Socialist Worker

Drop the debt: Money for aid, not Iraq war

Issue No. 1933

ORDINARY PEOPLE across the globe have united in solidarity and practical aid for the victims of the tsunami.

They have given a glimpse of a truly human world and have shamed the rich men who style themselves the leaders of the “international community”.

By the start of this week people in Britain had donated over £76 million. The government’s response was pitiful, eventually offering only to match what people with no great wealth and no positions of power had already given.

The total aid pledged by the US government at the start of this week was less than what it spends in a day and a half on the war and military occupation in Iraq.

Tony Blair’s government has promised only five and half days of its Iraq war spending. Just as half-hearted are his claims that he is tackling the debt of countries in the tsunami zone.

Blair and Gordon Brown are proposing a “moratorium” on debt repayments. But the burden will remain. So too will the demands that poor countries pursue the free market policies that placed millions of people in ramshackle buildings on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

We should not let Blair, Bush and the world’s elites get away with it. We should continue to shame them as we raise solidarity for the tsunami victims.

We should demand the British government ratchets up the level of aid enormously and diverts funds from killing people in Iraq to saving lives in the disaster zone. Instead of rescheduling the debt the British government should simply cancel it.

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Sat 8 Jan 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1933
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