Monday, February 07, 2011

Climate change is the straw that breaks the capitalist camel's back

(February 07, 2011,  Lanka Polity Asian Development Bank has launched a project to improve the understanding of climate-induced migration, and stimulate policy debate on how to tackle the anticipated movement of millions of people due to changing weather patterns in the coming years.

ADB says that the ultimate aim of this is to encourage the adoption of responsible, foresighted policies and practices that improve management of human displacement due to climate change, and where practical, enable communities to stay where they are.

The link to the ADB project is here.

It is interesting to examine why the ADB had to take the climate change as a serious issue. Densely populated Asia Pacific region of the world has become the most vulnerable area of the Earth. Rarely a day passes without reports on massive destruction caused by adverse effects of climate change.

When this piece is being written, a large area of the island Sri Lanka is severely affected by floods, landslides and other effects of climate change.

Sri Lanka Minister of Peasants' Services and Wildlife S.M. Chandrasena says that 300,000 acres of paddy cultivations were completely destroyed due to recent floods.

Floods inundated 500,000 acres of paddy fields, damaged 458 big and small scale reservoirs, broke around 1000 irrigation canals and binds, the Minister stated.

Nine Peasants' Services Centers and seven fertilizer warehouses are also among the damaged property, he said.

Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mannar districts are the worst affected areas due to floods.
However, Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Yapa Abewardhana said to media that no scarcity of rice would be experienced by the country although floods hit the paddy cultivation hard. He said the country has buffer rice stocks for eight months.

Meanwhile, the prices of vegetables has escalated to historical records in Sri Lanka. About 32 thousand hectares of vegetable cultivation have been destroyed due to the inclement weather says Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture K.E. Karunathilaka.

Nearly 1.2 million people were affected by recent floods in Sri Lanka. Reports say the affected people are facing severe shortage of food commodities. Malnutrition will definitely follow the natural disasters.

One problem creates more problems and the world is in a vicious circle of effects of climate change.

World has begun to pay the costs of capitalist plunder of nature in the past few centuries. After all, all the rhetoric of the scientific and technological advancements of the capitalism has gone to dead silence before the embarrassing helplessness of the system.

Climate change and its effects are definitely the straw that breaks the capitalist camel's back.

Human society needs a better production system than capitalism that plunders man and nature to satisfy the greed of some. That is the socialism of the day.  

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

What is there to celebrate so much in the independence of Sri Lanka?

(February 05, 2011,  Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka celebrated the 63rd Independance Day at Katharama, with retarded elegance. The dusty road, the hurriedly half painted lamp posts with newly pasted election posters on them and the shabbily clad ordinary sectators depicted the under-development of the area.

The writer cannot guess what this country could look like now if it did not come under the British colonial rule. Perhaps, Sri Lanka may look like present Bhutan. However, the fact is a non-entity since the geographical and economical aspects relative to Sri Lanka might never let it be isolated like Bhutan. But one thing is definite. Sri Lanka faced a drastic change in this period and it is a rapid development under the modern concepts and terminology.

British brought Ceylon under one rule. By the beginning of the 15th century when Sri Lanka was invaded by Portuguese, the island was under at least five rulers, three in western side, one each centering Kandy and Jaffna.

To ascertain the unitary nature of the state, British rulers built a network of roads and railway that connected the various parts of the island. They turned Colombo to the administrative and economic capital of the country. For that, they bore a massive expenditure as well, i.e. a big portion of wealth they geberated from the island.

They brought Ceylon under single judiciary system, developed a legislature and introduced a modern development political structure later.

During the latter part of the colonial times, the leaders of the people of apparently accepted these things positively with a constructive criticism.

Anyhow, by the times Ceylon achieved independence, or better say, by the time the ruling powers were transfered to local elite, Lanka was an upcoming, democratic, developing state that was potential to build up as a Lankan nation

However, the rulers that came to power after the independence were prey of the voters that had not understood the core values of superimposed democracy and compelled to initiate measures that hindered the progress of the nation.

Disregarding the provisions compiled by the colonial constitution experts to prevent measures against minority communities, both indigenous Sinhala and Tamil leaders united to disenfranchise the Indian origin plantation worker community. Before long, the Tamils of Northern and Eastern Provinces also had to pay for their folly as the majority Sinhala leaders made the Tamils second class citizen through legalizing Sinhala only as official language in 1956.

Ethnic problem remains the major barrier to nation building and development even after 62 years from independence.

Was colonial rule so bad according to the modernist thinking pattern, sans the fact the King was from a far away nation? If it was so bad, what good we achieved following the so-called independence?

Can anybody explain how the exploitation under present system changes from the plunder in colonial times?

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