Pakistan flood catastrophe: West gives `billions for killing, little for life'

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[Readers can donate to help flood victims via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at]
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By John Passant

August 15, 2010 -- 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 US$1 billion 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 A$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 of dollars 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 its supporting role for US imperialism.

`War on terror'

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 per cent 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.

Climate change

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

[This article first appeared on John Passant's blog, En Passant, and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission. John Passant is a member of Socialist Alternative in Australia.]

Submitted by Jane Ennis (not verified) on Thu, 08/19/2010 - 00:14


I heard on the news yesterday that the World Bank is going to LEND Pakistan several million dollars to help in this crisis.

LEND??? LEND????

Why can't they donate it??!!!

Submitted by Jeff Hopeck (not verified) on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 10:27


I agree with the comment from Shameless Aid. Where's that fine line between the money we are spending to fight vs. the money we are providing to countries for "aid?"

I would love reading a post that shows the amount of money we've donated to countries that we were at war with, either before or after the donation. Interesting stuff.

Thanks for sharing with us!