Thursday, February 19, 2009

Books for disaster times

I received a very kind email from a friend under the heading "Books for Bushfire Relief" from another booklover's blog regarding donations to the Australian bush fire victims.

I quote the blogger: ". . . a writer by the name of Tali Lavi is organising a project involving books being donated to victims of the Victorian bush fires. She is also asking writers to donate signed copies of their books. So if you are a published writer with spare copies to hand, or anyone with some spare books about the house, please think of donating." The writer Tali says "I've been wondering what I can do for those people who have been affected by the terrible fires that have raged through Victoria. There are so many stories of devastating loss and those fortunate to be left with their lives are lacking any possessions." Tali goes on to seek donations in order that "our stories and the stories of others will help them to see through the smoke and transport them to other, more beautiful, places than the ones they might occupy now."

Okay, here's my problem. Sending books to people in disaster areas is a mistake. The teeming towers swaying overhead in the flooded and gutted East New Orleans Regional library illuminated the futility and uselessness of STUFF in terrible times. In my humble opinion, the library would have been better served with a check rather than a box of paperback John Grishoms and the cost to ship same. Can use books when there are no floors, no walls, no shelves.

Australians would be better served by donating money to a recognized and respectible charity.

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