Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 05/Jan/2005: "Action, not Silence"

[Previous entry: "That was bound to happen"] [Home] [Next entry: "Strange World"]

Action, not Silence

Warning, potentially offensive posting ahead: Today three minutes silence were observed for the victims of the Tsunami in Asia. I participated reluctantly. To me these minutes of silence are empty gestures. For me they don't achieve anything. I'd very much prefer to see some real action instead of partly false expressions of compassion.

There was an interesting discussion on the Today Programme this morning (Real Media stream). It doesn't happen often, but at least partly I have to agree with two Tory MPs, Boris Johnson in the discussion on the Today Programme as well as Roger Gale.

I don't need a state imposed silence to reflect, I very much prefer to reflect at my own pace, in my own time. And not only for 3 minutes. If I had relatives or friends killed, be it in a natural disaster, terrorist attack or accident, I don't think this kind of respect would make any difference to me. I also very much doubt that a mother in Thailand who has just lost her husband, some of her children, her home and her livelihood will care much about Europeans standing in around in a mawkish silence for three minutes.

What would make a difference is some real action: Boris Johnson mentioned textile tariffs in the Today Programme discussion. We have made it difficult (and still do) for those countries to sell to our markets, which at least partly is one of the reasons why there wasn't a Tsunami warning system. Then there's the debt. The countries in the impacted region have debts in the region of USD 360bn, requiring annual repayments of something like USD 45bn. And how much are the aid pledges? A paltry USD 3bn. I know that the people who benefit from the aid and those who owe the debts can't really be compared, nevertheless I find the discrepancy staggering. Despite those debts Indonesia seems to have a military budget somewhere in the range of USD 1bn (latest available data), some of which is spent to buy weaponry from the UK. How is it possible that we still sell weapons to these heavily indebted countries?

That's what I would like governments and the EU spend time on (not to forget all of us), hopefully more than three minutes, addressing these real issues instead of hollow three minutes of silence.

End of entry

Entry trivia

End of entry trivia

Advertising section

End of advertising section

Spread the word:

Do you like this weblog? Do you think others might be interested in it? Then please tell a friend! Thank you.