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SACW | 01 January 2005

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    South Asia Citizens Wire | 01 Jan., 2005 via: www.sacw.net [1] Tsunami Disaster and After: (i) Apocalypse in Asia (Asoka Bandarage) (ii) The tsunami warns
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2004
      South Asia Citizens Wire | 01 Jan., 2005
      via: www.sacw.net

      [1] Tsunami Disaster and After:
      (i) Apocalypse in Asia (Asoka Bandarage)
      (ii) The tsunami warns us all (Praful Bidwai)
      (iiii) More than a million Hiroshimas (P. Sainath)
      (iv) IHEU Tsunami Disaster Appeal For Andhra Pradesh, India
      (v) The Tamil Nadu Science Forum and Pondicherry Science Forum Update - Appeal
      [2] Pakistan: Allah Hafiz & other Islamic Tamiz (Zia Ahmed)
      [3] India Pakistan Arms Race and Militarisation Watch Compilation # 148




      [SACW | December 31, 2004]


      By Prof. Asoka Bandarage

      The worst tragedy in the history of the world?
      Piles and piles of putrefying, unidentified
      bodies, mass burials, devastated lands and
      hungry, homeless people across South and South
      East Asia. Over 100,000 dead, thousands more
      missing and still more to die from disease,
      hunger and despair. Were the doomsday prophets,
      Nostradamus and Malthus right? Has the apocalypse
      arrived? Was it the wrath of God or
      over-population that caused this terrible tragedy
      in Asia?

      Indeed, it is the poor, mostly children that
      perished in the wrath of the tsunami waves. The
      fishermen who eked out a precarious living, the
      squatters who built their fragile shacks on the
      beach because they had nowhere else to live and
      the innocent children who loved to play on the
      sand. Was this natureís way of disposing of the
      'surplus population', bringing balance between
      people and resources, as Malthus claimed would

      But, is Mother Nature simply to be blamed? Are
      poverty and lack of access to modern technology
      entirely attributable to population pressure?
      There are reports that meteorologists in the west
      were aware of the earthquake and tidal waves
      before tragedy struck. If so, why was that
      information not made available to the unfortunate
      countries? Did global warming play a role in the
      rapid rise of sea levels and easy flooding? Why
      were early warning systems not available in South
      and South East Asia when they are relatively
      inexpensive, about 4 million U.S. dollars, less
      than the price of some houses in the U.S.? In
      other words, how much of this tragedy was
      man-made, a product of an unequal global social
      order ranked by region, color, social class and
      so on? How much of this tragedy, like many other
      so-called natural disasters, was the product of a
      world order which gives priority to the selfish
      interests of a few over the welfare of the many
      and the common survival of all?

      Indeed, the need of the hour is to provide
      immediate assistance to the victims: medicine,
      water, food, shelter. How can this be done in a
      non-partisan way, so that victims from all groups
      are provided for? It is the unfortunate reality
      that many relief operations are being conducted
      along religious and ethnic lines and some groups
      are exaggerating their woes and making false
      claims and accusations against other groups. How
      can we develop unified efforts within countries,
      if not across the region or the world? How can we
      put aside our cultural differences and come
      together for our common human and planetary
      survival? Isn't this the lesson of this
      apocalyptic tragedy? Half the bodies being
      recovered cannot be identified and their
      ethnicity or religion cannot be determined. Only
      the common human tragedy, the universal pain and
      suffering are discernible.

      What are the next steps to help the survivors of
      the devastation? Thousands lost their lives and
      many more thousands have lost their homes and
      their means of livelihood. The people who earned
      their living from tourist related work, the
      families of the hotel workers, the sellers of
      curios and services on the beach, must now find
      alternative means of living. They have to find
      places to live. Restart their lives. Let us not
      forget them after the bodies are disposed of and
      the global media has moved on to the next
      disaster. Let us share the basic modern
      technology that they need, including surveillance
      systems that can warn them of possible future

      We need a more compassionate global economic
      system that can provide economic and social
      protection for the poor and the destitute. Take
      the case of the Multi Fiber Agreement that has
      provided country quotas for textile exports which
      will no longer be in effect after December 31,
      2005. Sri Lanka, one of the hardest hit by the
      tsunami tragedy, over 22,500 people dead, and
      greatly dependent on garment exports, is
      estimated to lose 250,000 jobs with the end of
      the MFA. This is a double whammy for the
      unfortunate country. Thousands of people,
      including many families made destitute by the
      current tragedy, will lose a primary bread-winner
      with the loss of the textile sector jobs. Could
      the rules made by the worldís powerful
      institutions, such as the World Trade
      Organization, be bent a little, to help this poor
      country in its hour of desperate need? Could not
      the MFA be extended a few more years for Sri
      Lanka and other countries in dire need, until
      they get back on their feet? The suffering people
      will, no doubt, be deeply grateful.





      Tsunamis that hit nine countries should trigger
      serious disaster-prevention initiatives
      throughout South Asia on assumption that natural
      calamities are socially determined

      by Praful Bidwai

      The devastation caused in nine Indian Ocean
      countries by a tsunami triggered on December 26
      by an earthquake continues to boggle the mind.
      Sri Lanka and India were hit the hardest. Their
      shock and grief is all the greater because
      tsunamis - gigantic sea-waves caused by massive
      displacements due to earthquakes or volcanic
      eruptions or submarine slides - are rare in South
      Asia, unlike the Pacific, which has witnessed
      nearly 800 of them in the past century.

      Although Pakistan and Bangladesh were spared this
      tsunami's fury, their citizens and governments
      should not be complacent. They too are vulnerable
      to similar disasters. On November 28, 1945, the
      West Coast of undivided India was hit by a
      tsunami, including the Karachi, Makran and Bombay
      areas. The waves reached a height of two metres
      in Bombay and 11 metres in Kutch. The Bay of
      Bengal too has seen tsunamis - in 1762, 1881 and

      The latest wave was unleashed by a great
      earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9 on the Richter
      scale. Its impact was bound to be horrifying. The
      extensive damage it wrought necessitates a
      high-powered relief effort and large-scale
      rehabilitation. It would be a shame if
      bureaucratic obstacles or lack of resources were
      allowed to come in the way of relief provision on
      the scale warranted by the calamity.

      However, it would be an even greater disgrace if
      we South Asians fail to learn the right lessons
      from natural disasters, and thus subject
      ourselves to preventable loss of life and
      property. The first lesson is that it simply
      won't do to claim that the catastrophic event was
      of exceptional dimensions and hence the damage
      could not have been mitigated. Officially India
      practised such self-deception at the time of the
      Orissa cyclone five years ago, calling it a
      "super-cyclone". The term was subtly employed to
      insinuate that no damage-limitation methods could
      have worked.

      This is totally false. Had simple, old-fashioned,
      low-technology cyclone shelters been built and
      properly maintained, they could have saved
      hundreds of lives. Cyclone shelters are rugged,
      two- or three-storeyed concrete structures that
      can withstand 300 kmph winds and tidal waves.

      The world has witnessed many tsunamis with tides
      as high as 20 metres, 50 metres, or even higher.
      Alaska in 1958 was hit by a 540 metre-high
      monster-higher than Taipei-101, the world's
      tallest building! Similarly, India too suffered
      two major strikes-in 1881 and in 1941. The second
      was caused by an earthquake in the Andamans which
      was thought to have exceeded a magnitude of 8.5.

      The latest earthquake was detected in time by the
      Pacific Tsunami Early Warning System, but there
      was no address in the Indian Ocean region to
      which the information could be communicated. This
      lacuna must be filled. All Indian Ocean states,
      including Pakistan, should join the 26-member

      A second lesson is that natural disasters are
      natural only in their causation. Their effects
      are socially determined and transmitted through
      mechanisms and arrangements which are the
      creation of societies and governments. Natural
      disasters are not socially neutral in their
      impact. Rather, they pick on the poor and the
      weak, rather than the privileged. Consider the

      The United States and Europe are prone to
      disasters like earthquakes. Yet, according to the
      environmental research group, Earthscan,
      earthquakes killing more than 10,000 people have
      not occurred in them, only in the Third World.

      Hurricanes and cyclones frequently hit the US.
      But the toll they claim is incomparably smaller
      than the havoc caused by similar events in
      Bangladesh, India and the Philippines.

      The average natural disaster kills 63 people in
      Japan. But in Peru, the average toll is 2,900-46
      times higher.

      Around the same time as Latur in India (1993),
      California (US) was hit by an earthquake which
      was 100 times more powerful. Only one person died
      in the US, while 11,000 people perished in Latur.

      When Hurricane Elena hit the US in 1985, only
      five people died. But when a cyclone slammed
      Bangladesh in 1991, half a million people were

      The reason natural disasters hit the Third World
      poor so hard is not difficult to understand. It
      has nothing to do with the intrinsically deadlier
      nature of the calamity involved. Rather, poor
      people are socially and physically
      vulnerable-being forced to live in congested,
      overcrowded and unsafe conditions in dangerous
      areas. The typical medical and relief
      infrastructure in the Global South is hopelessly
      inadequate and usually crumbles first under the
      impact of a calamity. Above all, emergency relief
      provision is appallingly bad.

      A third lesson is that governance has much
      bearing on how a society copes with natural
      disasters. If there is transparency in official
      decision-making, the toll tends to be low. This
      is especially the case where governments are
      responsive to people, and where early warnings
      are sounded, and accurate advice and information
      is disseminated about the availability of rescue
      and relief services, emergency telephone numbers
      and addresses, etc.

      Third World societies are far more hierarchical
      and their rulers feel no obligation to
      disseminate information and advice to the
      underprivileged. They are also marked by poverty
      and paucity of radio receivers or telephone
      connectivity. Human life is wantonly lost. And
      the poor suffer the most.

      A fourth lesson is that Third World societies are
      severely under-regulated for safety. Either they
      have no laws on zoning of residential, industrial
      and commercial activities. Or, such regulations
      are routinely violated. Third World people are
      forced to live in unsafe shanties because they
      cannot afford a legal title or to secure shelter.
      They therefore create a slum-using unsafe or
      flimsy materials, which give way when disaster
      strikes. Use of inflammable goods like plastic
      magnifies the potential damage.

      In most Indian Ocean societies, there are no laws
      against building structures close to the
      coastline. India's Coastal Zone Regulations
      stipulate that no structure should be constructed
      within 500 metres of the high-tide line. But
      hotels, shops, prawn hatcheries, and private
      house-owners often flout this law.

      In recent years, growing commercialisation has
      led to construction activity in seaside resorts
      right up to the high-tide water-mark, leaving no
      safety margin whatever. These activities-all in
      pursuit of a fast buck from the tourist trade-are
      downright predatory. They destroy highly
      effective natural shields and buffers like
      mangroves, and create new risks and dangers.

      An integral part of any agenda to reduce risk,
      improve safety and deal rationally with natural
      calamities must oppose predatory interests. This
      agenda is itself inseparable from a larger
      programme to make governments more democratic-and
      more accountable. The December 26 tsunami was bad
      news. But more tsunamis could hit South Asia in
      future. So will other natural calamities. We must
      learn how to cope with them-by internalising the
      lessons just discussed.

      Postscript: Maldives has declared a state of
      emergency after the tsunami flooded two-thirds of
      the capital, Male. This is a grim reminder of the
      impending danger from global warming for this
      region. Male is only about three feet above sea
      level. A four feet-high wave of water swept over
      it, submerging many of the 1,200 tiny coral
      islands that comprise the country.

      o o o o


      The Hindu
      Jan 01, 2005


      By P. Sainath

      Will Governments ever spend the modest sums
      required along the coast to protect the millions
      of poorer Indians dependent on the seas?

      THE EARTHQUAKE that produced the tsunami
      unleashed energy millions of times greater than
      the Hiroshima bomb. True, comparisons across
      different physical processes are not
      straightforward. Yet it is quite common to
      restate the magnitude of earthquakes in terms
      that are more familiar. Typically, this is done
      by asking how much of the common explosive
      Trinitrotoluene (TNT) would have to be detonated
      to obtain the same release of energy as the

      A table produced by the Nevada Seismological
      Laboratory suggests that a quake of 9.0 on the
      Richter scale has a seismic energy yield roughly
      equalling 32 billion tons of TNT.

      Compare that with the bomb that decimated
      Hiroshima, whose yield was similar to that from
      exploding 15,000 tons of TNT. The Indonesian
      quake last week, like the Chilean quake of 1960,
      unleashed 2.13 million times more energy than the
      perversely named "Little Boy" did over Hiroshima.

      As geophysicist and climatologist Ashwin Mahesh
      points out, "Such a look across different
      processes is tricky. This cannot be a straight
      comparison but simply a useful indicator of power
      that ordinary people can relate to. Also,
      Hiroshima was an `atmospheric' blast, not on the
      ground. Then there is radiation damage, which
      additionally occurs with nukes. Not with quakes.
      Finally, there is the impact - nearly all the
      energy from an atomic bomb is released locally,
      but energy from an earthquake is distributed by
      seismic action and more widely dispersed. This is
      why something that happened in Indonesia still
      packs a punch thousands of miles away from the

      Dr. Mahesh is, of course, quite right. Yet, the
      comparative numbers do convey a sense of the
      sheer magnitude of the quake's power. And apart
      from the physical and character differences of
      the two processes, the quake in this case also
      triggered the devastation that spilt across 12
      countries and two continents. It will be ages
      before we fully measure the damage.

      There has been much agonising over "those vital
      three hours" (now spoken of as 90 minutes) in
      which the Government "could have done something."
      Sure, it is always useful to be forewarned of
      disaster. Every human life saved is worth the
      effort. Yet, there was little scope for a major
      response, even if India had been part of the
      tsunami warning system. (Of course this did not
      stop sections of the media from identifying the
      villains and the good guys within six hours of
      the event.)

      Without a network of local alarm systems in place
      along the coast, membership in the warning system
      club would have meant little. Those networks
      would have to be of a kind that did not depend
      wholly on human agency. That is, they should not
      need someone to switch them on or off. The
      coastal disaster struck in the early hours of the
      morning, when all offices and institutions were

      `Local administration,' such as there was, was
      also crippled by the event. Policemen, municipal
      workers, clerks, low-level officials, engineers,
      medical personnel, and many others, also died in
      the disaster. Roads were inaccessible, vehicles
      washed away, electricity shut down. A
      highly-skilled, ready-round-the-clock entity like
      the Indian Air Force had a base wrecked (it took
      a beating during the Gujarat earthquake, too).
      Many of those we assume could have done a lot in
      those 90 minutes were themselves victims of the

      The nuclear site at Kalpakkam was hampered by
      more than the direct impact. A design engineer
      employed by the facility was swept away by the
      waves while praying in Church. Other employees
      too died. The apocalyptic scale of disaster
      ensured a chaos on the ground that paralysed most

      The blame game unfolding within hours of the
      tragedy is mystifying given that few explain what
      they would have done in those 90 minutes had they
      got the warning. Warnings without practised,
      in-place response strategies and drills might
      have meant little. Certainly at that hour.
      (Incidentally, one channel announced that Besant
      Nagar in Chennai was "under water," leading to
      panic - outside that locality.) We may not have
      been able to do much in those 90 minutes. But
      every little thing we do now matters enormously.
      What is needed is urgency on the relief and
      rehabilitation front and a rational long-term
      response to disaster.

      It is also a little mystifying that the India
      Meteorological Department is seen as having a
      major role in the present mess. Tsunami are not
      weather phenomena. If anything, monitoring events
      that might trigger them could be the task of the
      Geological Survey of India (GSI). But that is
      another story. Where indeed Governments must be
      blasted is for the quality and tardiness of
      relief efforts. Not for failing to predict the
      impact of tsunami.

      It is also another matter, as John Schwartz
      points out in The New York Times, that 75 per
      cent of tsunami warnings in 56 years have been
      wrong. He quotes a NASA website devoted to
      tsunami as saying "Three out of four tsunami
      warnings issued since 1948 have been false. And
      the cost of the false alarms can be high."
      Already, the panic over the "high wave alert" is
      an embarrassment for a defensive Government
      trying to cope with the media charge that it did
      not respond the last time.

      The January 17, 1995, Kobe earthquake in Japan
      took 5,500 lives, injured 26,000 and inflicted
      damage in excess of $ 200 billion. That in a
      country where seismic activity is massively
      monitored with advanced technologies. The quake
      lasted some 20 seconds and measured around 7.0 on
      the Richter scale. Structures designed for such
      seismic zones were torn apart like paper. Last
      week's quake measured 9.0. Which means it was,
      near Indonesia at least, 1,000 times more
      powerful than Kobe (The Richter scale is a
      logarithmic one, not a linear scale.)

      The question is not so much whether India should
      have been a paid-up member of the tsunami warning
      system. Until last week, elite wisdom would have
      viewed that as so much money saved. The question
      is whether Governments in India today will ever
      spend the modest sums required along the coast to
      protect the millions of poorer Indians dependent
      on the seas. And whether we need a disaster this
      scale to rethink some of our priorities.

      The surprise expressed by many (arriving from
      Delhi) over the poor medical facilities in these
      regions is misplaced. The capital city may have
      such facilities. But we have spent the better
      part of 12 years gutting public health care,
      privatising hospitals and charging user fees in
      Government ones from people who cannot pay.
      Fracturing an already inadequate and fragile
      system. Now, when there is a deadly danger of
      epidemics, there is little to fight them with. It
      is odd that we allow Governments to get away with
      atrocities against the poor. But sternly hold
      them to blame for an unprecedented natural

      Hundreds of fishing villages have been squeezed
      into narrower, tighter settlements as
      `development' Indian-style sets in. Many have
      moved into unsafe terrain, pushed by resorts,
      hotels, construction of highways. Mangrove
      forests that have always acted as a brake -
      however limited - against tidal waves, have
      increasingly vanished. So have another natural
      barrier - sand dunes, looted by the construction
      industry. We have put a lot of effort into making
      the coastline increasingly unsafe.

      And not just the coastline. There seems to be no
      concern over the fact that the many small dams in
      the western part of the country might be
      responsible for what is known as
      `reservoir-induced seismicity.' Our planners
      still aim to turn every river into a chain of

      Growing seismic activity in Maharashtra has not
      led to a rethink on the ever-higher skyscrapers
      being planned there. Especially in Mumbai city.
      Nor has the harrowing experience of the Gujarat
      earthquake had any impact on Mumbai's mighty
      builder lobby. We could perhaps have done very
      little in "those crucial 90 minutes," but there
      is much we can do on other fronts, if we wish to,
      to make people safer.

      It would not be too much of a challenge to
      India's much-celebrated IT and software genius to
      make the lives of traditional fishermen along
      India's coastline a lot better. A PCO type box,
      modified for at-sea use could do plenty. It could
      act as a weather alert and SOS mechanism. It
      could work as a GPS device. It could even be used
      to help fishermen in shoal tracking - a huge
      advantage that predatory big boats and trawlers
      have over them. All in all, it might be possible
      to install these in the vessels of traditional
      fishermen at maybe less than Rs.2,000 a boat. It
      is a small thing that may have little to do with
      tsunamis. But it could make a big difference in
      many life-threatening situations.

      That it has never happened on a major scale means
      it is just not a priority. When advanced
      technological systems do come in, they will
      likely be installed with an eye on tourists
      rather than fisherfolk. The latter, right now, do
      not even have boats on which to install any
      safety device. Thousands of boats, catamarans and
      fishing nets were simply destroyed in the

      Maybe we can never fully and correctly predict a
      tsunami or, more importantly, its likely impact.
      On the other hand, it is easy to predict that our
      priorities, our ways of thinking and living,
      render us vulnerable to disasters of our own

      o o o




      The undersea earthquake near Sumatra on
      December 26 was the largest in the world for 40
      years. The tsunami that followed caused a
      widespread disaster. About 12,500 people have
      been killed in India and more than 35,000 have
      been evacuated in Andhra Pradesh. Many others are
      at imminent risk of disease following the

      The coastal communities of Andhra Pradesh
      are mainly dependent on fishing as their major
      source of income. Traditional handloom weavers
      are equally vulnerable. Many villagers lost the
      tools on which they depend for their livelihood
      in the inundation of water into the villages.

      IHEU's member organisation in India, Atheist
      Centre, has an existing disaster relief
      organisation in place since 1977, Arthik Samata
      Mandal (FCRA 010260025). This organisation
      already has the required Indian Government
      approval to receive overseas aid funds.

      Arthik Samata Mandal of Atheist Centre and
      IHEU have launched an appeal to address both
      short term (rehabilitation) and long-term
      (reconstruction) needs. Programs are being
      designed in cooperation with the affected
      communities. Short-term intervention is aimed at
      bringing the community back to normal livelihood
      conditions. In the longer term, the objective is
      to reduce the geographical vulnerability. Arthik
      Samata Mandal of Atheist Centre's main strength
      is in working with local community leaders,
      women's groups, youth clubs, Panchayat Raj
      institutions and other grassroots civil society


      IHEU is accepting donations on behalf of the
      disaster appeal. Please click here to make an
      online donation via Paypal:


      (please be sure to copy the whole link into your
      web browser) or use IHEU's Paypal facility by
      clicking on the link provided at www.iheu.org.

      For other payment methods, please see the
      details near the end of this message.


      HEALTH: Medical attention through medical camps
      and if necessary referrals; provision of
      FOOD SECURITY: Provision of groceries, utensils and safe drinking water.
      HABITAT: Housing repairs and temporary shelters.
      LIVELIHOOD: Provision of work tools, boats,
      fishing nets etc; provision of milch animals.
      GENERAL: Provision of clothing, toiletries, etc.


      HABITAT IMPROVEMENT: housing; sanitation;
      drainage; drinking water supply; mangrove


      Andhra Pradesh is battered by every kind of
      natural disaster: cyclones, floods, earthquakes
      and drought. The coastal region suffers repeated
      cyclones and floods. The 1977 cyclone and tidal
      wave, which resulted in great loss of life,
      attracted the attention of the central and state
      Governments of India and the international donor
      communities, as did those of 1979, 1990 and
      1996. The floods in the Godavari and Krishna
      Rivers caused havoc in the East and West Godavari
      and Krishna districts. Concerned about the
      frequent recurrence of cyclones and the
      devastating effect on the economy and employment
      potential of the people, Arthik Samata Mandal of
      Atheist Centre has concentrated its efforts in
      these coastal districts to mitigate the suffering
      of the people.

      The communities living in the most
      vulnerable areas are the most disadvantaged in
      terms of their very low socio-economic status and
      lack of access to basic information, resources
      and opportunities needed for a dignified life.
      They have been the victims of circumstances over
      many years caused by uncontrolled exploitation of
      natural resources and mechanisation, which have
      had direct impact on local artisans. Communities
      are caught up in the debt trap as each new
      situation threatens their livelihoods. Ever since
      the 1977 cyclone and tidal wave, the coastal
      communities have struggled to recover from the
      aftermath of recurring disasters. Their means of
      livelihood such as boats, looms etc, are
      frequently washed away or are destroyed in these
      disasters. Their habitat, health and livelihoods
      are under continual threat.

      Every disaster has even greater impact on
      the nutrition and health of women and children,
      as they are doubly disadvantaged during and after
      natural disasters. They are still required to
      perform their productive and reproductive roles.
      Children are forced into child labour to add to
      their family income. Vulnerable communities are
      not only exposed to natural disasters, but are
      also affected by forced changes in their
      economic, social and cultural circumstances in
      the aftermath of the disasters, such as
      migration, limited employment options, premature
      deaths of family members and extra burdens on the
      family. Added to this, the local fatalistic
      belief system put them on the back foot, leading
      to inaction even when the need for action arises.

      Earthquakes in the recent past have occurred
      along and off the Andhra Pradesh coast and in
      regions in the Godavari river valley. Mild
      tremors have also hit the capital city of
      Hyderabad, for example in September 2000.


      Arthik Samata Mandal (ASM) of the Atheist
      Centre was founded by Gora and J.C. Kumarappa,
      both well known Gandhians. Arthik Samata is the
      13th Item of the Gandhian Constructive Programmes
      meaning "Economic Equality". It was started as a
      disaster relief appeal following the 1977 cyclone
      and tidal wave when more than 10,000 people lost
      their lives.

      In 1978, ASM was registered as an NGO under
      the Societies Registration Act of the Government
      of India. For the past 25 years, ASM has been
      actively working in the field of disaster relief,
      rehabilitation, reconstruction and mitigation,
      and has been involved in comprehensive
      development programs (health, habitat,
      livelihood, education & child sponsorship),
      focusing on fisherfolk, handloom weavers, tribal
      people, rural artisans, agricultural labourers,
      and small farmers. Its major focus is on
      children, youth, women and the handicapped.

      Its operational area covers the Krishna,
      Guntur, Nalgonda, East Godavari, West Godavari,
      Prakasam and Nellore districts in Andhra Pradesh.
      About 90% of its operational area is along the
      coastline, with the remaining 10% in the
      drought-prone Nalgonda district.


      Click on the link above to make a donation via Paypal.

      Alternatively, donations can be made by bank
      transfer or wire transfer to IHEU's bank account:
      Barclays Bank PLC, Chancery Lane and Goslings
      Branch, 147 Holborn, London EC1N 2NW, United
      Kingdom; account name: International Humanist and
      Ethical Union; sort code: 20-41-41; account
      number: 50958840; SWIFT code: BARCGB22; IBAN
      number: GB59BARC20414150958840; quote reference:
      Tsunami Disaster Appeal.

      Or you can send a cheque or money order,
      made payable to International Humanist and
      Ethical Union, to: IHEU Tsunami Disaster Appeal,
      International Humanist and Ethical Union, 1 Gower
      Street, London WC1E 6HD, United Kingdom.

      IHEU is registered as a 501(c)3 in the US
      and donations to it are tax deductible under US

      o o o o


      Another effort for relief, that you could all
      keep in mind, if you do not know about it already.
      (The list of essential drugs referred to below are :

      1. Tab. Paracetamol - 500 mg
      2. Tab.Furazolidone - 100 mg
      3. Tab.Domperidone - 10mg
      4. Tab.Co-trimexazole SIngle Strength
      5. Tab.Metronidazole - 200 mg
      6. Tab.Dicyclomine - 10 mg
      7. Tab.Ibuprofen - 200 mg
      8. Liquid Betadine for wounds
      9. Tab.Amoxycillin - 250 mg
      10. Tab.Norfloxacin - 400 mg

      Caution:Not to be administered by untrained volunteers)

      My warm regards, Ammu Abraham
      From Prabir Purkayastha, Delhi Science Forum


      The Tamil Nadu Science Forum and Pondicherry Science
      Forum, the two constiteunts of All India Peoples
      Science Network (AIPSN) are involved with the relief
      work in the tsunami hit areas. Some details of this is
      attached here. For those desirous of sending relief
      and money, the details are as follows:

      For cheques/DD:

      Pondicherry Science Forum : SB Account No.19448

      Indian Overseas Bank, J.N.Street, Pondicherry-1

      Relief Mateial:

      Pondicherry Science Forum (No.46, II Street,
      P.R.Gardens, Reddiarpalayam, PONDICHERRY-605 010:
      Phone: 0413-2290733)

      Details are given in the mail and attachment below.


      The Pondicherry and Tamilnadu Science Forum in close
      coordination with other mass organisations( esp DYFI
      and AIDWA) and with AID India have set up a overall
      coordination mechanism and a distribution and outreach
      mechanism to reach out to the entire area of the
      affected. To do this the TNSF Chennai office is
      taking care of the relief work in Chennai town and the
      Malar/TNSF office of Kanyakumari is taking care of the
      work in Kanyakumari district. The rest of the area
      esp the Pondicherry- Cuddlaore Nagapattinam belt which
      is the main affected part is being coordinated from
      the PSF office. This entire large stretch has been
      divided into 4 areas which are furhter ssub-divided
      into 7 clusters with a senior coordinator in each area
      and a cluster level team helping out in each cluster.
      In each cluster there are 30 villages and a group of
      volunteers in each village. In some of these areas we
      have well established networks and therefore this has
      been relatively easy to set up whereas in other areas
      we have sent in volunteers.
      So far 6 truckloads of relief materials have been sent
      down this chain. This is a small drop in the ocean of
      needs- but on the other hand this has ensured that the
      chain is functional.
      We welcome contributions - but please time is
      important and we need to rush it in. Both cash( to go
      towards house- rebuilding the number one necessity)
      and more important clothes and blankets. No torn
      clothes please. Please find attached the details of
      contact of the relief coordination center of the
      Pondicherry Science Forum - a constituent of the
      AIPSN/BGVS and a part of the Jan swasthya abhiyan
      network. Whatever JSA constituents can do to reach us
      relief material for distribution would be welcomes and
      woould be gratefully acknowledged. We would also
      appreciate information on other relief material
      flowing in to any other source from you.One of the
      tasks we are undertaking is to form village level
      committes to over see local receipt and proper
      utilisation and distribution of relief material - one
      of the lessons we learnt from the Orissa cyclone
      Since the medical system is pretty much intact and
      functional - doctors would not have too much of a role
      but the essential ten medicines of the CHW list would
      be welcome.



      The Friday Times


      Zia Ahmed

      A foreign menace threatens us. We are under
      attack by an alien influence so insidious
      that most are unaware of its existence even as it
      undermines the very foundation of
      our society. Our language, the defining characteristic of our culture, is being
      subverted. In classrooms and offices, on
      television and radio, in casual and formal
      speech, our beloved Urdu is slowly being corrupted by another tongue.

      If you think what'got my goat is a simpering airhead on TV gushing "viewers,
      hum short break kay baad milte hain ,"youâ*™re
      mistaken (although the airhead is
      pretty annoying). The enemy is far too cunning
      for such an obvious attack. It works
      through underhanded means; deceit and subversion are its weapons. Allow me to

      Even though I graduated from college years ago, keeping in touch with the alma
      mater nurtures my Peter Pan complex. I subscribe
      to the email list of the Pakistanis
      on that American campus, an affiliation that
      keeps me up to date on local desi events:
      cultural, culinary or otherwise. Only recently,
      at the very beginning of the holy month,
      a flurry of emails landed in my inbox to mark the
      sighting of the moon. One annoyed
      me to no end.

      "Ramadhan Mubarak,"it proclaimed.

      Excuse me? Ramadhan ? I may not have fasted since
      I was sixteen, but I am pretty
      sure that the month of big appetites and short tempers is called Ramazan. What
      country are we from anyway?

      Dear Dada Abba, the stern family patriarch, often threatened me with physical
      violence for my inability to pronounce the Arabic
      duad . Eight year-old Quran readers
      across the nation are victim to this malaise. Confusingly, duad (the â'duhâ'
      sound) in Arabic is zuad (â'zuh) in Urdu. The language chips were stacked
      against poor Dada Abba. Since he could hardly force me into changing my name to
      Dia, correcting my pronunciation was a lost cause to begin with.

      Obviously, the (Pakistani) sender of the Ramadhan email had a more effective
      grandfather. Either that or he has succumbed
      completely to the alien menace. More
      and more Pakistanis, especially those in the
      diaspora, are incorporating Arabic into
      their everyday speech. This is a new wave of
      Arabic imperialism, different perhaps
      from the one started by Mr Bin Qasim in 712 AD, but just as decisive.

      Of course, Urdu speakers are no strangers to
      linguistic imperialism. The language,
      though indigenous to India, has always borrowed
      heavily from Farsi and Arabic, the
      languages of literature and philosophy. The
      founding fathers, cognisant of this,
      looked west " to Persia and Arabia " for the
      vocabulary of culture and erudition.
      This accident of history makes the contemporary
      Pakistani position on language rife
      with paradox.

      Is there another nation whose citizens do not
      understand their own national anthem
      because it'written in a foreign language? As a student, I sang it every day for
      eleven years (not very prettily, need I add). But
      even as an adult, I struggle with the
      unfamiliar words and alien grammar in the vain hope of understanding what the
      sweetest ode to our land actually means. And
      should we really celebrate the fact that
      the high priests of our culture, men like Ghalib
      and Iqbal, considered themselves to
      be primarily poets of Farsi, not Urdu?

      Ah, but that was then. Farsi and Arabic were the
      pillars of high culture. The times
      they are a-changing, sang Bob Dylan. My mother's Farsi BA notwithstanding, the
      number of fluent Farsi speakers in the country
      today can probably be counted on one
      hand (and a few feet). Similarly, despite
      PTV'bizarre efforts to educate the public
      through Arabic news bulletins, the sorry truth is
      that few understand the language of
      revelation. If my local maulvi sahib is relying
      on a recycled Friday khutba , surely the
      average school kid can be excused for lip-syncing the national anthem?

      More examples. A generation ago, Lollywood heartthrob Waheed Murad would start
      his day with cornflakes and a cheery "Adaab, ammi "The indigenous greeting
      of adaab is fast going the way of the dodo,
      having given way to Assalam alaikum .
      The (thoroughly indigenised) Persian khuda is
      another casualty of the war on Urdu;
      even Abbu has taken to signing off with "Allah hafiz "instead of the possibly
      pre-Islamic "Khuda hafiz "Pakistani Arabists are promoting wassalam as the
      next daisy-cutter against Urdu. What'next, Allah-o-Akbar chants at cricket
      matches? Wait, we already have those. How about a constitutional amendment to
      replace shukria with shukran ? Our Majlis-e-Shoora â*" the word "parliamentâ*?
      makes Arabic groupies itch â*" is just the
      sovereign body for the job. Maybe Ameer-
      ul-Momineen Musharraf should go for an
      enlightened clean sweep and declare Arabic
      the national language.

      Jokes aside, the linguistic imperialism cake by far goes to a gentleman of my
      acquaintance who has a truly novel catchphrase.
      In lieu of a simple goodbye or see
      ya, this gentleman relies upon a cheery inna
      lillahi wa inna ilahi raji'™un (« we are
      from God and to God we shall »). Every meeting with him leaves me as
      depressed as a visit to the Tariq Road graveyard
      where a certain ancestor of mine lies
      in restless slumber. Adaab , Dada Abba.



      India Pakistan Arms Race and Militarisation Watch Compilation # 148
      ( 31 December, 2004)
      URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IPARMW/message/158


      Buzz on the perils of fundamentalist politics, on
      matters of peace and democratisation in South
      Asia. SACW is an independent & non-profit
      citizens wire service run since 1998 by South
      Asia Citizens Web: www.sacw.net/
      SACW archive is available at: bridget.jatol.com/pipermail/sacw_insaf.net/

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      necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.
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