Tsunamis and the Third World

The Dan Margolis piece (PWW 1/15-21) describing the lost lives in the tsunami because of the lack of an early warning system is right on. There are other preventive measures that save countless lives in other developed areas of the world. Most noted are the massive retaining walls built in Japan and elsewhere that have repelled tsunamis in the past. Yes, it takes money, concern and priority, things that have been denied the Third World nations.

But there are other parameters that Margolis did not get to. In the aftermath of nature’s anger, thousands of lives were either damaged or lost because of the dearth of infrastructural facilities in Southern Asia: transportation, health care facilities, and personnel. Medical supplies, ambulances, potable water and sanitation, etc., are not available in nations that are forced to spend half their income on debt service to the banking institutions of the developed world that steal the undeveloped world’s natural resources and exploit their labor forces.

Future tsunamis and other natural disasters will continue to play havoc until the world’s wealth is divided so we all share in its bounty. There is enough for all. It just has to be spread around.

Don SloanNew York NY

Free the Cuban Five

A short news story on the Internet sparked my curiosity: “Angolan Leader Honors Cuban Fighters Killed in Africa.” For those of us who know the history of the struggle for justice in the south of the African continent, the country of Angola is pivotal. For many of us the shame at how the United States supplied and trained the South African racist military monster in terrorizing the whole area is ever present.

Not so for the citizens of Cuba. From the bosom of Cuba came the response: 300,000 Cubans volunteered, traveling across the Atlantic to serve with honor in the cause of justice and international solidarity. They fought bravely and cunningly. They defeated the most highly trained and equipped troops the South Africans could muster. Together the Angolans and Cubans changed the course of the history on that continent. They inflicted such a blow that the very core of that system, apartheid South Africa, was mortally wounded.

Our country should have given its citizenry the opportunity to assist on the side of justice in that fight. It did not. And now several of those Cubans who did serve in Angola are imprisoned in our jails. Empower yourself to oppose their political imprisonment (www.freethefive.cjb.net). Learn about this case through the film “Mission Against Terror.” It is the story of how citizens of exceptional integrity and bravery came to enlist in the struggle against terror in south Florida and expose this wrong. Free the Five!

Stephen PaulmierPhiladelphia PA

Wal-Mart’s dirty tricks

I know all about Wal-Mart. I worked for them in the past. They did me real dirty. They made it so bad for me that I had to quit. I was told I could work somewhere else in the store, but they lied. I was told I could work only during the week and have the weekends off because I had to raise three of my grandchildren. They made me fill out a new application to cut my hours to only work the weekends and days so I could take care of the kids. But when they posted it up on the board they made me work every weekend and at nights knowing I could not do that.

A readerVia e-mail

We can bring them home, again

Lorenzo Torrez recalls (PWW 1/8-14) the mass antiwar protests by the American people against U.S. aggression in Vietnam. These protests, with widespread antiwar actions by GIs in Vietnam, antiwar actions by rank-and-file trade unionists, and the heroic stand by Vietnam, did in fact end the U.S. aggression and bring the soldiers home. Torrez then expresses confidence that the American people can do it again — end the war in Iraq, bring the soldiers home.

I express support for this confidence and cite an earlier example of mass antiwar action by the American people. This was in 1946 after the end of World War II. In the Philippines the U.S. military command, for Cold War geopolitical reasons, refused to discharge the U.S. soldiers occupying the large naval bases of the newly independent country.

The enraged GIs staged mass protests. They were supported by mass marches and rallies across the U.S. I remember marching with many others, including local shipbuilding trade unionists, down the main drag of Camden N.J., and, then a newly honorably discharged veteran, being asked to address the rally. We brought them home in 1946!

George FishmanNew Haven CT

Great news about Google

Thanks for the excellent reporting over the years. I’m tickled that thousands of people who look at Google online will also get a look at the PWW. To me, the pww.org web site ought to be at the top of the best hits for anyone who’s able to browse, read, and vote. I’m tickled that the PWW is more visible online. My annual check to the PWW is on the way. Thanks, again!

Dale AdamsPittsburgh PA

What happened?

Thank God my father is no longer around to witness the sad conditions our country is in today. He was an immigrant, hard-working, who came through Ellis Island in the 1920s.

He loved this country for what it stood for: true freedom and democracy. Both he and my mother worked hard to provide us children a decent home. I dare say if he were to return from his grave and see the situation our country is in, the dishonesty and corruption of the leaders, he would not believe it. What has happened to our country?

I recently read an amazing story of a 12-year-old girl writing her diary on a passenger ship heading to New York from Europe in the 1890s. Her great-granddaughter found the diary. In it she refers to the “moral values” that her papa told her they all would have to learn from America and its people.

Will someone please tell me what has happened to that? I am sure that our founding fathers wanted moral values to be dominant in our government. How do we get back to that?

Jad A. GhanemTucson AZ