Advantages The disasters always happen somewhere else.
Disadvantages Who would live on a fault line?
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After Haiti came Chile, the fifth biggest ever humanly recorded quake on earth at a magnitude 8.8, lifting the west coast of Chile up and dropping it back down again with an almighty 'thump', actually knocking the Earth of its axis by one foot! It was a mind boggling two hundred times bigger than the Haiti quake, the second biggest ever on this mortal coil that we know of was on the 22 May 1960, a 9.5 and also in southern Chile, the ensuing tsunami killing at least 1,700 people, this region were God created the worlds most deadly malfunction. 18 months later Japan registered an incredible sea quake of 9.0 to take second place. Who needs to worry about the perils of man made global warming with these things around!!The people of the city of Concepcion in Chile and most of Japans North East coast were mostly dignified after the disasters, far more modern cities than Port au Prince. But it didn't take long for some to twig that lawlessness means looting and that means freebies, food and drink not as popular as widescreen TVs and lawnmowers in downtown Conception, reminiscent of New Orleans, no cops around so you steel the things you really want in life and can sell on rather than what you need right now in a disaster zone. The big loser in Chile wasn't the thousands of retailers ripped off but President Michelle Bachelet, she scoring an 84 percent popularity rating before and after the quake, even amid criticism of a slow government reaction to the disaster, having to resign by constitution on that 84% approval rating though. I don't envy the guy coming in.
But it was Haiti that caught the world's sympathy, Haitians clearly not able to look after themselves at the best of times, never mind after such a devastatingly powerful quake. Their quake was equal to the San Francisco tremor of 1989. But whereas the US city was built to withstand a 7.0 plus quake Haiti wasn't, the shock way too close to the surface and near a heavily populated third world city to be anything other than catastrophic. The delirious lady screaming it was the 'end of the world' as she looked down on her city from the hills as the ground shook for two minutes and the dust enveloped Port au Prince was truly harrowing. What would we do if London or Manchester got wiped out? The cash machines wouldn't work for a start.Haiti was the first truly self governed black nation, created by slaves some 200 years ago, but like Liberia (a similar set up, Liberia meaning 'freedom'), hasn't improved much since. It's a tough question to ask but if South Africa had never had white influence and structure would it to be a Haiti now? The Haiti quake, like the New Orleans hurricane, exposed the have's and the have nots. But the world reacted and $100 million dollars was pledged by the rest of the world, some countries more generous than others. Hugo Chavez, the self styled Robin Hood of Latin America, managed just one aid flight and a rickety naval boat. The Russians didn't bother at all.
But Obama had to be quick off the mark in Haiti and effectively invaded the island to get control of the situation. He didn't want those images of New Orleans to upset black American voters but he also didn't want mass immigration from Haiti to upset the white voters. As we saw with this week's health vote in America there's still a big racial divide there when money needs to be spent on improving black people’s lives. Which ever way you look at it though he locked down that island and wouldn't let anyone in or out unless they had papers. The American missionaries that came in from neighboring Dominica and effectively purchased a bus full of children to drag them away from an island dominated by voodoo beliefs to force feed them Jesus in Wisconsin humiliated what was left of the islands ruling black class.In famine hit Ethiopia when Sir Bob Geldof launched his impressive appeal to raise millions for that arid country back in the 1980s we now learn that up to half the aid and cash was stolen or diverted for political reasons with a big chunk of it spent on guns by various militias - and the grain used to feed them! Bob actually prolonged the famine problem as the militias forced the people into the famine zones up north with the guns, and this is why governments like to control international aid. If they are going to buy guns and munitions with our money then at least let them buy our guns with our money Bob! Geldof is rather slighted by this revelation and in serious denial, naivety something his ego doesn't do. It's the same in Somalia for the recent and ongoing genocide, pretty much everyone stealing food and aid before it reaches the countries poorest, even African UN workers selling it to locals in broad daylight. The local markets are piled up with tons of US Aid grain and maize, the evidence undisputable.
Sometime disasters are very slow and un-noticed, Detroit a great example of. There was a brilliant documentary on last week that looked at the motor cities (hence the word 'Motown') decline over the years from the thriving industrial heart of America it was mid last century to the bombsite it is now.Americans love their cars and even took one too space to prove it and not only did Detroit and the surrounding Michigan makes most of America's cars it also created well paid jobs for Americas unskilled. In Detroit in the 1930s Henry Ford paid double for car workers than any other car firm on the clever premise that the people would save up their money to spend on his cars, which they did, making America mobile and the country it is today. But the car companies got greedy and like their drivers, the cars got too big and uneconomic on that greed, the demand for small cars coming from Japan and Europe as the century pressed on like those fat Americans fee on the accelerator pedal, the cities economy collapsing once the production lines stopped.
The white folks fled to the outskirts and today the city is one of very few modern ones on the planet that has seen their population actually fall in the last 40 years, the narrator of the documentary describing it as looking like it suffered a 'super slow nuclear blast'. One third of its houses and business are empty with 70 fires a week, every week, raging, the fire services one of the few new employers. There are just 100,000 white Americans left in the 900,000 city population with a 47% illiterately rate in that 900,000. But with a school closing every other week those statistics won't change any day soon. Drugs and crime have destroyed Detroit and some say the same waiting for many other American cities if China and to some extent India keep doing what they are doing. The Detroit unemployment rate is quoted as between 25 and 50%! If the car factories close Snake Pliskin (Escape from New York) wouldn't even go there!But there is money to be made from disasters and the big US corporations coined it in from Iraq and New Orleans, what's now known as 'disaster capitalism'. The sinister theory behind some of this is look, what if you could tell the future by causing the atrocities; many suspecting dark forces were behind 911 so America could do what they did soon after in Iraq and Afghanistan. Could Bush have done that without 911 and the WMD lies? Bet you didn't know US forces have switched their efforts in Afghanistan away from the 'big push' but to help secure a clear passage for a lucrative oil pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and so the west, bypassing Russia and Iran.
American security companies and big multinationals made billions in Iraq and still are, and by not acting quickly enough on New Orleans and Iraq they made the problem worse and so a chance to make yet more money. Ask yourself why America didn't plan for post invasion in Iraq? The Pentagons budget is a TRILLION dollars a year yet no one thought to look at the possibility the country would tribally fragment? Think of the money to be made in Haiti for the Halliburton's and Bechtel's of the world.http://gulfnews.combusinessoigasindiajoinspakista ninturkmenistangasdeal1.99340
When American citizens did get there chance to help after two of their greatest US disasters of modern times, that of New Orleans and on 911, they certainly wanted to have their cake and eat it. Whereas-and like Detroit-it was mostly poor blacks that were displaced in New Orleans and the whites seemingly slow out of the traps to help, the same white structures were super fast to act in NY when the towers came crashing down on that extraordinary day. But in an oh so typical litigious America way where 1 in every 97 people are lawyers of some sort there the rescue workers (cops etc) and volunteers in Manhattan sued the city for inhaling that dust that they volunteered to breathe in to get the kudos of hero status. Last week a US judge rejected a proposed $657m compensation payout for a group of 10,000 people who worked at New York's Ground Zero following the terror attacks saying it was 'no where near enough'. It would not surprise me if a big chunk of these guys only worked Ground Zero in pursuit of a later claim. They say they have suffered health problems working in the dust and debris and want lots of cash. Only in America! I don't think the Haiti aid workers will be banging in claim any day soon.We then get to the biggest disaster of all, man made global warming. If the words 'coming catastrophe' have been inserted to scare us all and make us react then fair enough. The evidence is strong for it, which the science seems to support. But I personally think this is not about our kid's lives being affected by higher sea level or warmer temperatures but the collapse of future oil supplies if we don't chop back now, further oil and natural wars like Iraq and Afghanistan sure to spread. China's oil consumption shot up by A MIND-BOGGLING 28% in just one year (Jan 2008-2009), a truly terrifying statistic. I think this global warming hype is really addressing that energy security and putting in systems to raise the tax elsewhere when oil runs down. But when we collectively talk about cutting back emissions to save lives I just don't believe that.
Everyday thousands of people die needlessly in the third world through tradition or disease. We have the drugs and logistics and education in the west to save them but we do nothing. In fact if we are really cynical the west doesn't really care if they die or not as it helps to cut oil consumption, if we are honest. The big meet in Denmark over global warming last year was really about allowing the west to continue to pollute and so grow and capping the more polluting young economies so they cant grow and compete.
An expression of a disaster going on right now that has far more affect on the third world than global warming ever will is in rural India. Here there's wide spread infanticide and abortion of young girls at birth and in their first year of life because they don't produce a lucrative dowry for their parents, a boy the goal. In some areas the father of the bride is expected to hand over pretty much all his wealth to the groom's family at an arranged wedding, the boys that valuable. It would not surprise me if the kidnapping of the little boy in Pakistan was some how related to that culture. The World Health Authority say there are 35 million less girls than there should be in India right now because of these practices. 40% of parents that have two girls' try for another baby whereas that percentage drops to 10% when they already have two boys, yet the absurdity is that India needs women, of course, to have the kids in the first place, presumably why there's an exploding population in India.
I suppose to sum up I would say the disasters are happening right now and we are sticking our head in the sand for all the wrong reasons. A government that votes to save the fox from the hounds but voted against saving Iraqi children from our munitions and bombs we rained in, uranium tipped shells looking like they are causing some serious child deformities in central Iraq now, is still a government of the people if they are accruing the oil we need through those wars. We are hypocrites when we say we want to collectively stem global warming because we know the reasons are purely selfish about protesting our own interests, and the action of giving a fiver for the next tsunami or earthquake lifts that middle-class guilt in the west for our outrageous lifestyles. Do you really need that four wheel drive to pick the kids up mom from the school a mile away? Did you not move to get this close to the 'good school' in the first place? For some 13-year-old girls in India, at this very moment, are now contemplating whether they should set fire to themselves to avoid marrying a 33-year-old man for that dowry. Twenty children a day in Africa are dying on the job as they dig out by hand the metals needed for your flashy new cell phone you change every three years, but they couldn't ever afford to buy with their wages. We, the west, are the natural disaster, as far as the planet resources go.
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