"Your Money Goes Back to The Rich"
La-di-da, or make that samizdata:
[M]aybe you just plunged your hand generously into your own pocket, scooped out a chunk of change and handed it over with the (understandably) sincere intentions of doing just a little to help ease the plight of the unfortunate victims of [the tsunami] catastrophe.
If you did any of those things, well, you have certainly provided relief to some quarters:
Oxfam has had to pay £550,000 in customs duty to the Sri Lankan government for importing 25 four-wheel-drive vehicles to help victims of the tsunami, The Daily Telegraph has learned.The sum was levied by customs in Colombo which have refused to grant tax exemptions to non-governmental organisations working to repair damage caused by the giant Boxing Day wave.
The Indian-made Mahindra vehicles, essential to negotiate damaged roads and rough tracks, remained stuck in port at Colombo for almost a month as officials completed the small mountain of paperwork required to release them. Customs charged £2,750 "demurrage" for every day they stood idle.
So there we have it, good people. Kindly Westerners care more about the sodden, bedraggled, impoverished masses of Sri Lanka than their own government which has made a priority of cutting off its own pound (or several hundred thousands of pounds) of flesh first. And this is only the stuff that is being reported.