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Could the Tsunami Disaster Be a Turning Point for the World?
Published on Tuesday, January 4, 2004 by the lndependent/UK
Could the Tsunami Disaster Be a Turning Point for the World?
As the international aid effort grows and George Bush launches a fresh appeal, we ask politicians and commentators if 2005 might see a new determination to tackle global poverty
 

THE RIGHT REV TIM STEVENS, Bishop of Leicester

I am hopeful, but we must see a real commitment to changing the economic relationships between the West and the poorer countries. As well as charitable giving, we need to tackle these fundamental issues.

RORY BREMNER, Comedian

On an individual level, it is not just about what we are prepared to give, but what we are prepared to give up. Having left Afghanistan and Iraq in their wake, can our leaders be trusted to fight a war on poverty?

KANYA KING, Founder, Mobo awards

No longer can we exist in isolation when we see lives and livelihoods being destroyed. All of us need to be pro-active to change things, but we have shown that public opinion and the media can influence government.

STEPHEN TINDALE, Executive director, Greenpeace

It seems churlish to say it, but while it's relatively easy for most of us to give £50, it would be much harder for us to make the changes in our modern lifestyles that are needed if we are to move to a fairer world.

DR GHAYASUDDIN SIDDIQUI, Leader of Muslim Parliament

Compassion, care and concern for mankind joins each of us - whatever our faith or ethnicity. The tragedy has shown there is a formula on which all mankind can be united to help each other. Mankind has moved forward.

BILL BAILEY, Comedian

It was the same after 11 September. Everyone said it was a great opportunity to try to understand the world but it was used by the US as a reason to go on a rampaging adventure in Afghanistan and Iraq.

MO MOWLAM, Former cabinet minister

I think most people will simply forget. Some charities say people will even forget how much they pledged to give. I wish it would change our attitudes to other people in other countries, but I'm afraid that it won't.

SIR JONATHON PORRITT, Environmentalist

The response reveals a deep sense of empathy that could be of lasting value. If it is just a philanthropic flash, then we have seen those before, but if people gain a sense of their interdependence, we will be better off.

DINOS CHAPMAN, Artist

Western capitalism demands that people must be impoverished. I cannot think that anything will change this year, because we are the ones who have made the world the way it is. I don't believe in altruism.

LORD HURD OF WESTWELL, Former foreign secretary

The danger is that resources which might have gone to Africa will go to this instead. While huge publicity continues to be given to the tsunami, human beings are killing each other in Iraq, and places like Darfur.

SIR MAX HASTINGS, Journalist and historian

We have to bear in mind that we have been here before. There have been tragedies before, and many fine things have been said, a lot of them by the US. We just have to hope that in this case they will follow through.

J G BALLARD, Novelist

It would be one of the biggest breakthroughs mankind has ever experienced if we pooled our wealth in order to look after the poorer people of the world. Sadly, I don't think it will happen.

SUE MACGREGOR, Broadcaster

I hope politicians will take note of the public reaction. But it is difficult to tell whether it will do anything to change the way politicians see things, when our own Prime Minister chose not to break his holiday.

TONY BENN, Former cabinet minister

It may make people realize that the UN needs to be well-equipped and funded. If people diverted money from weapons and war, we have the technology and money to be able to help - if we decide to do that.

SIR RICHARD BRANSON, Entrepreneur

I think that politicians must realize that people do care about these issues and want them to do more. If 2005 could become the year when people make a real effort, then it could make a real difference.

© Copyright 2005 lndependent/UK

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