Friday, September 10, 2004

Going too far?

The BBC reports nearly $3bn has been spent so far rehabilitating the relatives of those who died in the world trade centre. It doesn't say exactly how many people this money has been split between nor does it give much in the way of detailed breakdown of how it has been spent.

So here's the maths: The total dead in the incident was around 3,000. So for each person who died an average of $1m has been spent helping their family members. Thats a lot of money. Some families have, according to the article received several thousand dollar in actual payouts and on top of this large amounts have been spent on therapy options particualrly for the children involved.

Since the majority of those working the towers will have been well-paid family bread-winners, this is not as shocking as it sounds although I do have the feeling that some of the people involved will be laughing all the way to the bank after charging well over the odds for art therapy, music therapy, aromatherapy, etc (all of which I am fully prepared to believe have a positive effect - i just wonder where the line falls between letting kids be kids and draw pictures with some 50c crayons and charging serious dollars for "art therapy").

However there are two more significant issues I felt the need to raise in the light of the article:

1) How much of this stuff is being offered to victims families in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Answer: nothing. Even the 50c pack of crayons is well out of the price range for many families who have been affected by US and UK military action in these places.

2) Is there an element to this on-going focus on therapy, the fact that they are still trying to identify remains and still holding funerals, and the fact that it is talked about day in day out by the US government which might actually be dragging out the pain these people are going through?

The widow of one of the victims said: "To be murdered live on television is unusual enough. To get to see it every day for three years - there's not a day you don't hear it, or see it. On the other hand, you don't want people to forget. It just hurts so much."

And another: "The repeated invocation of 9/11 at the recent Republican convention has been hard to bear. I was watching with my daughter, and it was brought up so much. I don't think I resent the fact they did it, but there could have been less imagery involved all the time."

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