he floods in Pakistan have finally begun to recede, after leaving at least 1,639 people dead and six million homeless, and damaging 14 percent of the nation's farmland. The international community has raised nearly $1 billion in aid, but aid experts say that's a small fraction of what it will take to address what has become one of the largest humanitarian disasters in living memory. Some experts worry that extremist Islamic organizations will fill the void, allowing them to expand their influence in one of the primary battlegrounds in the war on terror. Here, commentators from around the world react to Pakistan's on-going crisis:
We need to do more to help the desperate: Despite the shocking "scale of the tragedy in Pakistan," says Brendan O'Neill in Scotland's The Big Issue, the world's response has been "lackluster" compared to the "outpourings of financial and emotional support" that followed Haiti's January earthquake and Asia's 2004 tsunami. Some people are reluctant to help because they think helping Pakistan helps terrorists. But after such a "terrible disaster," the decent thing is to set aside politics and lend a hand.
"Why are we not giving enough aid to Pakistan?"
The U.S. should stop politicizing the crisis: The U.S. is trumpeting its own aid, says Pakistan's Daily Mail in an editorial, and "taunting" other countries, such as China, "for not doing enough," as if "there's a competition going on." In truth, China is one Pakistan's "true friends," standing by us through thick and thin, unlike America, which uses us as its pawn. Such shameless politicking only stirs up "more animosity towards the U.S."
"Unfair U.S. Criticism of Chinese Aid"
We can't let the Taliban exploit this situation: The floods in Pakistan affect us all, says the Toronto Sun in an editorial. The Taliban and al Qaeda, through Islamist charities, have "been the quickest to provide aid." This is helping them gain power and credibility among Pakistan's needy. So please, open your hearts — and your wallets — so we can "provide the Taliban and al Qaeda no room to take credit" for easing the effects of this horrible disaster.
"Let's be generous and help Pakistan"
Terrorism destroyed charity: Chalk up more victims of the 9/11 bombers, says Sharon Owens in the Belfast Telegraph. Thanks to the "them and us" mentality the West adopted after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the world has a limited supply of sympathy for a Muslim nation where terrorists hide, and the government spends a fortune on arms but can't provide for the desperate. The "neutrality of need" died when those planes hit the twin towers.
"Why has there been no flood of aid for Pakistan"
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