[Marxism] Re: Tsunami

Suresh borhyaenid at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 28 14:15:10 MST 2004


I still maintain that even taking into account the
extraordinary scale of this earthquake, that it would
have resulted in casualties of perhaps as low as
one-hundredth of the current figure had it struck in
proximity to the U.S. West coast, for example. You may
have heard in reports references to the last most
powerful tremor, some forty years ago. That
earthquake, off of Alaska in 1964, is estimated to
have been about 9.2 on the Richter scale. Also, the
epicenter was only 55 km from Anchorage, the largest
city in the state, and was located just 14 miles
beneath the earth. Without any tsunami warning system
to speak of - and one was instituted immediately after
the disaster - 115 people were killed in the state.
Granted, we're dealing with low population densities,
but with a warning system in place, and with the
sturdy homes typical of the United States, it stands
to reason even fewer deaths would have resulted from a
repeat of that disaster today.

Moreover, the World Health Organization has warned
that death from disease could double the total
fatalities resulting from the tsunamis in South Asia.
There's simply no comparison between Sri Lanka, a
Third World nation in which the government in Colombo
does not even exercise jurisdiction over the entirety
of the island, and the United States, the hegemon of
the world. There are still tribes in the Andaman
Islands, for example, which must have borne the full
brunt of the tsunami, which have virtually no contact
with the "outside world". 

We should ask ourselves why earthquakes in Iran,
mudslides in Haiti, and tsunamis in the Indian Ocean
result in demographic disasters whereas the worst
earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and tidal waves in
the industrialized world leave at most hundreds and
usually dozens dead. This isn't just shrill propaganda
about the decadence of the imperial metropolis, it's
the reality staring us straight in the face. Again, it
can be predicted with near certainty, that whatever
the severity of global climate change, it will be
those countries which contributed least to the CO2
input responsible for the enhanced greenhouse effect,
from the Inuit of the Sub-Arctic to South Pacific
Islanders and Bangladeshis living near sea-level, that
will suffer the most from this unprecedented global
experiment. 


		
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