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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".


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