Do you prefer death by Pirates or Malaria?

Today the naively misguided Dr. Phil show featured the emotional tragedy of pirates attacking tourists.    Now, I’m no fan of pirates and as a frequent traveller I’m hoping not to get attacked by pirates anytime soon [especially when I visit Hue, Vietnam area in February], but the weepy nonsense featured on talk shows to suck in the naively misguided emotions of we in the rich world really, REALLY bothers me.     When I scoffed at the Dr. Phil pirate nonsense as trivial compared to malaria somebody even told me I was not being compassionate enough!

Why do these stories interfere with solutions?   They distract us from the real tragedies at hand – many of which we can actually do something about.  Hey, Dr. Phil – here’s a solution provider we’ll never see on your show :

There is a proverbial bloodbath in terms of lives lost from disease in the developing world, yet we simply don’t want to hear about that.     Given that it’s much more within our control than, say, Pirates in the Caribbean, I think we should pay a lot more attention.

A child dies of malarial disease every 30 seconds.     Pirate deaths may be very interesting and get viewers excited, but our attention to this stuff isn’t going to change much in the world.

So, am I a hypocrite for not doing more than a few donations per year to fight malaria and intestinal disease?    Yes I am, and I encourage everybody to write about why.    Like most people I struggle to provide less talk and more action when it comes to charity.  However at least I recognize the foolish hypocrisy of fretting over nonsense vs substance.     That’s an important first step, because without it we’ll continue to squander billions of hours and dollars fighting fake demons while the real killers remain.   Adding yours to the growing voice in favor of sweeping global health care initiatives may not save us from any pirates, but it’ll save millions of children from a horrible deaths.

Malaria No More

The Global Fund

Against Malaria Foundation


Nets for Life

Nothing But Nets

Malaria Consortium
Global Business Coalition web site
Global Business Coalition web site
Medicines for Malaria Venture
Medicines for Malaria Venture
PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative
PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative

1 thought on “Do you prefer death by Pirates or Malaria?

  1. Could’nt agree more, the pirate issue is a commercial one – not a humanitarian one. But did you know that drowning is a problem as big as malaria, or even bigger in number of annual deaths? Both said to be growing as a consequence of global warming… In this light the pirates are more an annoyance than a problem.

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