Tragedy In The Philippines
I have been greatly affected this week by the heart-rending events in the Philippines where many close friends live. The scale of the human loss is simply numbing: more than 1,000 are dead or unaccounted for; a further 170,000 are stricken by the severe flooding following the two fierce typhoons that ravaged the Pacific coast. People are running out of food and medicines. Of course, the Philippines and other countries in the region are not unused to such "natural" catastrophes. If there is anything hopeful to come out of this latest one it is the growing realisation that human agency is also greatly to blame: the rapacious activities of the logging companies and the idiocies of a government locked into unsustainable development policies. We've been here before, of course. Mike Davis's brilliant Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino, Famines, and the Making of the Third World reminds us of today's events as the tragic reiteration of an historical era. The link is the cruel and ongoing folly of local and international ruling elites.