Today, when a quake has ravaged Pakistan, it's that country's turn. President Musharraf wants foreign financial assistance, and appreciates India's offer of help, but says there are "sensitivities" involved. Therefore, it will take Pakistan a few days to "decide" about the Indian offer.
Which seems like a roundabout way of saying, simply, "No! Thanks, but no!"
I always wonder: when such decisions are made, are the victims of the calamity consulted? I mean, remember Arko Dutta's searing shot of the wailing woman on the Nagapattinam shore? Did some high up Government official go up to her and say: "You'll be proud to know, we are refusing aid from abroad!" In much the same way, remember the photograph of Pakistani rescue workers trying to pull from the rubble a visible victim of one of those building collapses in Islamabad? Did one of Musharraf's aides yell down to him: "Hang in there, we're aware of the sensitivities involved in accepting aid from India!"
I imagine those things didn't happen. Why?
The only sensitivity should be to the victims of tragedy. Yet nationhood is such a prickly issue, it overwhelms even great tragedy. Which is a tragedy by itself.
POSTSCRIPT: General Musharraf has changed his mind, I'm glad to find out. Here's one report about Indian relief material arriving in Pakistan. Good news, and I'm glad to be eating my words on this score.