People worldwide have responded magnificently to help survivors of the tsunami disaster. Money has poured in from all quarters. Governments have tried to keep pace with the sentiments of people at large. But one must confess to a slight unease over certain aspects of the relief effort. The reference is not to spurious NGOs which jump into the fray, carefully documenting their activities on camera, to ensure continuation of their own funding. Refer, rather, to money being raised for tsunami relief work.
It is nice to see people carry on with their normal lives and take the disaster in their stride. It is also nice to see celebrities in different walks of life pitching in to help raise funds. It's okay, for instance, when Hollywood or Bollywood stars approach the public for funds. It is okay even when they stage charity events to rake in money for relief. In effect they are giving up their own earnings and passing on the revenue to help tsunami survivors.
It is also okay for sports stars to play charity matches to help the relief effort. They, too, sacrifice their own earnings to help victims. And most of the celebrities have themselves given generous donations, too
. The public can simply donate for relief work. And many members of the public have done precisely that. But, is it okay to make a virtue of enjoying the entertainment provided by charity events? To think that a good time is being had for the sake of tsunami survivors? Is there not an element of hypocrisy that is faintly offensive? Possibly not.
But what about charity fashion shows in which models in lingerie traipse up and down the ramp while concerned citizens moved by the plight of tsunami survivors ogle at the models? Are they also doing their bit for tsunami relief? Perhaps that's okay, too. If so, then Mercedes Mueller of Dortmund, Germany, must be okay, too.
According to Reuters news agency, Mueller runs a brothel. Moved by the plight of tsunami survivors, she is donating part of her earnings. "It's not everyday you can make a charitable gesture by going to a brothel," said Mueller, who owns the Happy FKK Club in Dortmund. She said the clients and prostitutes had all responded with great enthusiasm and $1,700 had been raised so far. She said, "We all have a heart, too."
Doubtless many husbands with a heart would have told their wives: "Not tonight, honey. I gotta go and help tsunami survivors!"
(Puri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)