentless children on top of all its other burdens. Nonetheless, thanks to a combination of misguided nationalist pride and the Culture Cultists arbitrary value system, those children will starve, suffer, and in many cases, they will die.
"To uplift them out of their country to Australia or anywhere else would be an absolute last resort."
By the time that "last resort" becomes relevant, it'll only apply to locations for grave sites.

Update: A coworker sends me a link to this sad story. It seems the wave of orphaned children created by this disaster already have a name: the Tsunami Generation. And it sure is a good thing UNICEF is protecting those children from being adopted by well-meaning Australians. Otherwise, international child-slavery rings might have a harder time recruiting kidnapping new employees victims.
Officials also say they are concerned children orphaned or separated from their parents by the tsunami might be falling prey to criminal gangs bent on selling them into slavery.

UN officials were alarmed when a colleague received a mobile phone text message that read: "Three hundred orphans aged 3-10 years from Aceh for adoption... Please state age and sex of child required."
At least UN officials have sufficient sense to be alarmed. Not that their cognizance of this problem will translate into actual beneficial action.

Further Update: From Roger Simon, the story keeps getting worse.
Yesterday The Island reported that Tamil Tiger rebels in the north, who have a history of using child soldiers, had begun to abduct children under the guise of offering shelter.

The newspaper alleged that the target group for the Tigers, whose own numbers have been seriously diminished, were young boys aged 12 to 14.

[...] Meanwhile in Aceh, where 35,000 children have been orphaned or separated from their parents, officials warned that children were being smuggled from the Indonesian province by child traffickers. The Medan-based Aceh Sepakat Foundation believes at least 20 orphans were sent to Malaysia and Bandung in West Java by child traffickers in Medan. On Monday Indonesia issued a regulation banning the movement from Indonesia of Acehnese children under 16.
Read the whole article for further tales of child abuse, corpse mutilation, and gang rape.

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John Beck

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