Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

January 10, 2005

Tsunami Politics #2: Who’s stupid?

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:54 am

VariFrank is an American who works in software, on teams with people from all over the world. He tells the following story:

Today, during an afternoon conference that wrapped up my project of the last 18 months, one of my Euro collegues tossed this little turd out to no one in particular:

“See, this is why George Bush is so dumb, there’s a disaster in the world and he sends an Aircraft Carrier…”

After which he and many of my Euro collegues laughed out loud.

And then they looked at me. I wasn’t laughing, and neither was my Hindu friend sitting next to me, who has lost family in the disaster.

I’m afraid I was “unprofessional,” I let it loose -

“Hmmm, let’s see, what would be the ideal ship to send to a disaster, now what kind of ship would we want?

“Something with its own inexhuastible power supply?

“Something that can produce 900,000 gallons of fresh water a day from sea water?

“Something with its own airfield? So that after producing the fresh water, it could help distribute it?

“Something with 4 hospitals and lots of open space for emergency supplies?

“Something with a global communications facility to make the coordination of disaster relief in the region easier?

“Well ‘Franz,’ us peasants in America call that kind of ship an ‘Aircraft Carrier.’ We have 12 of them. How many do you have? Oh that’s right, NONE. Lucky for you and the rest of the world, we are the kind of people who share. Even with people we dont like. In fact, if memory serves, once upon a time we peasants spent a ton of money and lives rescuing people who we had once tried to kill and who tried to kill us.

“Do you know who those people were? That’s right Franz, Europeans.

“Theres is a French Aircraft carrier? Where is it? Right where it belongs! In France of course! Oh why should the French Navy dirty their uniforms helping people on the other side of the globe. How simplesse

The room fell silent. My Hindu friend then said quietly to the Euros:

“Can you let your hatred of George Bush end for just one minute? There are people dying! And what are your countries doing? Amazon.com has helped more than France has. You all have a role to play in the world, why can’t you see that? Thank God for the US Navy, they dont have to come and help, but they are. They helped you once and you should all thank God they did. They didnt have to, and no one but them would have done so. I’m ashamed of you all…” [Few Europeans believe in God anyway. --DR]

He left the room, shaking and in tears. The frustration of being on the other side of the globe, unable to do anything to assist and faced with people who could not set aside their asininity long enough to reach out and help was too much for him to bear. I just shook my head and left. The Euros stood speechless.

Later in the breakroom, one of the laughing Euros caught me and extended his hand in an apology. I asked him where he was from, he said “a town outside of Berlin.” He is a young man, in his early 20′s.

I asked him if he knew of a man named Gail Halvorsen.

He said no.

I said “that’s a shame” and walked away to find my Hindu friend.

Thanks, as usual to Clayton Cramer for the link, and for the reminder to add VariFrank to the blogroll. And please — apologies to my friend who’s so fond of France…

Also: This is as good a time as any to recall this famous broadcast by the Canadian radio commentator, Gordon Sinclair.

One Response to “Tsunami Politics #2: Who’s stupid?”

  1. Not for sale Says:

    People are Stupid
    Share your stories here.

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