Saturday, January 08, 2005

New Statesman Jan 10th 2005: 'The Other Tsunami'

John Pilger's 'The Other Tsunami' (if you have problems accessing this on the New Statesman site try John Pilger's own web-site) provides a powerful cover for this weeks New Statesman and the story itself is as passionate and powerful. Pilger compares the sums being given to help the Tsunami disaster victims with the various costs of war and arms: the £1 billion 'soft loan' (or 'gift' as Pilger puts it) to the Indonesian military to buy Hawk fighter-bombers. Pilger also makes the important point that military aid to the Indonesian state hasn't just gone into the long suppression of East Timor, but the much less widely known repression and mass killings in Aceh. And Pilger goes on with example after example before coming to his general point that there are 24,000 deaths every day from poverty, debt and division, 'the products of a supercult called neoliberalism', and contrasts this to the response of ordinary people to the disaster, linking it to the anti-war movement. Arundhati Roy has described this as "The most spectacular display of public morality the world has ever seen". Pilger calls this a 'human renewal' and finishes with,
'These forces are part of a movement against inequality and poverty and war that has arisen in the past six years and is more diverse, more enterprising, more internationalist and more tolerant of difference than anything in my lifetime. It is a movement unburdened by a western liberalism that believes it represents a superior form of life; the wisest know this is colonialism by another name. The wisest also know that just as the conquest of Iraq is unraveling, so a whole system of domination and impoverishment can unravel, too.'
Powerful stuff. Other articles in this New Statesman about the disaster are worth reading, but it'd be a mistake to miss this Pilger.

A book review deserves some attention as well - Patrick Hutt's Confronting an Ill Society: David Widgery, general practice, idealism and the chase for change (Radcliffe £19.95). The review doesn't mention the Widgery's membership of the SWP, but the Oz trial (first time I heard of him), Rock Against Racism and Anti-Nazi League all get mentioned, along with his commitment to doctoring. A surprise to be reminded of David Widgery like this, but welcome. Was he really only 45 when he died!

Other recent accounts of Widgery include a nice essay by Dave Renton, 'The Poetics of Propaganda' - available on his web-site and something similar in his recent book Dissident Marxism.

I won't inflict Anthony Giddens on Al Quaeda on you....


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