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New York Sector
 

Press Release Subject:

Proutist Universal Issues Statement on Tsunami Disaster

Proutist Universal, Inc

P.O. Box 56533
Washington, DC 20040 USA
Tel: +1-301-231-0110
Email: nysector@prout.org
Web:
www.prout.org

Economic Democracy, Cooperatives, Regional Self-Reliance

For Immediate Release: 

Proutist Universal Issues Statement on Tsunami Disaster

January 13, 2005

For more information contact prcny@prout.org or call 914 843-0874

The powerful earthquake that struck deep beneath the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, triggered a deadly tsunami which caused immense suffering and damage in at least 12 countries. On behalf of members of Proutist Universal, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to all those affected by this catastrophe.

More than 150,000 people have lost their lives, at least one million people have lost their homes, and five million people need continued direct assistance in the form of clean drinking water, food, clothing and shelter.

While we support the global outpouring of aid, the disaster should also awaken commitment to people-centered economic development and economic justice. It cannot be ignored that this tsunami discriminated against the poor, as do most natural disasters. The poor cannot afford to build solidly constructed homes, nor can they necessarily choose where to live, away from floodplains or muddy hillsides.

Many poor countries cannot afford disaster warning systems, nor can they quickly mobilize food, emergency housing, clean water and medical supplies.  Thus, natural disasters which would bring only temporary hardship in developed countries routinely cause the death of thousands in the developing world.

Defective socio-economic systems which perpetuate poverty and underdevelopment lie at the root of the scale of this disaster.

Inspections after the 1999 earthquake in Turkey that killed 17,000 people reveal that the earthquake destroyed flimsy and illegally constructed buildings, whereas the solid construction remained unaffected. A large percentage of Turks died because the building contractors were operating in an economic system of profit-maximization and constructed buildings that were too shoddy to withstand the moderate seismic shocks.  While we realize that we cannot prevent earthquakes, we feel strongly that profit must never be placed ahead of the safety, security and welfare of all life.

Reports from India state that the mangroves in the Pitchavaram and Muthupet regions acted like a shield and bore the brunt of the destruction from the tsunami.  Mangrove swamps--a unique and threatened coastal ecosystem--have been nature's protection against floods, cyclones and tsunamis for thousands of years. Due to shrimp farming, coastal tourism and global warming, almost half of the world's mangrove forests have now disappeared.

Much of the responsibility for this enormous death toll must therefore rest with governments and, on the global level, with faulty “free market” policies that consistently place profit-motives above the welfare of local people. The tourism boom in the Asia-Pacific region coincided with the destructive fallout of the growth in shrimp cultivation. Much of the destruction of mangroves has impoverished local people, destroyed the mangrove ecology in order to maximize profits for a few, and has made these local populations more vulnerable in times of disaster.

We cannot prevent tsunamis, but we can and must prevent environmental destruction due to defective market policies. We must work to ensure that the local economy primarily benefits local people through the creation of worker and producer cooperatives.

The late Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, the author of Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT), noted that deforestation is one of the most important causes of environmental destruction today. Sarkar also observed that deforestation can cause both droughts and floods. More importantly, since deforestation is caused by faulty socio-economic systems, it is within human reach to prevent such degradation of nature and therefore minimize the destruction caused by a natural disaster.

Proutist Universal calls for immediate efforts to restore the lost coastal and mangrove vegetation as well as for the protection of those still remaining.  These natural coastal ecosystems serve as buffer zones and help to protect coastal populations at risk.

Economic activity in and around these coastal forests must be environmentally sustainable and must primarily benefit the local population to help increase their standard of living and purchasing capacity.  Moreover, in those areas where the fragile mangrove ecosystem has already been destroyed, Proutist Universal calls upon governments to embark upon massive reforestation and other environmental restoration projects as soon as possible.

Proutist Universal urges all grassroots organizations, disaster relief agencies and governments to immediately integrate these points of policy into their efforts of developing solutions to the psychological, ecological, economic and social complex of problems that the victims of the tsunami are facing.  The impact of all natural disasters must be minimized in the future through establishing balanced and integrated economic and environmental policies that place the welfare of all life always above profit and greed.

For more information about Prout, please visit www.prout.org or www.proutworld.org.


Press Release Subject:
Reflections on Attacks Against the United States of America
Date:                             
8 October 2001 
Author:                          
Proutist Universal
New York Sectorial Office
(for North and Central America, Caribbean Islands, Hawaiian Islands)
P.O. Box 56533
Washington, DC 20040 USA
+1 (202) 829-2278
Fax: +1 (202) 829-0462
Email: nysector@prout.org


Statement:
Proutist Universal joins with people throughout the world in grieving for the loss of so many lives in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.   We also encourage all to join in the worldwide outpouring of assistance to those directly touched by the tragedy.

As the United States of America begins its counterattack against those responsible for the atrocity, we urge it to use the opportunity to reflect on the long-term impact of its actions and its place in the world.  Following a period of increasing isolation these incidents have forcibly opened the Unites States to the world, as it reaches out to allies and friends.  Joining the United States in outrage against the attacks, many countries have offered assistance.  We urge the United States to maintain and expand this goodwill by moving beyond a purely military response by becoming an active force for sustainable development, economic justice and human rights, so that those who use terror will not likely find a sympathetic harbor anywhere in the world.

Time is pressing for framing global laws that can address the needs of a newly emerging global outlook. Citizens today are globally linked and they have started to work together in all fields of life at the global level. They have developed a taste for the ever-expanding vista of universalism, yet our laws are based on outdated tenets.

Any delay in recognising the need for establishing universal human values in our global institutions and systems will contribute to continued global crises.  Proutist Universal, which promotes a concept of world government, urges all nations to meet and agree upon the following in order to address the aspirations of humanity while ensuring peace, progress and prosperity:

  1. A common penal code for all countries of the world,
  2. A constitution that guarantees the security of life to all, including plants and animals,                                                                                                               
  3. A constitutional guarantee of purchasing capacity for minimum necessities to all citizens, and
  4. Four universal rights for all citizens on the planet:
As the dominant nation on the international stage today the world expects much from the United States.  It has to play a judicious role that effectively promotes humanistic concerns. As it leads the world in dealing with issues related to international terrorism, the need for the United States today is to rethink its foreign policy and work towards policies that can bring lasting good and happiness to all. That would be a great step forward in boosting universal values such as liberty, freedom and justice for which the United States of America stands.

Proutist Universal Inc.
Washington, DC, USA


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