Previous Articles 1
Previous Articles 2
Biography - F.A. Baron
Freedom to be Greedy
Farewell & Welcome
DA Response to Grenada
And, We were Misled
Local vs Privy Council
Thank You Dame Eugenia
Big Bad John
Travels and Travails
Trade Gap - USA & DA
In Case You Missed It
".. Your Love to Town"
Mad Men not to be trusted
Politics of Lies & Deception
Wide, Deep Transparency
Petrocaribe $ Bird Island
Nations Shall War No more
My Feeling of Insecurity
China, Admiration & Envy
Capitalism: Wounded ...
© Gordon Moreau
Tsunami Catastrophe and $350 m.
Jan. 2, 2005 - On 24/12/04 it was being reported here in Dominica, that Cormack Murphy- O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster said: the money used to invade Iraq should better have been employed to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition especially in poorer countries.
A couple days later catastrophic waves (tsunamis) swamped much of S.E. Asia, killing more than 150 thousand people and leaving millions homeless and penniless.
In some cases, dead bodies are being reported lying around because survivors have no energy left to collect them. In other communities no family member survived to identify the dead. In some places observers describe skeletons of bodies picked clean by crows. And I saw footage of an Asian man who asked: Where is America? Why don't they come help us bury our dead?
It would be unreasonable to blame world leaders such as Kofi Annan or President Bush or P.M. Blair for being on holiday at Christmas time. But it is fair to put the question: Having learned about the catastrophe, what do you do? The USA, sole super-power and among nations user of the greatest percentage of world resources, pledged an initial US$14 m. and then increased it to US$35 m.
Soon enough someone did a calculation, and told the big media that the pledge represented the amount spent every 4 hours everyday by the USA fighting Mr. Bush's War in Iraq. And with unusual candour for a diplomat, UN Relief Coordinator Mr. Jan Egeland described as "stingy" the contributions in general made by developed countries in aid of developing ones.
Mr. Bush castigated Egeland's remarks as misguided and advised that American total annual aid was $2 billion. The US is the most generous nation on earth, he said. Someone quickly noted a couple of things. First, US aid as a percentage of GDP placed it not first, but far down the list among developed countries. Second, too much of US aid went to countries like Israel to acquire arms and for pursuits of war.
Ultimately, the US increased its pledge ten-fold to $350 m...Bravo Jan Egeland!!! At time of writing, pledges from the international community were over US$2 billion, with one quarter coming from Japan alone.
It was Mario Cuomo, then Governor of New York, who said "We are too good to make war our only successful enterprise."
Because war means killing people, it should disturb us immensely if the US decides to lead the world only in war, and otherwise leave world leadership in other matters to Europe, Japan, and even China. After all, China has 20% of the world's population, but only 5% of the world's arable land.
The religious right (Republicans) generally "defend" Mr. Bush's war saying that many more innocent people were killed by Saddam than are killed in the Iraqi War. This suggests that because Saddam killed many, that justifies Bush killing some more people who are equally innocent. This argument is not to be trusted.
It is the same religious right who preach that stem cell research should be discouraged because it may be subject to abuse; and that abortion of the unborn fetus is murder and is wrong. Many among us agree with such contentions.
But if killing the innocent unborn is murder, how can the killing of tens of thousands of those born and innocent in Iraq or elsewhere be acceptable? I cannot understand that love affair with the unborn, co-existing side by side with the perverse and bizarre love of killing the innocent who have long been born.
Since this defies every kind of logic, I continue to draw the inference that the American leader is in Iraq because the oil and gas policy he has adopted for his nation has a perfect fit with his ambition to augment the inheritance of his children, not to mention his personal wealth and that of his friends.
Next time, we will discuss the disaster in our own local and Caribbean perspective.
Suffice it here to say that everything is relative. A new FA-22 fighter plane costs US$258 m. (See Newsweek, Special Edition, Issues 2005; page 22)...So, thank you Mr. President for all the assistance and for the pledge in response to the world's biggest disaster. But do not get carried away. You know that $350m cannot buy you a jet bomber and a half. Given the unprecedented extent of the catastrophe, $350 m is not that big a trophy to go down the street and shout about....