Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Earth to the Vatican

It looks like some Vatican officials have been overdoing the Christmas spirit—in the literal sense of the term—just a bit. Did someone perhaps make their eggnog a bit too strong this year? Here is why I ask:

The Vatican newspaper has denounced what it called a decision by the IDF to deny emergency help to disaster victims in Sri Lanka.
Calling for “a radical and dramatic change of perspective” among people “too often preoccupied with making war,” L’Osservatore Romano singled out Israeli military leaders for declining a request for emergency medical help.

I would really like to believe that this is all a big, unfortunate mistake. Whether it is or not, here are some facts for those Vatican officials to chew on once they sober up:

Contrary to the Vatican report, an Israeli plane carrying 80 tons of food and medical supplies worth $100,000 was set to depart for Sri Lanka Wednesday morning. At the request of the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry, a team of some 150 Israeli medical and security personnel aborted their planned trip to the island nation Tuesday night.

This is mind-boggling. The Sri Lankan government asks Israel to call off its relief mission—and look who then gets the blame for “denying the disaster.”

No. I take it back. This isn’t mind-boggling. It’s appalling. Nauseating. Sick.

That Israel has been accused of something it didn’t do is bad enough. Yet if the Sri Lankan government’s political games are more important to it than the lives of its own people, what does that say about the Sri Lankan government?

And why on earth isn’t the Vatican yelling at them?

UPDATE: Here’s Mark’s perspective on the situation. Well worth a read.

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