Archive for September 14th, 2010

Statues & Crocodile Tears

Source: Christian Science Monitor/AP

Last week, an article in the Huffington Post reported that Pakistan’s government has approved an $11 million statue of Benazir Bhutto. The Huff Po piece cited a Gulf Times report, which noted, “This would be the second monument constructed in the capital city during the last four years.”

Wait. Let me get this straight. Pakistan is suffering from over a month of flooding – the worst natural disaster in decades – that has impacted over 20 million people, and we are spending millions on statues?

If this Gulf Times report is correct, then that is exactly what is happening. According to Shirin Sadeghi at the Huff Po, “The statue itself will cost 4.7 million dollars, and it will be built on land that is worth another 5.9 million dollars. Apparently, Mr. Zardari, whose personal wealth is estimated to be more than 1 billion dollars, just couldn’t afford to donate the land or the statue in honor of the mother of his children.”

But here’s the real question – if the alleged $11 million is coming from taxpayers money, then why didn’t the government previously direct such funds towards flood-affected families? More importantly, the late Benazir Bhutto always at least claimed to be a populist leader. In the spirit of her memory, wouldn’t it therefore make a lot more sense to use that exorbitant amount of money for the people of Pakistan?

Apparently not.

Recently, the Pakistan Consulate in New York City wasted an opportunity to appeal for donations for the flood-affected people in Pakistan on the NASDAQ screen in Time Square. Instead of broadcasting images of the tragedy or messages about the floods, the Consulate showcased photos of bureaucrats standing in front of the Pakistani flag, which flashed on the giant screen. Between that, Gilani‘s visits to fake relief camps, and this new proposed statue, I am increasingly disgusted with our government and their inability to shed more than crocodile tears for the citizens of Pakistan.

(NASDAQ-related story starts about 1:35 in):

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