FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Wave of Questions

by MICKEY Z.

How does one comprehend the magnitude, impact, and context of a disaster that may claim more than 100,000 lives? But enough about the U.S. occupation of Iraq…

The recent earthquake/tsunami in Asia raises more questions than answers.

Here’s a start:

What’s the political context of the disaster?

Reports on the Asian tsunami typically ignore the crucial political back stories in volatile areas like Aceh and Sri Lanka…and how “aid” efforts will be exploited for geo-political gain. Without such context, the coverage is woefully incomplete and irresponsible. Today, Democracy Now did delve deeper into the situation in Aceh…the military repression, the role of Exxon-Mobil, and now the earthquake/tsunami. Do some research and see for yourself.

Is the U.S. stingy?

Even if we were to trust the estimates of $1 billion in aid eventually coming from the U.S., that number pales in comparison to the tens of billions being spent in Iraq to keep the world safe for petroleum. At this writing, the U.S. has spent an average of $9.5 million every hour on the war and occupation of Iraq. In a global sense, the U.S. spends $1 million dollars a minute on war…a percentage of which helps create Third World poverty and the inability to deal with natural disasters.

Why was there no warning?

There was warning. Here’s how the folks at Democracy Now describe what happened: “Within minutes of the tsunami forming on Sunday, U.S. officials at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii began tracking the waves. But the scientists claimed they had no one to contact in the Indian Ocean region about the possible danger. One exception was the British-owned island of Diego Garcia that houses a major US Naval base. The Independent of London reports that U.S. officials in Hawaii did warn Diego Garcia about the possible tsunami and the island suffered no major damage.”

Could any of the affected countries done anything?

It might have helped if U.S. scientists in Hawaii hadn’t initially calculated the earthquake at a magnitude of 8.0 (ten times weaker than in actuality). “Based on it being an 8.0, we assumed the damage would be confined to Sumatra and would be a local tsunami event,” said Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, “one that strikes shore within minutes of the event.” But even so, we must never forget that profits outweigh people. An official in Thailand’s meteorology department told the Guardian of London, “A proper warning was not given. If we had given the warning and then it hadn’t happened, then it would have been the death of tourism in those areas.”

Will it happen again? Can it happen here?

As I sit here in New York, with a fault line running across 125th St., I need only remember that 200 million years ago the earth was one gigantic continent.

Where does this disaster rank for that area?

The continent of Asia is no stranger to natural events like this. A 1942 hurricane in Bengal, India killed 40,000. A 1970 cyclone Bangladesh claimed 300,000 lives. Going back to 1556, 830,000 died in an earthquake in Shaanxi, China. August 1931 saw China’s Huang He River flood and kill 3,700,000.

As for man-made disasters, Hurricane Lyndon helped kill 1,000,000 or so in Indonesia in 1965. Hurricanes Ike, Jack, Lyndon, and Dick wrecked havoc throughout Southeast Asia for decades…with millions upon millions dead. We
can’t forget Hurricanes Gerald and Jimmy…responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in East Timor in the late 70s. The list goes on and on.

How can I help?

If you’re trying to figure out a way to help but do not want your dollars
sucked into a huge bureaucracy, you can help the Indonesian area of Aceh via the East Timor Action Network.

Another way to help (in a more abstract manner) is to see past the corporate media coverage of the tragedy and educate yourself on the deeper issues. The more we know about the world, the harder it is to fool us. Donate at the link given above. Donate…then educate, agitate, and demonstrate.

Here in the U.S., we can’t honestly say we haven’t been warned…

MICKEY Z. is the author of four books, most recently: “The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda” (Common Courage Press). He can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.

 

 

More articles by:

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here. This piece first appeared at World Trust News.  

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail