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(en) Workers Solidarity #84 - War and Peace - Let Them Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 14 Mar 2005 09:25:18 +0100 (CET)


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The most catastrophic earthquake in recent memory occurred in the
Indian Ocean on St. Stephen's day 2004. The resulting tsunami caused
the deaths of at least 250,000 people across many countries in the
region and has left millions more without homes, food, water or
livelihoods. Whole communities now have to rebuild lives whilst
containing the devastating grief and legacy of all that has been lost.
In Ireland, as in much of the West, the public response was immediate
and colossal. Reasons for this include the fact that the regions most
affected are popular destinations we've at least heard of, and that the
disaster happened over the Christmas holidays giving us plenty of time
to absorb media images as we ate and drank ourselves silly. But
without doubt, the real motivation of ordinary people responding and
acting so unequivocally was that of empathy. Even though we couldn't
really comprehend the rising number of dead, or come to terms with
the medium and long term impacts, ordinary working class people
right across the globe acted out of instinct and solidarity with our
fellow man, giving freely of our money and time.

This is in complete contrast to the responses of western governments
and their corporate masters. The derisory amounts offered by each and
every government have been raised continually by embarrassed
ministers, stung by public criticism of their miserliness with our
money. Bertie has now raised the E1 million to E20 million.
Unfortunately previous experience shows that even when little help is
offered, even less is received. For example only 5% of aid promised to
Iran after recent earthquake there was actually given. Oxfam have
already accused this government of diverting half of the 20 million
from existing aid funds!!

The dysfunctional mindset of our political and business leaders enable
them to talk up sums offered to rescue, repair and rebuild human lives,
whist spending and investing our money on the infrastructure of war
and exploitation. Tony Blair revised the UK's pledge from £15
million to £50 million but has spent £6000 million on the illegal
occupation of Iraq. Mr Bush has offered $150 million but this is
peanuts compared the cost of just one of his stealth bombers, which
cost $2000 million apiece.

What about the 'generosity' flaunted by big business to the applause of
some sections of the mass media? While of course accepting that
corporations have no legal imperative to give anything, it is noteworthy
to examine just how generous the big boys really are.

The Bank of Ireland offered E1.8 million when its profits last year were
_696 million. The AIB has pledged E3 million, a lot of money to you
and me no doubt, but it makes E4 million in profit every single day.
These are just two examples of which there are many more.

The message is simple. Powerful and rich men may spend lots of time
talking about democracy and liberation but they don't believe in
equality. That is why they don't bother counting dead Iraqis. That is
why over a million human beings die every month of hunger and
preventable diseases across the globe in countries crippled by debt.

It is clear that our 'leaders' and the corporate elite who make their
wealth off us do not see all human beings as equally valuable. That is
why we have massive war machines, ever ready to bomb and kill for
'democracy', but not massive armies to fight hunger, disease, poverty
and squalor. This is the reality of the world we live in.

However, the response of ordinary people suggests that we, the great
majority of this planet's population, do believe in equality and
solidarity, and that we are willing to act on our empathetic instincts.
Mother Nature may be beyond our control but the ability to create
global justice and to share wealth is not. Real change will come when
we, the people, make it impossible for our 'leaders' to ignore our
demands and we remove the structures of enforced inequality and
human misery that grind down so many fellow human beings.

=========================================
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html
We also provide PDF files of all our publications
for you to print out and distribute locally
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/pdf.html
This edition is No84 published in Jan 2005
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/ws/2005/index.html


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