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August 2010
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If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

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Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (0)

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Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

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Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Floods in Pakistan; hypocrisy from the West

The floods in Pakistan have threatened the lives and safety of more than 20 million people. Millions have lost everything.

Now hunger and disease haunt the country. Dysentery and cholera are gaining a  foothold as people without homes starve and kids without Western help die.

The US gives the Pakistan Government $1 bn a year to fight ‘militants’. It has increased its flood aid contribution from $10 million to $25 million. That’s right. Its aid figures is millions, not billions.

That’s because for US imperialism cowering the world before its might is much more important than providing aid to people affected by the floods.

The Australian Government has given $10 million in relief and two aircraft delivering food.

The disgrace is that we in the West give billions for killing, little for life. And what aid we do give is too little too late.

Perhaps the billions saved by Australia if we withdrew from Afghanistan could be used to help Pakistan. But the war on terror will continue at the expense of aid for Pakistan. Australia will play is supporting role for US imperialism. 

The war on terror is a front for taming the world and keeping it safe for the profit of US companies. For the warmongers like Obama in charge of the US Empire profit is more important than people; hence the billions for war and the pittance for relief. 

While it is true that these floods are a regular occurrence, they appear to be more intense than in the past. For example the rain in July in some sections of the country was 180 percent higher than the long term average for the month.

The corrupt clique in charge of Pakistan built nothing in the last 30 years to protect people from the consequences of flooding. 

Zardari, Pakistan’s criminal President, campaigned in the UK for his son’s political career as the floods destroyed the lives of millions of his people. His bloodsucking dynasty is more important to him than his people. 

The priorities of Empire are so warped that the US won’t help many local Pakistani religious groups because they fear these people are ‘terrorists’. Their crime is helping their neighbours.

Far better for the US to deliver drone bombs bringing peace and democracy than to address the poverty of Pakistan.

There are other questions too. We in the West are exporting not only war to Pakistan. Now it looks as if we are exporting catastrophic climate change too, not just to Pakistan but to many areas of the planet.

The World Meteorological Organization puts it this way:

Several regions of the world are currently coping with severe weather-related events: flash floods and widespread flooding in large parts of Asia and parts of Central Europe while other regions are also affected: by heatwave and drought in Russian Federation, mudslides in China and severe droughts in sub-Saharan Africa. While a longer time range is required to establish whether an individual event is attributable to climate change, the sequence of current events matches IPCC projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming.

It was W H Auden who wrote:

I and the public know

What all schoolchildren learn,

Those to whom evil is done

Do evil in return.

9/11 showed the truth of these words.

So too will we reap our rewards by not helping our Pakistani brothers and sisters in their hour of need, and sending them bombs instead of food, water, medicines and shelter.

But it is not only human actions that produce blow back.

We continue to do evil to our environment. It looks as if it might be beginning to return our evil back to us in spades.

It was Rosa Luxemburg who warned that the choice for humanity was barbarism or socialism. 

The floods in Pakistan, their ultimate human causes and Empire’s inhuman response might well be the harbingers of a new and fast approaching age of barbarism.

The Labour Relief Campaign in Pakistan is appealing for donations from progressive organisations and individuals internationally. Australia readers can donate via the Australian trade unions’ aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.

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Comments

Comment from peter piper
Time August 16, 2010 at 9:41 am

charity begins at home…what have the pakis ever done to help themselves apart from taking over parts of UK and Europe? Most people I talkto just say that the more flooding there is, the less potential bombers will make it to adult hood. Anyway, its the ‘will of god’. allah has done something right for once

Comment from Abi
Time August 16, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Peter, have you ever been to Pakistan or for that fact any other Muslim country? I’m assuming not, with your xenophobic response. Most of the people affected in these areas wouldn’t even know who Osama bin Laden was let alone have sympathy for his views. Don’t be so narrow minded and think of the broader aspect of the article, which is trying to tell you that imperialism is the creation and maintenance of an unequal economic environment for those trying to impose. Consider yourself to be living in a very fortunate country and take the opportunity to travel around and broaden your views as i pray to Allah that people like you one day will realise that people power will overcome such inhumane atrocities.

Comment from John
Time August 16, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Abi, Peter is an arch reactionary who occasionally leaves his xenophobic comments on my blog. I leave them there to remind myself and others of the crass stupidity of the right wing in our society and the constant need to struggle against this type of rubbish and win a better world for all.

Comment from John
Time August 17, 2010 at 8:13 am

The Government has given $10 million in relief and two aircraft delivering food. I would add that the US upped its contribution from $10 million to $25 million.

The US gives $1 billion a year to the corrupt Pakistan Government to fight ‘militants’.

The disgrace is that we give billions for killing, little for life. And what aid we do give is too little too late.

And I wonder if the floods themselves are part of our export of climate change to the developing world? Certainly the World Meteorological Organization thinks it’s a possibility when it says the sequence of current events matches IPCC projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming.’

So on that ground alone we have a moral obligation to clean up the mess we have contributed to in Pakistan.

That means climate change action now in Australia – Gillard didn’t mention it in her campaign launch – and a massive increase in aid to Pakistan immediately.

Perhaps a tax on the super profits of mining companies that might help pay for that funding and longer term action on climate change could be one option?

Or perhaps the billions saved by withdrawing from Afghanistan could be used for those purposes.

Comment from Toddy
Time August 19, 2010 at 7:05 pm

This is a really sad situation. I don’t think this flooding is getting enought media coverage.