December 29, 2004

It's All About The Cash

The devastating affects of the earthquake enduced TsnamiThere's something truly sickening about the condescending 'relief' efforts that rich, powerful Western nations mount whenever a natural disaster hits a poor part of the world. Contrast the billions spent on the fraudulent 'War on Terror' and Iraq invasion with the paltry, insulting, shameful amounts pledged to the people deeply affected by the Boxing Day Asian Earthquake. As many as 100,000 are thought to be dead and 5m made homeless. Disease and poverty could kill as many again. Although human suffering is not accurately measured in numbers of dead, it puts the scale of disaster into perspective if we think that more than fifty times as many are likely to be dead as perished on 9/11 and we know what response that brought. As Tim Ireland so rightly points out, the amount pledged by US in relief aid - around $35m - is about the same as is due to be spent on President Bush's inauguration. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if some of that aid isn't tied to weapons contracts or more 'liberal' trade agreements so odious is the current US administration. The UK are no better - Trade and Development Secretary Hilary Benn went on C4 News last night to argue that the £400k pledged by the UK government was sufficient and that it isn't really about the money. Yes, yes it is - it is about the money Hilary.