Should celebrities be allowed to enter the hurricane katrina catastrophe disaster areas?

‘I do my bit to improve the world but I think it’s very important to get things done on the quiet. I’m sick to death of famous people standing up and using their celebrity to promote a cause’, vented out Russell Crowe unfortunately only days before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. To help people in distress and especially in calamities like the colossal Katrina hurricane is a natural human instinct. Why should the celebrities be singled out? Aren’t they human too? And who has given them the ‘celebrity’ status anyway? As Crowe implies do all celebrities have a motive behind relief aids? NO! There may be some around but there are others who are sincerely dedicated to make the world a better place to live in. True, the celebrities do bring attention and money but this is so very essential at these times. If the presence of a few celebrities can rake in few thousand dollars as donations which helps in housing and feeding those rendered homeless in the Hurricane, then why not? Let us understand what are truly the pros and cons of celebrities’ role in times of disaster.

First and foremost the very presence of celebrities in the disaster areas makes the victims feel important. Nobody seeks help from others in good times and it is during the bad times that the touch of humanity is needed. A helping hand, a mere touch, a few words of comfort go a long way in making the affected feel that all is not lost, that God exists. Secondly, once the celebrities are in the forefront, they also naturally assume a social responsibility not just for those few hours or days but it becomes a commitment to the cause. Thirdly, when celebrities are around, they bring with them a lot more people who too get involved sincerely. Fourthly, they make use of their talents to raise the funds. They are willing to offer physical help which is the need. Now, what exactly are the ways in which celebrities can contribute to raise funds?

Tim McGraw for example is very involved with the American Red Cross and that is where he is concentrating in raising funds. At times like these stars also unite together to work for a common cause. A concert is an obvious reaction towards fulfilling a charitable need. “A Concert for Hurricane Relief” was organized almost immediately after death toll reports started coming in. The concert, which was televised on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC, featured artists like Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis and Tim McGraw. The heart-felt performances of the celebrities conveyed to the people on the Gulf Coast that they had people all round the world who cared, who understood and who stood by them. Faith Hill attended the concert along with her husband McGraw but she did something else too. She bought truckloads of relief supplies and delivered them herself at the American Red Cross headquarters. She even declined to be interviewed by the media lest it would be labeled as a publicity campaign than a relief effort.

Then there are celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have not just organized charity shows in aid of the Hurricane relief but also converted a warehouse adjacent to her Harpo Productions studio to house Hurricane Katrina refugees who have family in Chicago, but lost everything to the storm. People in distress are overwhelmed when they see or hear that celebrities offer heart-felt support but then are all celebrities sincere? What are the cons of having celebrities around?

There are other ‘celebrities’ like the great politicians who want to make an ‘aerial survey’ of the affected areas and then voice their opinion at a costly press conference. Such celebrities are not required who eat up on the funds for relief but at times like this personal differences have to kept aside.

The pros far outweigh the cons and undoubtedly celebrities can attract a lot of money which others cannot. Any find raising program organized by them would fetch overwhelming response from the public. Perhaps the people rest a lot more confidence on them than on the politicians or the common people.  There seems to be absolutely no justification why celebrities should not be allowed to enter the Katrina catastrophe disaster areas.

<http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9158007/>

< http://www.countryweekly.com/stories/scene/63106>

<http://www.nationalenquirer.com/mikewalker/63421>

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