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Monday, February 21, 2005

Aid Groups Hope Post-Tsunami World More Generous

Planet Ark : Aid Groups Hope Post-Tsunami World More Generous
The Indian Ocean tsunami has triggered the most generous outpouring of humanitarian aid in history, making relief groups hopeful of a basic shift in the way the world reacts to desperately needy people.

In all, governments, aid groups, businesses and individuals have pledged $8 billion to $9 billion for tsunami relief in just eight weeks after an earthquake and wall of water devastated coastlines from Somalia to Thailand Dec. 26.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says governments, international agencies and relief groups alone have notified it of $5.7 billion in donations.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tsunamis and Reckless Resource Extraction – The Unknown Link

Salimah Valiani
Northern American consumers – whether in coastal cities in the winter or prairie towns far from the sea - have in the past ten years enjoyed affordable frozen shrimp, no matter the season. Few of these consumers know that this has been due to the rise of shrimp farming in mangrove forests of Asian and Latin American countries, where governments have opted for quick export industry development. Even fewer know the link between this type of intensified resource extraction and the immense impact of recent tsunamis in Asia.

According to the Mangrove Action Project (MAP), which has been opposing unsustainable development since 1992, great losses in human life and suffering could have been averted had healthy mangrove forests, coral reefs, sea grass beds and peatlands been conserved along the tsunami-devastated coastlines of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.

Scientific simulations show that the destructive force of a 15 meter tsunami is greatly dissipated if it passes through coastal zones containing coral, sea grass and mangroves. These zones act as natural buffers protecting land, coastal communities and wildlife from the brunt of storms and waves.

Corroborating this scientific evidence are the tsunami experiences in India. About 300 km south of Chennai, in the southeast Indian state of Tamil Nadu, six village hamlets located within 100 to 1000 metres of the Pichavaram mangrove wetlands did not face any tsunami damage due to the physical protection offered by the mangrove. As a fisherman of the hamlets explains, “We saved the mangrove by restoring it and it saved our life and property by protecting us.”
A report of the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation of Chennai further explains that the velocity of the tsunami water was greatly reduced due to friction created by the thickness of the mangrove forest. Additionally, the tsunami water was distributed to canals and creeks throughout the mangrove, thus reducing its impact.
The experience of the six hamlets protected by the mangrove – comprising a population of about 6191 – differs significantly from that of the five hamlets located on or near to the open beach, which were totally devastated. A total of 17 hamlets were making use of the resources of the Pichavaram mangrove wetlands, which occupies an area of some 1400 hectares.

Besides being ‘greenbelts of protection’, mangroves play a vital role in reducing sedimentation and shoreline erosion. They also enhance fishing and farming communities with wild fisheries, marine life, medicines, fruit, honey, lumber, fuel wood, tannins and aesthetic beauty. But unlike the Pichavaram mangrove in India, mangrove forests in Southeast Asia have been lost, along with over half of the world’s mangroves.

MAP’s co-founder Pisit Charnsnah, of Thailand’s Yadfon Association explains, “The mangrove is the supermarket for the coastal poor, and that market has been replaced by another man-made enterprise whereby the goods produced are earmarked for export, and the local communities suffer the consequences of reduced wild fisheries and increased threats from natural disasters.”

In addition to industrial shrimp aquaculture, mangrove forests and corral reefs have been destroyed or diminished through the expansion of tourism, mining and logging industries – all of which has been encouraged by international financial institutions like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

“Mining is one major reason for coastal degradation in the Philippines” says Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan, the People’s Network for the Environment. Denuding of mangrove forests has been caused by soil erosion and heavy siltation (i.e. fine earth and sand carried by water), which in turn are occurring due to intensified mining and logging since the early 1990s.

Similarly in Aceh, Indonesia - the area closest to the epicentre of the earthquake which caused the recent tsunamis – where over 100,000 have been killed, petroleum and shrimp exploitation for export have been central to government development policies.

Just prior to the earthquake in late December, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry increased the annual allowable cut for Indonesia’s forests by 400 per cent, without providing any ecological justification. Policy makers and advocates in Indonesia and around the world would do better to demonstrate they have learned from the recent catastrophe by incorporating the analysis of WALHI-Friends of the Earth Indonesia. Given that inappropriate development made the impact of the tsunami worse in areas where coral reefs and mangrove forests were destroyed, WALHI points-out, “it is essential that reconstruction plans and activities do not repeat these patterns, or create other negative environmental impacts.”
January 2005

Monday, February 14, 2005

Does disaster sell?

Seven storms right to the top
ESCAPISM or realism? It is hard to define a disaster blockbuster in a post-tsunami world but television viewers had a good look at one on Sunday night.

Category 6: Day Of Destruction was a four-hour epic about hurricane and tornado systems combining to bring destruction across the US.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Building A "New Nation"

Building a "New Nation" - Renton de Alwis
Most gave without seeking anything in return, while some others sought to brand their efforts. Nevertheless, they were all real and met the needs of the hour.

The tsunami, with all its destructive force emptied on us, had brought us all together; given all of us the realisation of the truism that, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ – a realisation and a reality that the pre-tsunami world of the Sri Lankan polity had refused to accept.

World Social Forum 2005

World Social Forum 2005: An Irish Eyewitness Report - International Rights and Freedoms
The fifth World Social Forum (WSF) which took place last week in Porto Alegre, Brazil was a vital event for all those who are concerned with the state of the World. The WSF showed clearly that five years on from the Seattle protests, the ‘alter-globalisation’ movement continues to grow in strength and importance. 120,000 registered for the forum, almost 200,000 took part in the opening march and 352 proposals and calls for action came out of the more than 2000 panels and workshops that took place.
The WSF was post-tsunami in the pre-tsunami era.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Planning for a post-tsunami world

Communities planning their future in a post-tsunami world
The recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean has left islanders around the world thinking about their vulnerability. While our sympathies lie with those affected nations, and as we continue to provide assistance and immediate relief to them, sometimes our minds turn to the previously unimagined scenario of a series of 10-metre high tsunami waves barreling towards our

Should we just continue to go on the same way as before? Concentrating our development on the coast and near to the beaches, responding to the perceived needs of our tourist markets?...

Community visioning, put simply, is a process whereby communities lay out a blueprint, or vision statement, for future changes they want to see, they then prepare and implement a plan to meet their needs. Community visioning has been used successfully in Moloka'i and Hawaii, and Palauan communities are hoping it will work for them....

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Arthur C. Clarke on the tsunami's aftermath

Letter from Sri Lanka - Wired
The New Year dawned with the global family closely following the unfolding tragedy via satellite television and the Web. As the grim images from Banda Aceh, Chennai, Galle, and elsewhere replaced the traditional scenes of celebrations, I realized that it would soon be 60 years since I conceived the communications satellite (in Wireless World, October 1945 -- I still think it was a good idea).

Re-imaging God in a post-tsunami world

Re-imaging God in a post-tsunami world - John Shelby Spong - Catholic New Times
The theistic God, because of great advances in human knowledge, has been rendered unbelievable.

A natural catastrophe like the tsunami brings these issues dramatically and urgently into full view. The defenders of the traditional understanding of God try to make sense out of this tragedy by postulating a deserving guilt on the part of its victims or by telling us that the will of God in this tragedy will be made clear in time. These arguments are simply not convincing...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Reporters on the Job

Reporters on the Job - Christian Science
Gone Fishing: To find out what was happening to India's fishermen in the post-tsunami world, correspondent Nachammai Raman first called a non- governmental group who works in a local fishing village near Madras, India. "I checked to see if they were getting back to work. Then, I arranged to see for myself," she says....

Friday, January 28, 2005

Post-tsunami language

Post-Tsunami World Home

We are all of these and more.

Post-tsunami planet
Pre-tsunami planet
Post-tsunami universe
Pre-tsunami universe
Post-tsunami society
Pre-tsunami society
Post-tsunami politics
Pre-tsunami politics
Post-tsunami earth
Pre-tsunami earth

Post tsunami planet
Pre tsunami planet
Post tsunami universe
Pre tsunami universe
Post tsunami society
Pre tsunami society
Post tsunami politics
Pre tsunami politics
Post tsunami earth
Pre tsunami earth


Trapped - Memphis Flyer - Chris Davis
In this post-O.J., post-9/11, post-tsunami world, the term 'media circus' is all too familiar. We've seen the degree to which tragedies are manipulated by hacks and hucksters for personal gain. But America's first full-bore media circus happened in 1925, when a Kentucky caver named Floyd Collins became trapped in a narrow passage 100 feet beneath the earth.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Minnesota's ties pull in post-tsunami world - Opinion
The change in history forced by the tsunami of Dec. 26 will reveal itself for as long as those alive now proceed through that history. The one month that seems so long and full of pain really is a crying blink in the eye of history. And, yes, other pressing needs call out for attention and sympathetic action by the human family.

A month after the tsunami, though, the primal connections and the knowledge that nature could visit wrath without warning almost anywhere tell us all that the power to make a difference lies simply in the power to act in the common good....

Hansard England

Hansard - Lord Eden of Winton
In the post-tsunami world, Sri Lanka has benefited enormously from the very substantial and imaginative assistance given by the Government and by voluntary organisations. I congratulate them on the tremendous work that is being done. It is both practical and sensitive, but tragically even here there is evidence of widespread corruption, jealousies and grotesque bureaucracy. My son, Jack Eden, and my stepson, Robert Drummond, both live in Sri Lanka. They have mobilised their charity, Friends of the South, so as to give direct help to individuals. They give tools to artisans to enable them to start up work again. They are providing all the equipment necessary to a shipbuilder who has lost everything so that he can begin to rebuild his own business. Even so, they are frustrated in their efforts by officialdom.
My lord.

Twisted Sister and Priest

Twisted Sister and Priest - peppering
Also, big ups to Leigh Anne for accompanying me to the march to celebrate the 32nd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade last Saturday! We got out sharpies and white t-shirts and safety-pinned handwritten messages to our coats, Sex Pistols style. Mine said 'BUSH' within a circle-slash, like a no smoking sign.

Our silliest singalong was the Twisted Sister refrain, "We're not gonna take it. No, we're not gonna take it. We're not gonna take it anymore!" and in the same happy melody of "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands" replacing the lines with:

"If you don't like abortion, then don't have one. If you don't like abortion, then don't have one." That one cheered me up very much. It seems so obvious. Think of how else we could be spending our precious time in a post-tsunami world riddled with AIDS and war.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Reporter's notebook - Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Reporter's notebook - Seattle Times
They have accustomed themselves to the new rules of the post-tsunami world, reminding me to hold my nose and close a car window as we pass the muddy morass that is the mass burial site and still receives new loads of bodies each day. The local newspaper reports that within the Banda Aceh province more than 79,000 people have died or are missing.

Does it take a tragedy to help?

A conversation with Prof. David Morrison on aid in the post-tsunami world - Arthur - Trent University
According to Prof. Morrison, “there are new questions being asked that were not publicly asked before” as a result of the tsunami. “We may see the Canadian government pushed, as a result of the tsunami crisis, into a more progressive policy in terms of untying Canadian aid.” Untying allows the recipient countries to purchase locally and often to obtain more competitive prices. “Historically, tied aid has reduced the real value of aid to recipients by about 20 percent from what they would be able to buy in the open market,” said Morrison....

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Stupid Ball

Stupid Ball
Over 220,000 people died and it didn't even last a month in the press. Spetember 11 (death toll of approximately 3,000) is still very much in the news however after three years, after all, not a day goes by that I don't hear that we live in a 'post Sep. 11th' world. We also live in a post tsunami world... not that anyone cares.

Post-tsunami world pledges to invest in disaster preparations

UN to co-ordinate new warning system
More than 150 nations pledged Saturday to build early warning systems and make disaster preparation a budget priority in the wake of the Asian tsunamis, but avoid imposing concrete goals after five days of heated talks...

UN relief chief Jan Egeland said that a "faithful interpretation" of promises made during the five-day conference in Kobe, Japan "would mean the saving of hundreds of thousands of lives and millions of livelihoods."

"The world may not be a safer place next week but it should be in a year from now and it should certainly be at the end of the decade that we are now embarking on," Egeland said....

The delegates reached a consensus on Thursday to put the United Nations in charge of building a tsunami alert system for the Indian Ocean, amid competing offers by donor and regional nations to share their technology.

The alert system for the Indian Ocean was pledged be up and running in 12 to 18 months.
Sort of sounds promising. At least a step in the right direction.

The Sailing of the Elephant Child

The Sailing of the Elephant Child - Project Concern International
It’s hot, but there’s a breeze. Only the breeze brings smells I’ve rarely smelled before and never want to again: death and decay. The boat is beautiful. The sky is blue. It hasn’t rained once since I arrived in Banda Aceh 2 days ago. Our boat is called “The Elephant Child” and it’s a colorful fishing vessel, one just like many others you see around here either half submerged in mucky water, or crushed into rubble, floundering like a beached and broken whale up on the street, little sticks of wood tossed by the force of the tsunami in places where boats were never meant to be....

There are 200 blue packets, burritos of insecticide treated tarps with all kinds of goodies stuffed inside: food, cooking utensils, clothing, hygiene kits, blankets, buckets, and shelter materials....Normally a week is a relatively short period of time, but in this post-tsunami world, everything can change in a few days…

Friday, January 21, 2005

Bush just loves the fiery pre-tsunami world

Smiles for the family, a fiery warning for the world - Guardian Unlimited
'By our efforts, we have lit ... a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world,' Mr Bush said on the steps of the Capitol, tens of thousands listening rapt on Washington's snow-covered National Mall and along Pennsylvania Avenue.

The speech, steeped in religious language, was addressed first to the world and only secondly to the American people. Mr Bush portrayed a planet consumed by the struggle between liberty and tyranny in which the US would not stand aside.
Of course this should surprise no one. Bush thrives on violence, death, threats and imperial hubris. No way he's moving into the post-tsunami world.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Mike's Heresy of the Month, or Generosity

Mike's Heresy of the Month, or Generosity - Waving or Drowning?
And now here we are living in the post-tsunami world. I do believe the world is a different place than it was on Christmas day, and I even think some of that change is permanent. The global outpouring of generosity and compassion has been remarkable. Don't misunderstand me - I think this is a good thing.

Still, I have questions.

I have questions about the nature of generosity, and our motivations. What about the 100,000 people who have died in Iraq? Nobody, including me, seems to be in any hurry to do much for those families who have been shattered by death. What about those Palestinians whose homes have been bulldozed by Israeli forces? Nobody, including me, seems to be too concerned about where those displaced families will sleep tonight....

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

UN report asks rich nations to hike aid

UN report asks rich nations to hike aid
UNITED NATIONS, JANUARY 18: An international team of experts sponsored by the United Nations on Monday proposed a detailed, ambitious plan it says could halve extreme poverty and save the lives of millions of children and hundreds of thousands of mothers each year by 2015.

The report says drastically reducing poverty in its many guises — hunger, illiteracy, disease — is ‘‘utterly affordable’’. To fulfill this goal, industrialised nations would need to roughly double aid to poor countries from a quarter to a half of one per cent of their national incomes.

Benefit concert for a post-tsunami world

Happy happy 2005! - Johnny J Blair
Everyone is dwelling on the post-tsunami world and it's great to see how much people want to give and help out. As I write, I am organizing a benefit concert here in Billtown (watch this space).

Sunday, January 16, 2005

New possibilities in catastrophe's wake

The Indian Ocean tsunami wrought death and devastation and is a human tragedy of epic proportions. But it has also had something of a cleansing effect, helping to dislodge much of the disunity and mistrust caused, mainly, by America's unfortunate and ill-judged reaction to the 9/11 terror attacks - particularly its invasion of Iraq in 2003. The response to the calamity, while slow at first as the sheer scale of the disaster sunk in, has been nothing short of remarkable...

The response from political leaders also indicates a desire for a compassionate rather than a vengeful world order: one where far greater attention is given to the root causes of conflict than to the symptoms....

(Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon -ed)Brown cautioned that Millennium Goals, agreed five years ago at the United Nations, was in danger of being 'downgraded from a pledge, to just a possibility, to just words'. “The danger we face today is that what began as the greatest bond between rich and poor for our times is at risk of ending as the greatest betrayal of the poor by the rich of all time,” he added.

These sentiments, underpinned by the good-will of the post-tsunami world, now have to be backed by action. There are no easy victories and African leaders must seize the moment - together with the likes of Brown - to ensure a far different order from the one we have lived since the end of the 2001.
While the hard-core neo-cons want to forget about the post-tsunami world as soon as possible (see Tom Watson in next post), will other more pragmatic neo-cons try to hijack the post-tsunami world to shape in their images? Can progressives seize the initiative in the PTW before the Gap and MacDonalds turn it into the latest commodity and fad?

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Adjusting to the Post-Tsunami World

Adjusting to the Post-Tsunami World - Dr. John C. Walsh -
Thousands of people are still unaccounted for and bodies are still being stored in temporary morgues in the increasingly desperate struggle to have them accurately identified, yet already people are adjusting to the post-tsunami world. For thousands who were directly affected, this involves coping with the loss of loved ones – some people have lost dozens of close family members and it is difficult to imagine the sense of loss they may be suffering....

Wolfowitz - So Pre-Tsunami

Click on link for original with links.
Wolfowitz - So Pre-Tsunami - Tom Watson
Meet Paul Wolfowitz, neo-con, discredited claimant of WMDs, incompetent war planner, and now - exhibit No. 1 of the Bush Administration's stubborn pre-Tsunami thinking. Quoth DepSecDef in his typical humanist fashion on tour of ravaged region:

"We'd like to be out of this business as soon as we responsibly can. The U.S. military has a lot of other work to do."

Wolfy, that is soooo pre-Tsunami. You're still trapped in that pre-Tsunami fetal position, legs tucked, that unfortunately typifies your pre-Tsunami ways. Reaching out to the wider world still feels so wrong. The U.S. military in regions where our young soldiers are welcomed - it doesn't sit well. Not from Wolfie, who said this: "The reconstruction of Iraq will largely pay for itself." Oh, and who wrote the briefing memo that caused our President to say this: "Any military presence, should it be necessary, will be temporary and intended to promote security and elimination of weapons of mass destruction; the delivery of humanitarian aid; and the conditions for the reconstruction of Iraq."

The U.S. military has 24 Navy ships, one Coast Guard vessel and about 15,000 military personnel involved in the relief effort in southern Asia. The effort includes 2,000 Marines who are ferrying aid workers and transporting food to victims in Indonesia, the hardest-hit country, where more than 110,000 people died. But let's face it, with National Guard tours stretched to the breaking point and beyond, casualties mounting, and dishonest partial vote slated, and civil war looming, Iraq beckons for our troops - a quagmire with no end in sight. And yet our troops have done an incredible job in South Asia, leading a powerful relief effort in a region that - let's face it - needs some positive leadership from America. Sure, Wolfowitz praised the troops - but then he showed the pathetic tin ear he has, and the arrogance that intonates it, by calling for a quick exit. And here's a sampling of the headlines he spawned around the world, headlines that really don't represent true U.S. commitment to help, but an administration still in denial:

US seeks quick exit from quake relief
- Daily Times, Pakistan

Tsunami aid: US wants to quit 'as soon as it can'
- Times of India, India

US Defense Official Vows Quick Exit From Tsunami Relief Work
- Voice of America

US military seeking quick exit from tsunami relief: Wolfowitz
- Turkish Press, Turkey

US military seeks quick exit from tsunami relief
- Japan Today, Japan

Pity Wolfowitz, and his bosses, not ready for the post-tsunami world.

Pre-Tsunami vs Post-Tsunami

Pre-Tsunami vs Post-Tsunami - CommonSenseDesk
As is often the case, Tom Watson is ahead of many of us. He links us to a new blog that appears to be an interesting addition to the broader discussion and looks at the world through a somewhat different lens.

It will be fun to watch this one develop.
And it's kind of "fun" developing it! And if anyone wants to help, the more the merrier. Just send me an e-mail.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Disasters need new approach - World Bank rep

Disasters need new approach - Xian Zhu
NEXT week, world experts in disaster management will gather at the site of Japan's worst recent catastrophe, the Kobe earthquake, which killed 6400 people in 1995. The Boxing Day tsunami and its tragic impacts give the World Conference on Disaster Reduction more immediate significance...

At Kobe, Pacific Island delegates will help deliver a message that a post-tsunami world needs to hear. Natural hazards such as cyclones or tsunamis cannot be stopped -- but the risk of a hazard becoming a human catastrophe has to be managed a lot better....

It is becoming clear that countries that take hazard risk management seriously do much better in terms of human survival and protection of land and property. And they should be rewarded with greater assistance....

Most importantly, there needs to be political will at the highest levels to plan for these ever-present risks. The next cyclone, tsunami, or earthquake may not happen tomorrow. But it will happen. How it is managed is a collective responsibility.

Xian Zhu is country director for the World Bank in the Pacific Islands, PNG and Timor-Leste.
I wonder if that's the official World Bank line? And who is he referring to when he talks about "collective responsibility"?

a tech monk speaks

a tech monk speaks
The post-tsunami world

i stumbled upon this blog today. i like the idea of beginning to think in terms of 'post-tsunami,' even though for most folks in north america it is/has been/was so far removed from experience and any type of reality. at least when i am honest with myself that is true for me. i watch the television video with awe and wonder. still, is there a possibility that we could begin to at least think about the world as a more inter-connected place than our usual medias and the current administration want us to believe? have a look-see.

Climate change, energy, oil and gold price Relationship

Pincas Jawetz on climate change, energy, Oil and Gold Price Relationship; O' CANADA; more
Mr. Jan Egeland is the embattled, but rather successful and well-meaning, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Humanitarian Relief Coordination - OCHA, the second largest office at the U.N. He is the emergency Relief Coordinator in the post-Tsunami world activities....

Mr. Egeland advocates three points:

- to capitalize on increased awareness to get serious about disaster prevention and risk reduction.

- to create a Tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean. He said that this would cost $30 million - just think how this pales in comparison with the present losses.

- the upcoming World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan, to be chaired by Mr. Egeland.

Post-tsunami world comics by Cobb

Post-Tsunami World - Solidarity Declaration



The tsunami catastrophe in Southern Asia touched the entire human community at a level and in a way never before experienced. The community’s first response was the provision of emergency relief that was likewise of historically unprecedented magnitude, promptness, and spread. This is a sign of great hope for our common future. In the long term, however, something more is required: a worldwide dialogue must begin on concrete steps that could lead beyond the present unsustainable condition of the world toward a more stable, peaceful, and sustainable civilization. The tsunami catastrophe, with its enormous human cost, must wake us up and impel us to learn. This opportunity is historic and not to be missed....

We need to launch a process of worldwide discussion and dialogue on practicable ways to pull ourselves up to the level to which our technologies of production and communication have already precipitated us: the level of the biosphere as a whole, where all people now live in interaction and interdependence and must learn to live with mutual respect and solidarity. We invite all thinking people and humanistically oriented organizations to join the call for a global dialogue on ways and means to create an inclusive and peaceful Sustainable Civilization...

The Club of Budapest pledges to provide a platform for a worldwide dialogue, receiving feasible and creative ideas and proposals and transmitting them to the pertinent groups and organizations.
I've never heard of "The Club of Budapest" but it sounds like they're on the right path.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Wave of support for Tsunami victims show business community cares

Brampton Business Times - Rick Drennan
Companies shouldn't make charitable donations as part of a risk-management strategy. Business isn't in the business of selling widgets, they are selling credibility. '

Ethics - in this case, giving - is a very practical equation.

The companies that succeed at all levels in this world are those that don't ride the wave of giving after a disaster strikes, like the outpouring in our post-tsunami world.
Drennan makes some interesting points. But I'm not sure that having "business" and "cares" in the same sentence without "bottom line" is proper grammar.

Pre-Tsunami Thinking

Pre-Tsunami Thinking - Tom Watson
The Bush Administration, of course, continues with its internentionist war of choice in the former Iraq - but that kind of thinking is soooo pre-tsunami. The world has changed forever. It's smaller. 'Over there' feels closer to over here. And Americans are speaking - individually, one by one - as globalists, as citizens of the planet. Remember when this lyric seemed actually current - 'We'll put a boot up your ass, it's the American way'? Well, that's pre-tsunami. The search for WMD? Pre-tsunami. Calling for abolishing the U.N.? Pre-tsunami. Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz? Pre-tsunami. Powell? Quite possibly a post-tsunami realization....

In any case, it feels cool when your post is the very first cited in a new weblog, as mine was this week. A Canadian blogger has launched The Post-Tsunami World, and it's a cool idea. So far, it's looking like a terrific addition to the discourse. Here's the intro:
Since your piece was the first reference I found to the "post-tsunami world" on the web when I searched after writing my post, you get honourable first mention! Thanks for the encouragement.

When aid's no help

When aid's no help - Wayne Roberts - NOW Magazine
Western response to the tsunami catastrophe - the magnificent generosity of everyday folks, the widespread sense that we are all creatures of the same planet and need to care for one another - has left me both heart-warmed and mind-saddened....

...people in the colonized South don't need aid. They need rights and fair trade and freedom from the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"Green reconstruction" in a post-tsunami world

"Green reconstruction" vital for safety in post-tsunami world: WWF
WWF has called for long-term green reconstruction efforts of the tsunami-hit areas while seeking the efforts to capitalise on natural defence mechanisms, appropriate coastal zone planning, rehabilitation of habitats, and restoration of sustainable livelihoods.

Focus on reconstruction

Focus on reconstruction - Online edition of Daily News
With the relief effort for tsunami victims under way, the focus has now shifted to reconstruction. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has declared reconstruction a priority and several high-powered committees have been appointed to expedite the process....

According to industry insiders, over 22,000 million cubic metres of sand would be needed for immediate construction work, not counting any mega projects that may be drawn up in the long term.

This would be an uphill task, given the limitations on river sand mining. The industry will have to explore the possibility of offshore sand mining, but environmental concerns in a post-tsunami world may bar that option.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Other Tsunami

John Pilger | The Other Tsunami
The west's crusaders, the United States and Britain, are giving less to help the tsunami victims than the cost of a Stealth bomber or a week's bloody occupation of Iraq....

The current outpouring of help for the tsunami victims among ordinary people in the west is a spectacular reclaiming of the politics of community, morality and internationalism denied them by governments and corporate propaganda. Listening to tourists returning from stricken countries, consumed with gratitude for the gracious, expansive way some of the poorest of the poor gave them shelter and cared for them, one hears the antithesis of "policies" that care only for the avaricious.

Compassionate response to tsunami should flow to African crises

Compassionate response to tsunami should flow to crises in Africa - Leah Casselman, President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union - OPSEU
The world’s response to the tsunami disaster shows the compassion of ordinary folks the world over.

It seems to take natural disasters that grab the headlines and saturate radio and television to provoke our humanitarianism for the less well-off areas of the world. So far, billions have been donated to the tsunami aid efforts.

I commend the thousands of OPSEU members who contributed to the various organizations engaged in tsunami relief efforts. OPSEU also donated $10,000 to the Canadian Red Cross in aid of the victims.

Here’s wishing this same humanitarian attention could be sustained to the ongoing humanitarian struggles in Africa and in other areas of the world that are taking an even greater human toll....

The west gives with one hand and takes away with the other
In this post-Tsunami world, we’ve seen some extraordinary things – billions of dollars donated to devastated communities, an enormous relief operation, and even a galvanising of international political will (indeed, the George Bushes and Bill Clinton in the same room appealing to Americans to join the world’s response). The most extraordinary thing, though, was not the genuine shock, grief, and generosity of the global community, but a selective amnesia towards our own role, which has descended on the West like a fog.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

God Wants You To Die In Childbirth

God Wants You To Die In Childbirth
Obviously, there are a lot of reasons why providing access to birth control and abortion are especially important in tsunami-affected regions. Just off the top of my head: raising a child in the post-tsunami world is likely a difficult and dangerous proposition for many parents (and for the children); access to reproductive services has been disrupted, leading I suspect to additional unwanted pregnancies; that problem is likely compounded by what I have read is an increase in rape following the disruption; a pregnant woman who lost her husband, home, job, family, or all of the above might decide that she needed to have an abortion; a woman whose health was affected by the tsunami might need an abortion for her own health; and probably a lot of other reasons....

Christian Response in the Post-Tsunami World

Friday, January 07, 2005

Jewish tradition and the tsunami

Jewish tradition and the tsunami
We no longer live merely in a post-9/11 world, in which the good people make war against the evil people. We now live in a post-tsunami world in which all humanity must unite against common threats and support common interests.

Giving in the post-tsunami world

Giving in the post-tsunami world - Polunatic

A lot of good arguments can be made about why issues around aid - disaster and development - are crucial issues for progressives to make noise about. International solidarity is among them. For many of us in North America, international solidarity has fallen off the radar scope.

Yes, there are plenty of groups - some large, most small – some mainstream, some on the left - already active around issues of development, disaster relief and human rights. They slog away at the most daunting and unglamorous challenges and should be acknowledged for working on the daily tsunamis known as underdevelopment, poverty and repression.

But what's missing, even from much of the discussion around "globalization", is an understanding of how wealth actually flows from the poor countries to the rich. This happens in a myriad of ways. Debt repayments. Cheap labour. Resource extraction. Trade imbalances. IMF/World Bank austerity "reforms".

Providing relief and aid should not be simply reduced to generosity and charity. It's also an acknowledgement that our higher living standards come, to some extent, on the backs of the "developing" world.

The outpouring of support from millions of individuals around the world is a sign of compassion and solidarity at its most profound level. It is that same humanity which expects and demands that our governments, with their vast resources, make generous contributions to both relief and ongoing development aid.

That is a good thing even if it is seen mainly as charity and not as solidarity (for now). One role for progressives, is to make the links between third world exploitation and first world wealth. Clearly, not everyone in the "west" benefits to the same extent from this exploitation. Poverty is also a problem within Canada, the US and parts of Europe. One would be hard-pressed to argue that First Nations communities gain much of anything from exploitation in Sri Lanka. But there is a general link between living standards here and abroad. Think of those cheap Walmart commodities for starters.

We should be most vigilant about not letting those with anything warmer than ice cubes in their hearts to hijack that spirit of generosity in order to excuse governments from their responsibilities. That rates along with scabbing as about the lowest form of civilized behaviour.

So then, how do we quantify government “generosity”? What gauges can we use? What is measurable? Let’s start with criteria like the ability to pay, the "west's" record on providing aid and the depth of the needs.

Here it’s important to distinguish (at least while there’s not enough money in the pot) between ongoing development aid and disaster relief. Let’s start with the former because it speaks to our countries’ records in assisting people with the same kinds of problems (food, water, shelter, infrastructure, etc) but outside the glare of the headlights of a natural disaster.

When looking for a “number”, it seems that the easiest one to use right now is the UN's recommended contribution of 0.7% of gross domestic product (annually) for development aid.

Canada, along with most of the richest countries in the world, has not come close to that figure. This is no time to pat ourselves on the back.

Let’s have another look at this Official Development Assistance (ODA) chart which shows that Canada only contributed 0.26% of GDP in 2003. Only the Scandinavian countries met their 0.7% obligations. The US is at the bottom of the heap with 0.14% even as its total dollar contribution is highest. Even the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) says it's not enough.

So let's start by lobbying and pressuring our governments to meet their (our) UN commitments? For Canada, that would come to about $700 million (adjusted annually for growth) according to Statistics Canada which puts our GDP around a trillion dollars. Here's a list of Canadian MPs and US Congressmen. Give yours a call.

Given that there’s not enough money for international development, there’s certainly no significant global savings account for disaster relief. In this case, I’ll pick a number out of the air and say that Canada should contribute at least 10% of last year's $9 billion budget surplus for relief and redevelopment aid. This speaks to our ability to pay and the urgent needs.

Since Canada is one of the few countries to run a budget surplus last year (and this?), activists in other countries will have to find a different formula to gauge generosity.

For those of you who might be thinking, "that's a lot of money, where are we going to find it?”, all I can say is, you're living in the pre-tsunami world.

Related Posts from Polunatic:
The Post-Tsunmai World
Canada should give 10% of surplus for tsunami relief
Tsunami Terror
Tsunami Sixth Sense Saves Wildlife

Sowing the seeds of peace

Sowing the Seeds of Peace - Amidst the Tsunami Tragedy - Carol Norris
For those who want peace in our world, disrupting this cycle (of violence - ed) is more important than a protest or a rally ever could be, as vital as they are and will continue to be. Right now, as events unfold in the post-tsunami world when lives and hearts and psyches are raw is when seeds, positive or negative, start to take root. And so we find ourselves in a critical window of time when our actions are most important and will have the greatest long-term effect.

We in the peace movement must be willing to put our energies into pro-active actions, not only reactive ones. In addition to our planned actions for next week or next month, we must let ourselves fathom cause and effect in concrete, as-it-is-happening terms and take preventative, consequential action.

Post tsunami world not just about tsunamis

A Logical Voice: The post tsunami world
Now, the people of the world must continue to call for social justice, and compassion. In Africa, tragedy, and human suffering is happening every day, although those affected are not on our television screens every day, that does not mean they do not exist.

The world has an opportunity to help those desparately in need, not by dropping bombs, and killing hundreds of thousands of innocents unnecessarily, but by pledging to do something for those less fortunate, those suffering real tragedies every day.

Social justice, compassion in the post-tsunami world

Discussion forum at War Without End
After the terrible events of the 11th September 2001, the Bush regime cried out for blood, even though the attacks that day, and the deaths which followed were preventable, as the head of the committee responsible for investigating those events has said.

But the tragedy which struck Indian Ocean nations on the 26th December 2004 was not preventable, no one could have imagined the scale of human suffering, of devastation, of the millions of people displaced, without food, water or shelter. There are reports that the death toll is increasing now over the 150,000 mark, and the people of the world responded instantly to the scale of the tragedy, even though their governments did not.

Following those dreadful events of the 26/12/04, the world cried out for compassion, and social justice. Of course you can't blame humans for a natural disaster such as this.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Jakarta Post - Tsunami Declaration

Tsunami Declaration - ASEAN
The special ASEAN leaders' meeting held in Jakarta on Thursday issued a declaration on action to strengthen emergency relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and prevention on the aftermath of eathquake and tsunami disaster.
But do they really mean it?

We live in a post Tsunami world...

Interesting websites I visit: we live in a post Tsunami world
A post-tsunami world is a world where people count first and the environment too benefits.People act keeping the environment in mind.The oil rich countries act to make oil more affordable to the poorer nations so that they actually stop exploiting their own country's natural resources.This bold move by oil exporting countries will give some hope the world's most poor and will solve many problems!
This is a variation of the piece I originally penned on December 31st. Although there's no credit or acknowledgement, I'll assume that no plagiarism was intended. Polunatic

Monday, January 03, 2005

A Changing World

A Changing World - Paragon World
In the same way that the American media and government talks about the 'Post-9/11 world', the world community needs to start imagining a post-tsunami world. There are and will continue to be other world changing moments beyond 9/11. Those moments will serve as catalysts to integrate 9/11 into a broader global dialog. Sadly, one of those moments has arrived.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Buddhist Reflections in the Muddy Sea of a Post-Tsunami World

Buddhist Reflections in the Muddy Sea of a Post-Tsunami World

There are specific lessons from Buddhism that can be reflected upon in the light of recent events. Some of these things may seem hard and cold yet when based in compassion their understandng leads to enhanced living.

  • Human life is precious and vulnerable
  • Rich and poor are subject to the same vagueries and certainties in life
  • Life and the material accoutrements thereto are subject to dissolution at any moment
  • Our attachments to people and places and things mean we will certainly suffer their loss at some time
  • Everything is subject to change
  • Changes in one thing lead to changes in others - causation or karma
  • There is no Creator God loving and caring for you
  • No Religion, Rites or Ritual will save you....

Friday, December 31, 2004

Welcome to the post-tsunami world

The Post-Tsunami World - Polunatic
A large part of our planet is hurting badly today and are having a very unhappy new year. My comments are made with the greatest respect to those directly impacted by these disasters.

Here's an idea. We need to start talking about a post-tsunami world. This is an opportunity to present a positive global vision which can challenge bushco's "post-9/11 world". Maybe this can change the discourse as they say. A paradigm shift?

A post-tsunami world where people count first. A world of co-operation and development. A world that gives what's needed to meet basic human needs in whatever kind of disasters people face. A world that can and will respond while transcending religious, racial and other differences. A world that builds infrastructure, not bombs it. A world where we try and solve big problems, like hunger. A world we catch a glimpse of when we see the outpouring of support from every corner of the planet. A post-tsunami world we can work toward.

First rallying cry for the post-tsunami world? - The richest countries have got to pay their fair share. (Let's start with the UN recommended share of 0.7% of GDP for "foreign aid".) This could be a global campaign. Perhaps it already is? Let's start talking about it.

2005 marks the start of the post-tsunami world. I hope that it's better than 2004. Sometimes it feels like things can't get worse. They can. The earthquake and tsumami have brought to the west, a picture of the dire poverty faced by so many on our planet; poverty that most of us in North America never see or talk about. But it's also showing how amazing things can be accomplished when lots of people work together focussed on common goals.

Not unlike 9/11, an international outpouring of goodwill flows from the hearts of just about everyone. People around the world are reacting and pitching in in so many ways. While borne of tragedy, that goodwill is a very positive and hopeful sign. Maybe the most important sign in quite some time? How can this goodwill translate politically in each of our countries in ways that seriously challenge the priorities of the "post-9/11 world"?

The post-tsunami world could be the needed counterbalance to the echo chamber which glorifies killing and destruction.

While the big picture is looking pretty grim at the beginning of the post-tsunami world, with no serious alternatives on the horizen, life goes on and so do the day to day issues which need to be addressed wherever we live. The public good, the safety net, the vote, reforms, etc. Call it what you will. All the things we volunteer our time to defend and sometimes even expand. All the things that make us "civilized".

And so, for you activists out there, a special happy new year greeting - may your energy in 2005 be equal or greater to what it was in 2004. Thanks for all your hard work whatever it was you've been doing.

We can fill in the blanks as we go along as to what we mean by a "post-tsunami world" and even decide to call it something else. But it's worth talking about. Test it out on a some people you know. I did. It had a positive resonance.

All we gotta say when we hear "post-9/11 world" is something like "excuse me, haven't you heard, it's now a post-tsunami world." Maybe one day we'll be able to say that bushco are living in the "pre-tsunami world".

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Our Post-Tsunami World

Our Post-Tsunami World - Tom Watson
We also give at every level of society; indeed, although the rich give the most, they generally do not give the largest percentage of their wealth - that distinction belongs to the lower middle class, which - in growing American philanthropic tradition - gives when it hurts. So it's indeed newsworthy when we talk about the American response to the tsunami in the actions of the common folk, who are pouring in millions in online donations to the Red Cross and other relief agencies....