Monday, November 11, 2013

Storm of the Century

Let's just say that Typhoon Haiyan makes Katrina look like a gentle rain and Sandy a mud puddle in the backyard. The destruction is simply too huge to comprehend. Estimates of 10,000 people dead are probably, tragically, way too low.

This was a poor country to begin with, with a long history of rotting infrastructure and political corruption rooted in American imperialism. The Filipinos are going to need all the assistance they can get. Starvation is already happening.

You can find ways to help here.

Meanwhile be on the lookout for the tycoons to cash in on the typhoon. They'll find the usual neoliberal ways to profit, and call it philanthropy. (See Rahm Emanuel's nostrum: Never let a serious crisis go to waste.) The Republic of the Philippines is already among the nation-victims of the predatory Trans-Pacific Partnership "free trade" talks now being conducted in secret by transnational corporations champing at the bit to extract blood and treasure from the poorest countries on earth. Filipinos have joined their fellow world citizens in protesting the potential corporate coup.

Meanwhile, while crying crocodile tears for the Filipinos on its front page, the New York Times is also doing its pro-Administration propagandist bit by showcasing a piece about how cheap the Chinese are, compared to the exceptional Americans, when it comes to natural disaster aid. We're sending in the Marines from Okinawa, the island we have occupied since the end of World War II, to trumpet our humanitarian might. The Chinese wrote a check for a measly hundred grand. What gall, to have given more to Pakistan for its earthquake than they're now giving to an island nation in their immediate vicinity.

If I seem cynical, it's because I am cynical.


James F Traynor said...

The Chinese are nothing if not subtle - also very practical. They are vigorously contesting Filipino ownership of some strategically placed atolls. This may be another version of, 'May you live in interesting times'; a curse, wrapped in a gift.

annenigma said...

The USG will promise the Philippine government millions of dollars in aid (borrowed from the Chinese) but who knows how much they will actually send and to whom. It all depends on how many favors they grant our military-surveillance complex. There's always a quid pro quo giving us more power.

The Chinese, by the way, cut a check for 100K, not 10K, but that is still a trifling sum. As James alluded to though, they operate on a totally different plane than the USG.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks for the correction on the Chinese donation, Anne. Just changed it in the post. I'd misread the amount in the Times article. You're right, it's still pitiful.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

I agree, Karen. I feel so horrible for those poor people. We can't begin to imagine their suffering. Sadly, they will be already out of sight, out of mind for most of the Western World in a day or two.

I firmly believe this is a result of global warming caused by those of us in the developed world. Yet how much do we really care about the suffering of people so far away? It sickens me that some lives are worth so much less and their suffering matters little to us.