Monday, January 03, 2005

Gulf Arabs to Victims: Eff You, Clean My Toilet


Showing a chutzpah not seen since the Yanks liberated Kuwait, the Gulf States have once again placed themselves on their golden throne while the world struggles with something found increasingly lacking in Petroville . . . humanity.

With its high number of foreign workers coming from the affected region, one would (wrongly) assume the Gulfies would lift a bit more than a finger but of course that person would be mistaken. Petrodollars can buy you a lot of things, but it seems those Fendi bags don't come with a conscience.


Blogger Abu Noor said...

Is this just an insult based on your own prejudices and ignorance or are you trying to make a real point here? Did you even care to investigate anything? Here is a some information from Juan Cole on what the Arab countries had done as of 1/1 --

As of 1/1, Reuters was reporting these responses to the tsunami from Middle Eastern countries:

--Qatar, $25 million
--Saudi Arabia, $10 million
--Kuwait, $2.1 million
--Algeria, $2 million
--Libya, $2 million
--UAE, $2 million
--Turkey, $1.25 million

I have suggested before that if you want to compare the donations, you can't do it in terms of absolute numbers. You have to look at the population of the country and at its per capita income.

The announced Saudi contribution of $10 million is probably about $0.66 cents a citizen on a per capita basis (I don't think the Saudi citizen population can possibly be over 15 million no matter what Riyadh says). The second US offer of $35 million was about 12 cents per person. Since US per capita income is approximately 4.5 times that of Saudi Arabia ($8500 Atlas method), however, the Saudi contribution should be seen as about $3.00 per citizen on a US scale, with regard to the real per capita burden. So the Saudi was a generous initial offer in comparison to that of the US.

The USG is now pledging about $1.19 cents per person ($350 million).

The Qatar offer of $25 million is about $250 per citizen.

The Kuwait offer of $2 million is $2.00 per citizen or $1.00 per person if guest workers are counted. Either way, it is comparable to the US offer on a per capita basis, and Kuwaiti per capita income is about half that of Americans. So any way you cut it, the Kuwaitis are not being chintzy unless you want to say Americans are moreso.

The Libyans are giving about $0.36 per person, and their per capita income (purchasing power parity method) is a little over $6,000. That is about 1/7 of the US per capita income, so their contribution burdens the Libyans the same way a roughly $2.50 per person contribution would burden Americans. Remember, the USG is currently giving a little over a dollar a person.

The Turks have offered 18 cents a person. But their per capita income is only about $3000 per year, or a tenth that of an average American, so this plege is equivalent to an American one of $1.80. That is, the Turks are giving one and a half times what Americans are if everything is taken into account.

The current Australian pledge of $60 million is about $3.00 per person.

It is obvious that if we take their populations and actual per capita income into account, the offers made by many of these governments are generally more generous than that of the United States. A lot of Middle Eastern countries have small populations, so even if they gave a lot per capita, it would look small in absolute numbers. Apparently US pundits don't know things like the citizen population of Kuwait or the per capita income of Libya, and can't be bothered to look them up.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (the foreign ministers of Muslim-majority countries) is offering to coordinate aid from the area, and is calling for Muslim countries to give the utmost.

And, civil society organizations are also swinging into action in places like Qatar.

What explains this misplaced American high dudgeon? Petroleum wealth seems often to be coded by Americans as undeserved and also as automatically making people rich. But this impression is exaggerated. Petroleum probably only accounts for about a fourth of Libya's gross domestic product. And the Saudi per capita income of about $8,500 per person per year (Atlas method) compares poorly to the US average of $38,000 per year per person. (And remember, these are averages and since both countries have a lot of billionnaires, ordinary people actually make much less). Americans don't seem to understand that on an average they are several times richer than the average Saudi.

It is particularly unfair to blame Kuwait, which has a reputation of doing great, professional little development projects in Africa and elsewhere, and which is still recovering from Saddam's brutal occupation and sabotage. Since Tucker Carlson thought the recent Iraq war was so great, isn't he grateful to Kuwait for allowing itself to be used as the launching pad? What does an Arab country have to do to get a break from the US talking heads? Sue to become the 51st state?"

Since that time, Saudi had a telethon which raised 66 million dollars in 11 hours.

I'm no fan of the Arab governments and I recognize the racism in many Arab people but none of that makes it right to engage in random false insults without any concern for truth.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Abu Noor said...

Saudi govt pledge is now 30 million UAE 20 million. OTher numbers are higher as well since the Juan Cole argument.

However, I'm sure you will continue to claim that all Arabs are being stingy even though the average Arab is poorer than you and probably gave more.

I know its a lot easier to rely on your own sterotypes than to actually investigate an issue before launching your campaign of insults, but that doesn't make it right.

6:30 PM  
Blogger crossfader72 said...

thanks abu! having been shamed into acknowledging that of all the region in the world with ties to the affect region, the Gulfies had been heretofore missing in action, i am pleased that they have joined the rest of humanity.

6:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home