Today’s three-minute silence (12 noon GMT – 7pm Aceh time) is something to welcome – a tiny first step in the long struggle to narrow the divide between first and third worlds, to accord Asians and Africans the same value that we accord westerners.
This is, of course, part of the argument against the inequalities between the rich and the poor.
In Britain, according to the Charities Aid Foundation, the wealthiest 10% of UK income earners give just 0.7% of their household expenditure to charity, while the poorest 10% allocate 3% of theirs.
That refers to individuals. Companies are even stingier.
Here at Jakarta’s Stock Exchange, shares are at a record high. Dealers expect the market Wednesday to trade higher on follow-through buying in infrastructure-related companies.
This refers to cement and heavy equipment companies on expectations that their fortunes will improve this year due to reconstruction efforts in the areas devastated by last week’s earthquake and tsunami.
And there is still no news from the Cendana clan; not only ex-President Suharto but his children and former cronies, who still control massive fortunes and business empires, have been conspicuous in their silence.
Interactive pictures of the devastation.