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Year 2005 No. 1, January 10, 2005 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Cuba Begins 2005 by Ratifying Revolutionary Principles

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

Cuba Begins 2005 by Ratifying Revolutionary Principles

One More January, One More Victory

Joint New Year Editorial (DPRK)

New Year in Iraq – Increasing Resistance

Thousands of Fallujans Demonstrate

The Other, Man-made Tsunami

The Victims of the Tsunami Pay the Price of War on Iraq

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Cuba Begins 2005 by Ratifying Revolutionary Principles

Havana, Jan 1 (Prensa Latina) – Cuba welcomed 2005 and the 46th anniversary of the revolutionary triumph by establishing a new tradition: a 21-gun salute which marked the dawn of a new year.

A communiqué read at 12 midnight by a network of radio and TV stations termed 2004 as a year of difficulties, efforts, fruitful achievements, a gigantic people’s work and promising news.

A year, it added, during which we firmly stood up to a tightening of the empire’s blockade and new aggressive plans, facing hurricanes and drought, financial shortages and very high fuel and food prices.

The document recalled that in spite of all this, the nation managed to make the gross domestic product grow by five per cent, increase exports, raise minimum wages and increase food intake.

Unemployment also dropped to less than two per cent and tourism efficiency increased, as well as nickel production and other sectors of the economy.

Before enemy manoeuvres to strangle us economically, said the communiqué, we dealt a counter blow that banished the dollar from circulation in the domestic market and strengthened control by the Central Bank and use of hard currency to destine them to fulfil the nation’s strategic interests.

The document affirmed that during 2004, Cuba carried out strategic manoeuvres Bastión 2004 by which millions of Cubans showed organisation level, unity, defence capacity and strategic validity of the War of all the People concept.

The empire could confirm that if they make the mistake of attacking Cuba, they will receive an overwhelming response that would lead the invader to defeat, assured the document.

The communiqué also recalled that after five years of having started the Battle of Ideas, this series of programs have had great impact on health, education, culture, information and human attention to the most vulnerable sectors of society.

It indicated that over those years, aspirations of justice and equal opportunities for all have become a reality, as part of the platform that led to victory that January 1, 1959.

The year that ended will be remembered by the Congress of the Young Communists Union, success of Cuban sports in Athens, intense cultural life, advances of Science and of biotechnology in particular and an enhancement of people’s creative capacity.

It highlights solid collaboration and trade relations with the People’s Republic of China and deepening friendship with other nations, especially with the historic documents signed with Venezuela.

These agreements, said the communiqué, solidly uphold the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) a real and exemplary Latin American integration scheme base don solidarity and cooperation.

The year 2005, named in Cuba as the Year of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, will entail big challenges but also of huge prospects to a more prosper and improved homeland, indicated the communiqué.

Achievements over these years, it adds, contribute a wealth of human solidarity, culture and awareness that allows to look forward with confidence in the future of the revolution which has become invincible because it planted ideas that have germinated.

The note assured that exactly as Marti would have wanted, we will once again stand firm and erect for the homeland and in the front line, as always will stand Fidel Castro, Commander of dignity and nobility.

In 2005, the document adds, Cuba will continue fighting for the idea of a united Latin America and for the liberation of the five Cubans prisoners in the United States, where they carried out anti-terrorist tasks by infiltrating the violent emigration groups.

Article Index

One More January, One More Victory

By Angel Rodriguez Alvarez, AIN Special News Service

Without a doubt, the events of January 1, 1959 marked a turning point in Cuban history. The date has become the before and after in the centuries-old struggles of the island, and 46 years later, it has reached a meaning that was not even dreamed of when it occurred.

This anniversary wraps up a year that was characterised not only by increasing US hostility, but also by a strengthening of the unity, resilience and the trust of the Cuban people in the historic leadership of the Revolution, represented by President Fidel Castro.

The resounding victory of Cuba at the United Nations with the 179-4 vote passage of its resolution against Washington's criminal blockade, and the increasing gestures of solidarity and friendship of the peoples of the world with the Cuban Revolution were important moments of 2004.

Another important reason for celebration at years end were the advances under "The Battle of Ideas," a struggle that encompasses the many social programs implemented by the Cuban Revolution over the last 5 years stressing comprehensive human development as a way to make Cuban society increasingly just, equal and humane.

The direct benefits for millions of Cubans are already tangible and have brought the island to higher standards of health care, education, and social security, making it a point of reference for the international community.

With each passing year, the Cuban people's awareness grows as to the ability of the socialist system to guarantee the most fundamental rights, in its effort to reach a spiritually full life and a decent standard of living for all its citizens.

Equal opportunities, social and economic equity, full employment and the right to a cultured and healthy life without humiliating discrimination due to race, sex or religion, are accomplishments Cuba can be proud of on National Liberation Day.

However, the road has not been easy. Each achievement has had its own additional merit, attained amidst all kinds of threats and provocations.

These included a media and psychological war, diplomatic isolation, and the cruellest of economic blockades, all part of a set of policies that the most powerful nation in history has implemented against this small island nation.

Forged under such circumstances, Cubans are well aware of the dangers stemming from the existence of a fascist administration in Washington, emboldened after its recent re-election.

Cubans are neither wasting their time or their direction. As the nation prepares to commemorate a new anniversary, its people are also aware of the need to be militarily fit and on alert, as the only wise way to preserve the conquests of the last 46 years and the right to continue on the same path.

If at any time the historical enemies of the Revolution harboured any doubt about Cuba's willingness in this regard, the celebration of the "Bastion 2004" Strategic Military Exercises should have dissipated this reservation.

Cubans have learned to obtain what they want, and know how to defend it at whatever cost. An excellent example are the Cuban Five, currently serving stiff sentences in US prisons, often in solitary cells, for the "crime" of fighting terrorism.

In Cuba, nobody expects things to be easy. The New Year is going to be a difficult one, but the islanders will face it with high spirits and the same character that led the fight of the country's forefathers dating back to 1868.

With these profound motivations, the island, under the guidance and leadership of Fidel Castro and the communist party, will continue working in 2005 on the 170 programs entailed in the Battles of Ideas, strengthening the country's defence capacity and demanding justice for the Cuban Five, Rene Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez.

Article Index

Joint New Year Editorial (DPRK)

Pyongyang, January 1 (KCNA) – The papers in Pyongyang on January 1 carried a joint editorial "Let the Whole Party and Army and All the People Unite as One in Mind and More Strikingly Demonstrate the Might of Songun!" released by Rodong Sinmun, Josoninmingun and Chongnyonjonwi on the occasion of the New Year Juche 94 (2005).

The editorial recalls that last year Juche 93 (2004) was a year of worthwhile struggle in which a revolutionary offensive was conducted on the three fronts – politics and ideology, anti-imperialism and military affairs and economy and science – to make a breakthrough toward fresh success in the efforts to build a great prosperous powerful nation.

Last year the army and people of the DPRK strikingly demonstrated their faith and will to unswervingly follow the road of the Juche-oriented revolution started by President Kim Il Sung, united close around the headquarters of the revolution, the editorial says, and goes on: The year has been recorded as a historic year in which our people reviewed with pride the days when they had staunchly struggled to defend the red flag under the guidance of the headquarters of the revolution, remembering with deep emotion the immortal revolutionary life of President Kim Il Sung, the eternal sun of Juche, and exploits performed by him.

Shining successes were made in socialist economic construction and cultural construction last year.

The army and people of the DPRK powerfully demonstrated the spirit of socialist Korea advancing with the might of Songun by resolutely foiling the US imperialists' vicious moves to stifle the DPRK.

These shining victories and successes made by our army and people last year are a shining fruition of leader Kim Jong Il's unquestioned leadership prestige and invincible political calibre.

Juche 94 (2005) is a worthwhile year, which will witness a great turn in the Korean revolution and in the efforts to accomplish the cause of building a great prosperous powerful nation.

This year we will mark the 60th anniversaries of the Workers' Party of Korea and national liberation in grand style with great pride and dignity as victors.

60 years ago President Kim Il Sung liberated the country and founded the WPK, a historic event that ushered in a new bright era for the country, the revolution and the nation.

It will be a political event of special mention for the Korean army and people to mark those anniversaries this year while waging a worthwhile struggle to glorify the new era of Juche-oriented revolution, demonstrating the national dignity with the might of Songun under the leadership of Kim Jong Il.

The past decade in the WPK's 60 year-long history is shining as an immortal decade as great victories have been won and miracles wrought despite the worst difficulties.

The two anniversaries will offer important occasions in glorifying for all ages the immortal revolutionary history of President Kim Il Sung, the founder of the WPK and father of the nation, and exploits performed by him and demonstrating to the world the fixed will of the army and people to accomplish the revolutionary cause of Juche under the WPK's Songun leadership.

The whole party and army and all the people should turn out as one and bring about a fresh revolutionary surge with the might of Songun to glorify the two anniversaries as the greatest festivals of victors in the history of the Party and the country. This is a general task facing the Korean people this year.

We should vigorously speed up the general onward march for the Songun revolution holding aloft the slogan "Let the Whole Party and Army and All the People Unite as One in Mind and More Strikingly Demonstrate the Might of Songun!" It is necessary to powerfully demonstrate the political and ideological might of our revolutionary ranks of the servicepersons and people united as one around the headquarters of the revolution.

This unity in mind serves as a bottom line of the Korean revolution and a treasured sword for winning sure victory as it is more powerful than a nuclear weapon. What makes the WPK feel most proud in its 60 year-long history is that it has achieved the unbreakable unity in one mind.

It is necessary to protect the headquarters of the revolution, the core of this unity, at the cost of one's life. We revolutionary soldiers should enshrine the unshakable resolution to share their destiny with Kim Jong Il to the last no matter how thorny our road may be and no matter what a stern tempest we should weather out and the revolutionary view on life that it is pleasure for us to feel joy or sorrow and undergo an ordeal when following him.

It is essential to more thoroughly establish a revolutionary discipline and order throughout the Party and the society whereby the people move as one under the WPK's unitary leadership.

We should protect the unity and cohesion based on the Songun idea of Juche as our own eyeballs.

It is also necessary to hold fast to the WPK's Songun revolutionary line and increase the country's military capacity in every way.

We should deeply grasp the revolutionary history of the President who achieved the cause of national liberation with arms under the uplifted banner of Songun, defended the country and the revolution and built an invincible powerful socialist country on the principle of attaching importance to the army and giving priority to military affairs and creditably carry forward the exploits he performed in the army building and tradition established by him in its course.

We should burnish as the eternal cornerstone of the Juche-oriented revolution, the most precious treasure of the nation, all the exploits, traditions and wealth provided by Kim Jong Il while making endless long journeys of Songun for the last difficult decade since he inspected the post under pine trees.

The People's Army is the mainstay and main force of the Songun revolution.

The entire army should more dynamically conduct the movement for winning the title of the O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment under the uplifted slogan "Let's Defend the Headquarters of the Revolution Headed by the Great Comrade Kim Jong Il at the Cost of Our Lives!" and become the first line death-defying corps and first line human bullets and bombs to protect the supreme commander. It is necessary to thoroughly establish the revolutionary command system and military discipline in the People's Army whereby all the servicepersons move as one by the order of the supreme commander so that it may powerfully demonstrate the invincible might of the strong revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu.

We should accelerate the process of revolutionising the people and equipping them with socialist patriotism as required by the Songun era with a view to steadily perfecting the noble trait of the revolutionary army.

The defence industry is the foundation of the nation's military and economic potentials. It is necessary to increase in every way the might of the defence industry for self-defence, which our people have built up in the spirit of fortitude by beginning it from scratch. It is imperative to supply everything necessary for the defence industry on a preferential basis, pursuant to the Party's line of economic construction in the Songun era.

It is necessary to give fuller play to the fine trait of attaching importance to military affairs and sincerely assisting the People's Army now prevalent in our society and everybody should actively learn from the People's Army's fighting spirit, work style and traits.

We should effect a great revolutionary surge on all fronts of socialist construction to bring about a decisive turn in economic construction and in the efforts to improve the standard of people's living this year, which marks the 60th anniversaries of the WPK and the liberation of the country. This year the army and the people will witness with great joy and excitement events in which they will feel the worth of the hard struggle they have waged despite the grim ordeals and difficulties under the leadership of the Party, looking toward the hopeful morrow.

We should effect an unprecedented boost in production, just as we did in the period of the great Chollima upswing in the 1950s, on the basis of the solid foundation for building a great prosperous powerful nation which has been laid under the banner of Songun so as to mark the significant holidays this year in grand style and make the whole country hum with activities.

This is the intention and determination of the Party.

Agriculture is the main front of socialist economic construction this year.

It is necessary for the agricultural field to continue implementing the policy of bringing about a signal turn in seed improvement, the policy of cultivating two crops a year, the policy of bringing about a signal turn in potato farming, the policy of successfully growing bean and other Party policies of making the agricultural revolution, the validity of which has been proved in practice. To this end, it is required to widely sow high-yield varieties, supply a sufficient quantity of fertilisers and agricultural chemicals to the countryside, actively introduce modern farming methods and raise the rate of mechanisation of farm work.

The whole Party and country and all the people should give sincere manpower and material assistance to the countryside.

The editorial underscores the need for the fields of electricity, coal production, metal industry and the railway transport to take the lead in effecting a great surge in high spirit. It calls on the field of light industry to rebuild and modernise its factories and mass-produce a variety of good quality consumer goods. The editorial underlines the need to spruce up the city of Pyongyang and build many more modern dwelling houses in the urban and rural areas.

The editorial calls for establishing the unique Korean-style economic management system and method and giving full play to their vitality and dynamically pushing ahead with the technological reconstruction of the national economy based on modern science and technology.

Referring to the tasks to be fulfilled to enhance the function and role of the Cabinet as an organiser and performer of the economic work, bring the revolutionary culture created by soldiers in the Songun era into full bloom and channel great efforts into education, the editorial underscores the need for the Party organisations to give sincere help to economic work as a party work and properly combine the political and administrative affairs.

Terming the youth the reserves of the revolution who will shoulder upon themselves the future of the country and the nation and a powerful force for building a great prosperous powerful nation, the editorial calls on the young people to fully display the militant spirit and courage as the Songun young vanguard in the general onward march this year.

It is Kim Jong Il's feats to be specially recorded in the national history that he arranged the north-south summit, the first of its kind in the 55-year long history of national division, and adopted and announced the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration, thus opening a turning phase in the country's reunification, the editorial notes, and continues: This year is a significant year which marks the 5th anniversaries of the historic Pyongyang meeting and the joint declaration.

All the fellow countrymen in the north, the south and abroad should make a fresh advance in accomplishing the cause of national reunification this year under the uplifted banner of the joint declaration.

"Let's advance holding high the flag of cooperation for national independence, cooperation for peace against war and cooperation for reunification and patriotism!" This is the slogan for the movement for national reunification this year.

National independence is the lifeline for this movement.

It is unbearable shame on the nation that the sovereignty has been infringed upon for more than 100 years in the half of the country due to the 60 year-long presence of the US troops in the wake of the Japanese imperialists' colonial rule that lasted for over 40 years.

All the fellow countrymen should turn out as one in the struggle to put an end to the foreign domination and interference and protect the sovereignty and dignity of the nation. They should reject the "cooperation" with outside forces and isolate and weaken the sycophantic and traitorous forces and bury them.

It is necessary to wage a dynamic struggle for peace against war.

The danger of a nuclear war is growing on the Korean Peninsula as the days go by owing to the US moves to stifle the DPRK. Should a war break out on this land, it is only Koreans in the north and the south and their land that will suffer from its disaster. All Koreans should stage a powerful struggle for peace against war in order to drive the US troops out of south Korea, remove the very source of a nuclear war and defend the peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.

It is essential to hold high the banner of reunification and patriotism.

Whoever has the soul and blood of the Korean nation should swim with the trend of reunification and patriotism and make a tangible contribution to the reunification of the country. The organisations of people from all walks of life and figures in the north and the south and overseas should achieve solidarity and alliance on the principle of placing the common interests of the nation above anything else.

All Koreans should successfully achieve cooperation in the efforts to attain national independence, peace against war and reunification and patriotism in the idea of "By our nation itself" in an effort to open up a new phase for independent reunification in this meaningful year and record a brilliant page in the history of the movement for national reunification.

Noting that last year witnessed a dynamic struggle against the US imperialists' evermore undisguised brigandish aggression and high-handed practices on the international arena, the editorial urges the US to give up its attempt to stifle the DPRK by force of arms and make a switchover in its hostile policy toward it.

The army and people of the DPRK will as ever firmly protect the national dignity and sovereignty and invariably remain true to the idea of its foreign policy– independence, peace and friendship, the editorial concludes.

Article Index

New Year in Iraq – Increasing Resistance

By José Reinaldo Carvalho(*)

The inevitable is taking place in Iraq. The last weeks of the previous year and the first days of the new year have been marked by an escalade of violence with a series of armed actions of different kinds against the occupation forces and the troops of the puppet administration. Tens and tens of Iraqi soldiers and soldiers of the aggressive armies, as well as governmental servants, executives of foreign companies and collaborators of all sorts, have been killed with the explosion of cars and suicide bombers, ambushes, punishing actions, sabotaging of infrastructure facilities, especially those related to oil, and frontal attack against enemy armies. In the first week of the new year, the hostile actions towards the occupation culminated with the attack where Ali al-Haidri, Baghdad’s governor, died. Since May last year, when the resistance forces killed the chief of the Government Council, Baghdad’s governor is the highest authority to be executed in Iraq under the United States’ occupation.

The present escalation of armed actions in Iraq has a direct relation to the electoral counterfeit scheduled for three weeks from now. There is strong evidence of insufficient political or safety conditions to proceed with the election on January 30, to the point that the interim President of Iraq, Ghazi al-Yawar, proposed postponing the election and the Iraqi Islamic Party announced several days ago, backed by tens of Sunit organisations, that it will not take part in the process due to severe breaches in the electoral census and an incalculable democratic deficit. Despite all that, the President of the United States, George W Bush, has rejected any attempt at postponing the election. It is just another display, among many, of the Iraqi occupation fiasco by that country’s army of aggression. The events taking place in the next days will define whether there will be an election or not on the 30th. In any case, it will not be a democratic election, the tension will persist, insecurity will be even greater and the post-election period will not present a pacified, stable or united Iraq. The superpower’s leaders are absolutely wrong if they think that the electoral counterfeit will offer any political way out of the Iraqi crisis since there is an underlying issue of a different nature that demands a solution.

The problem is that an election in an occupied country is nothing but a counterfeit. The elected Assembly is going to be a helpless body and the Constitution they are going to write will be full of empty words. Iraq will only be a sovereign nation with normal and legitimate democratic institutions again with the end of the occupation resulting from the military aggression carried by US imperialism under spurious reasons, belittling international law and sidestepping the United Nations in March 2003. Today the United States’ imperialist administration, after scorning the UN, displays, aside from its strength, their resolution 1546, which schedules the "normalisation" of the Iraqi situation, establishing January 30 as the constitutional Election Day. However, facts impose themselves with the force of tsunamis, revealing where the Iraqi situation is being led to when international law and multilateral bodies are used as tools and turned into incidental accompaniments of force.

There will be resistance as long as the occupation persists – and it will be bloodier and bloodier. Under all aspects, the war and the occupation will be a failure for the United States. Politically, although resolution 1546 has been accepted by the UN Security Council and despite Bush’s re-election, the political isolation of US imperialism has never been sharper, even with regard to their traditional allies, of which Spain’s withdrawal from the aggressive coalition is the most significant example. In military terms, the occupation has been a fiasco, as the control of cities and borders is weak and the safety of their facilities is vulnerable. Cities are been taken over by means of unimaginable destruction and genocide, such as that perpetrated in Fallujah. Despite saying that the situation is under control, the United States’ government, their generals and the puppet interim administration all know that they are facing a general insurrection that involves thousands and thousands of people who have joined the resistance en masse. From the moral and psychological point of view, the situation of the occupation forces is shameful, with desertion and suicides taking place in large scale.

The forces of peace, national sovereignty and social progress all over the world are sympathetic to the Iraqi people and their resistance struggle. They long for a political way out, for national unity, the country’s re-democratisation, and regaining peace and stability, all of which are objectives that are far from the occupation’s scope and to which the electoral counterfeit scheduled for January 30 will bring no good.

(*) Journalist, Vice President of the Communist Party of Brazil, PCdoB, person in charge of international relations. Chairman of Cebrapaz – Brazilian Centre of Solidarity to the Peoples and Struggle for Peace.

Article Index

Thousands of Fallujans Demonstrate

By Ash-Sharq al-Awsat

Thousands of Fallujans demonstrated on Saturday, January 1, in front of the main entrance to the largely abandoned city. They demanded that US military forces leave their city and that basic services be restored so that they could return. One eyewitness reporter called in from the scene an estimate of 30,000 demonstrators.

Some of the placards announced that Fallujans refused to live under a military occupation. They presented a list of demands, which included the facilitation of their return to the city, speedy return of services, rebuilding of the devastated city, and monetary compensation to its inhabitants. They also protested the US military demand that returnees show identification papers. Many said that such papers got left behind in the city when they fled.

Children marched with placards reading "Where is my Father?" or "Where is my house, you supposed Liberators?"

Several demonstrators said that returnees were instructed by the Marines not to eat any food left behind in the city during their absence.

Article Index

The Other, Man-made Tsunami

By John Pilger, January 7, 2005

The west's crusaders, the United States and Britain, are giving less to help the tsunami victims than the cost of a Stealth bomber or a week's bloody occupation of Iraq. The bill for George Bush's coming inauguration party would rebuild much of the coastline of Sri Lanka. Bush and Blair increased their first driblets of "aid" only when it became clear that people all over the world were spontaneously giving millions and a public relations problem beckoned. The Blair government's current "generous" contribution is one sixteenth of the £800m it spent bombing Iraq before the invasion and barely one twentieth of a billion pound gift, known as a "soft loan", to the Indonesian military so that it could acquire Hawk fighter-bombers.

On 24 November, one month before the tsunami struck, the Blair government gave its backing to an arms fair in Jakarta, "designed to meet an urgent need for the [Indonesian] armed forces to review its defence capabilities," reported the Jakarta Post. The Indonesian military, responsible for genocide in East Timor, has killed more than 20,000 civilians and "insurgents" in Aceh. Among the exhibitors at the arms fair was Rolls Royce, manufacturer of engines for the Hawks, which, along with British-supplied Scorpion armoured vehicles, machine guns and ammunition, were terrorising and killing people in Aceh up to the day the tsunami devastated the province.

The Australian government, currently covering itself in glory for its modest response to the historic disaster befallen its Asian neighbours, has secretly trained Indonesia's Kopassus special forces, whose atrocities in Aceh are well documented. This is in keeping with Australia's 40-year support for oppression in Indonesia, notably its devotion to the dictator Suharto while his troops slaughtered a third of the population of East Timor. The government of John Howard – notorious for its imprisonment of child asylum-seekers – is presently defying international maritime law by denying East Timor its due of oil and gas royalties worth some 8bn dollars. Without this revenue, East Timor, the world's poorest country, cannot build schools, hospitals and roads or provide work for its young people, 90 per cent of whom are unemployed.

The hypocrisy, narcissism and dissembling propaganda of the rulers of the world and their sidekicks are in full cry. Superlatives abound as to their humanitarian intent while the division of humanity into worthy and unworthy victims dominates the news. The victims of a great natural disaster are worthy (though for how long is uncertain) while the victims of man-made imperial disasters are unworthy and very often unmentionable. Somehow, reporters cannot bring themselves to report what has been going on in Aceh, supported by "our" government. This one-way moral mirror allows us to ignore a trail of destruction and carnage that is another tsunami.

Consider the plight of Afghanistan, where clean water is unknown and death in childbirth common. At the Labour Party conference in 2001, Tony Blair announced his famous crusade to "re-order the world" with the pledge: "To the Afghan people, we make this commitment, we will not walk away... we will work with you to make sure [a way is found] out of the poverty that is your miserable existence." The Blair government had just taken part in the conquest of Afghanistan, in which as many as 20,000 civilians died. Of all the great humanitarian crises in living memory, no country suffered more and none has been helped less. Just three per cent of all international aid spent in Afghanistan has been for reconstruction, 84 per cent is for the US-led military "coalition" and the rest are crumbs for emergency aid. What is often presented as reconstruction revenue is private investment, such as the 35m dollars that will finance a proposed five-star hotel, mostly for foreigners. An adviser to the minister of rural affairs in Kabul told me the government had received less than 20 per cent of the aid promised to Afghanistan. "We don't even have enough money to pay wages, let alone plan reconstruction," he said.

The reason, unspoken of course, is that Afghans are the unworthiest of victims. When American helicopter gunships repeatedly machine gunned a remote farming village, killing as many as 93 civilians, a Pentagon official was moved to say, "The people there are dead because we wanted them dead".

I became acutely aware of this other tsunami when I reported from Cambodia in 1979. Following a decade of American bombing and Pol Pot's barbarities, Cambodia lay as stricken as Aceh is today. Disease beckoned famine and people suffered a collective trauma few could explain. Yet, for nine months after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime, no effective aid arrived from western governments. Instead, a western and Chinese backed UN embargo was imposed on Cambodia, denying virtually the entire machinery of recovery and assistance. The problem for the Cambodians was that their liberators, the Vietnamese, had come from the wrong side of the cold war, having recently expelled the Americans from their homeland. That made them unworthy victims, and expendable.

A similar, largely unreported siege was forced on Iraq during the 1990s and intensified during the Anglo-American "liberation". Last September, Unicef reported that malnutrition among Iraqi children had doubled under the occupation. Infant mortality is now at the level of Burundi, higher than in Haiti and Uganda. There is crippling poverty and a chronic shortage of medicines. Cancer cases are rising rapidly, especially breast cancer; radioactive pollution is widespread. More than 700 schools are bomb-damaged. Of the billions said to have been allocated for reconstruction in Iraq, just 29m dollars has been spent, most of it on mercenaries guarding foreigners. Little of this is news in the west.

This other tsunami is worldwide, causing 24,000 deaths every day from poverty and debt and division that are the products of a supercult called neo-liberalism. This was acknowledged by the United Nations in 1991 when it called a conference in Paris of the richest states with the aim of implementing a "programme of action" to rescue the world's poorest nations. A decade later, virtually every commitment made by western governments had been broken, making the waffle of the British Chancellor (Treasurer) Gordon Brown about the Group of Eight "sharing Britain's dream" in ending poverty as just that: waffle. Not one government has honoured the United Nations "baseline" and allotted a miserable 0.7 of its national income to overseas aid. Britain gives just 0.34 per cent, making its "department of international development" a black joke. The US gives 0.15 per cent, the lowest of any industrial state.

Largely unseen and unimagined by westerners, millions of people know their lives have been declared expendable. When tariffs and food and fuel subsidies are eliminated under an IMF diktat, small farmers and the landless know they face disaster, which is why suicides among farmers are an epidemic. Only the rich, says the World Trade Organisation, are allowed to protect their home industries and agriculture; only they have the right to subsidise exports of meat, grain and sugar and dump them in poor countries at artificially low prices, thereby destroying livelihoods and lives.

Indonesia, once described by the World Bank as "a model pupil of the global economy", is a case in point. Many of those washed to their deaths in Sumatra on Boxing Day were dispossessed by IMF policies. Indonesia owes an unrepayable debt of 110bn dollars. The World Resources Institute says the toll of this man-made tsunami reaches 13-18 million child deaths every year; or 12 million children under the age of five, according to a UN Development Report. "If 100 million have been killed in the formal wars of the 20th century," wrote the Australian social scientist Michael McKinley, "why are they to be privileged in comprehension over the annual [death] toll of children from structural adjustment programmes since 1982?"

That the system causing this has democracy as its war cry is a mockery which people all over the world increasingly understand. It is this rising awareness, consciousness even, that offers more than hope. Since the crusaders in Washington and London squandered world sympathy for the victims of 11 September 2001 in order to accelerate their campaign of domination, a critical public intelligence has stirred and regards the likes of Blair and Bush as liars and their culpable actions as crimes. The current outpouring of help for the tsunami victims among ordinary people in the west is a spectacular reclaiming of the politics of community, morality and internationalism denied them by governments and corporate propaganda. Listening to tourists returning from stricken countries, consumed with gratitude for the gracious, expansive way some the poorest of the poor gave them shelter and cared for them, one hears the antithesis of "policies" that care only for the avaricious.

"The most spectacular display of public morality the world has ever seen," was how the writer Arundhati Roy described the anti-war anger that swept across the world almost two years ago. A French study now estimates that 35 million people demonstrated on that February day and says there has never been anything like it; and it was just a beginning.

This is not rhetorical; human renewal is not a phenomenon, rather the continuation of a struggle that may appear at times to have frozen, but is a seed beneath the snow. Take Latin America, long declared invisible and expendable in the west. "Latin Americans have been trained in impotence," wrote Eduardo Galeano the other day. "A pedagogy passed down from colonial times, taught by violent soldiers, timorous teachers and frail fatalists, has rooted in our souls the belief that reality is untouchable and that all we can do is swallow in silence the woes each day brings." Galeano was celebrating the rebirth of real democracy in his homeland, Uruguay, where people have voted "against fear", against privatisation and its attendant indecencies. In Venezuela, municipal and state elections in October notched up the ninth democratic victory for the only government in the world sharing its oil wealth with its poorest people. In Chile, the last of the military fascists supported by western governments, notably Thatcher, are being pursued by revitalised democratic forces.

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 unravelling, so a whole system of domination and impoverishment can unravel, too.

First published in the New Statesmanhttp://www.newstatesman.co.uk

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US and British aid is dwarfed by the billions both spend on slaughter:

The Victims of the Tsunami Pay the Price of War on Iraq

George Monbiot, January 4, 2005, Guardian

There has never been a moment like it on British television. The Vicar of Dibley, one of our gentler sitcoms, was bouncing along with its usual bonhomie on New Year's Day when it suddenly hit us with a scene from another world. Two young African children were sobbing and trying to comfort each other after their mother had died of Aids. How on earth, I wondered, would the show make us laugh after that? It made no attempt to do so. One by one the characters, famous for their parochial boorishness, stood in front of the camera wearing the white armbands which signalled their support for the Make Poverty History campaign. You would have to have been hewn from stone not to cry.

The timing was perfect. In my local Oxfam shop last week, people were queuing to the door to pledge money for the tsunami fund. A pub on the other side of town raised £1,000 on Saturday night. In the pot on the counter of the local newsagent's there must be nearly £100. The woman who runs the bakery told me about the homeless man she had seen, who emptied his pockets in the bank, saying "I just want to do my bit", while the whole queue tried not to cry.

Over the past few months, reviewing the complete lack of public interest in what is happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the failure, in the west, to mobilise effective protests against the continuing atrocities in Iraq, I had begun to wonder whether we had lost our ability to stand in other people's shoes. I have now stopped wondering. The response to the tsunami shows that, however we might seek to suppress it, we cannot destroy our capacity for empathy.

But one obvious question recurs. Why must the relief of suffering, in this unprecedentedly prosperous world, rely on the whims of citizens and the appeals of pop stars and comedians? Why, when extreme poverty could be made history with a minor redeployment of public finances, must the poor world still wait for homeless people in the rich world to empty their pockets?

The obvious answer is that governments have other priorities. And the one that leaps to mind is war. If the money they have promised to the victims of the tsunami still falls far short of the amounts required, it is partly because the contingency fund upon which they draw in times of crisis has been spent on blowing people to bits in Iraq.

The US government has so far pledged $350m to the victims of the tsunami, and the UK government £50m ($96m). The US has spent $148 billion on the Iraq war and the UK £6bn ($11.5bn). The war has been running for 656 days. This means that the money pledged for the tsunami disaster by the United States is the equivalent of one and a half day's spending in Iraq. The money the UK has given equates to five and a half days of our involvement in the war.

It looks still worse when you compare the cost of the war to the total foreign aid budget. The UK has spent almost twice as much on creating suffering in Iraq as it spends annually on relieving it elsewhere. The United States gives just over $16bn in foreign aid: less than one ninth of the money it has burnt so far in Iraq.

The figures for war and aid are worth comparing because, when all the other excuses for the invasion of Iraq were stripped away, both governments explained that it was being waged for the good of the Iraqis. Let us, for a moment, take this claim at face value. Let us suppose that the invasion and occupation of Iraq had nothing to do with power, domestic politics or oil, but were, in fact, components of a monumental aid programme. And let us, with reckless generosity, assume that more people in Iraq have gained as a result of this aid programme than lost.

To justify the war, even under these wildly unsafe assumptions, George Bush and Tony Blair would have to show that the money they spent was a cost-efficient means of relieving human suffering. As it was sufficient to have made a measurable improvement in the lives of all the 2.8 billion people living in absolute poverty, and as there are only 25 million people in Iraq, this is simply not possible. Even if you ignore every other issue - such as the trifling matter of mass killing - the opportunity costs of the Iraq war categorise it as a humanitarian disaster. Indeed, such calculations suggest that, on cost grounds alone, a humanitarian war is a contradiction in terms.

But our leaders appear to have lost the ability to distinguish between helping people and killing them. The tone of Blair's New Year message was almost identical to that of his tear-jerking insistence that we understand the Iraqi people must be bombed for their own good. The US marines who have now been dispatched to Sri Lanka to help the rescue operation were, just a few weeks ago, murdering the civilians (for this, remember, is an illegal war), smashing the homes and evicting the entire population of the Iraqi city of Falluja.

Even within the official aid budgets the two aims are confused: $8.9bn of the aid money the US spends is used for military assistance, anti-drugs operations, counter-terrorism and the Iraq relief and reconstruction fund (otherwise known as the Halliburton benevolent trust). For Bush and Blair, the tsunami relief operation and the Iraq war are both episodes in the same narrative of salvation. The civilised world rides out to rescue foreigners from their darkness.

While they spend the money we gave them to relieve suffering on slaughtering the poor, the world must rely for disaster relief on the homeless man emptying his pockets. If our leaders were as generous in helping people as they are in killing them, no one would ever go hungry.

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