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By M'Hamed Ben Youssef
October 17 - 23 Issue
Tunis Hebdo - Original Article (French)
Ten days after the earthquake that devastated South Asia, particularly Pakistani Kashmir, it is still impossible to make a precise assessment of the catastrophe. One speaks of 25,000 dead, even 53,000 and more than 60,000 wounded. Tens of thousands of these were evacuated to the few remaining hospital standing upright, since a thousand of these disappeared. One counts, already, 2.5 million people left homeless.
Tens of villages and several cities were
wiped out. And the regional capital, Muzaffarabad is in ruins. The catastrophe
The outlook for Kashmir, on the threshold of a hard winter, is very dim. And Islamabad [
Such a cataclysm incites one to reflection. As before, we have witnessed the failure of the international community to act with solidarity, an absence of solidarity between the rich and poor countries of this world, a world that is fast on its way to becoming irretrievably split.
And though the help, which began to arrive after a 72-hour delay, and after a fashion began to be organized, hordes of dazed survivors, left to themselves and exhausted with hunger, were not kept from wandering the rubble amongst the decomposing corpses. The situation is all the more intolerable, as several of the disaster-hit regions are mountainous. Hard to access, the relief effort quickly sank back into ineffectiveness.
-- International assistance is arriving
-- Arab and Muslim relief proved, in their turn, to be of little help, owing to the fact that these independent aid organizations were dissolved after the September 11 attacks, due to American fears that they were funding Jihadis. International humanitarian assistance is adjudged meaningless compared, for example, with the aid provided after the disastrous floods caused by Hurricane Katrina. The evacuated American population of Louisiana, at last, were placed in luxurious hotels at a cost of ten of million of dollars per day! But the Pakistanis, they were not even entitled to medication to relieve the suffering of their multitude of wounded.
-- The United Nations proved, once again, its obvious incapacity. Here we are, 60 years after the formation of this prestigious organization, and it has never condescended to create an international executive capable of responding to natural disasters or even to carry out rapid interventions when necessity requires. Kofi Annan should make doing so one of his top priorities, especially as two to three such apocalyptic events seem to befall humanity each year. But alas, he doesn’t even think of it!
The devastation of this terrifying earthquake
would have been far less severe if the buildings in this area of
Moreover, several of his Pakistani detractors
believe very strongly that this earthquake is heaven’s penalty for the
intrigues of their leader. The same applies to Bush, according to these
same informers, in regard to the torments of "Katrina" as well
as his loss of popularity, because he displeased God by deciding to occupy
None of these surreal calculations answer
to any objective criterion. But this simply indicates that many people
apportion some share of the blame for these events to the blunders of our
decision makers. These include some in their own ranks, such as the President
of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, renowned for his outspokenness. According to
him, all of the recent major catastrophes that have occurred, in