6 May 2014

Landslide

Afghans search for survivors after Friday's landslide buried Abi-Barik village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, Saturday, May 3, 2014. Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels rushed on Saturday to help villagers hit by a massive landslide in the remote northeast a day earlier, officials said, while fears of a new torrent of mud and earth complicated rescue efforts. (AP Photo/Sayed Ibrahim)
Last Friday, after heavy rain, millions of tons of earth and shale slid down a mountainside and engulfed half of the village of Ab-Barik in Badakhshan - which is Afghanistan's most northerly province. People from the other half of the village rushed to help and then the mountain slid some more. An estimated two thousand people have lost their lives.

It didn't take long for this disaster to leave the western media's spotlight on current world events. Other, more interesting topics apparently needed reporting such as the release of a handful of international negotiators in Syria, Prince Harry breaking up with his mousey girlfriend, the arrest of Gerry Adams in Antrim and continuing political unrest in Ukraine.

I watched footage from Ab-Barik.  Exhausted and hollow-eyed mountain people seemed dazed by the horror of what had happened. Some were digging with shovels, pieces of wood or their bare hands as their neighbours lay many feet below them - entombed by earth. But as I looked at this footage I noticed a terrible absence. There were no American soldiers, no British soldiers either - even though thousands are still stationed in Afghanistan. 

How many millions of dollars and pounds and euros have been spent on the military campaign in Afghanistan? One might imagine that these troops are there to help Afghanistan towards a better future - at least that is the story we are meant to believe. But when it came to the crunch and the village of Ab-Barik needed help there was no whirring of helicopters, no foreign troops taking off their combat gear, no engineers or mechanical diggers flown in.

If they really, genuinely and truly cared about the plight of the Afghan people, Western leaders would have committed significant resources to the disaster zone. Maybe none of the victims could have been rescued but if a mountain slid down upon a village in Wales or Wyoming you bet your life it would have been the top news item for a week or more and troops would have been tripping over each other in a frantic bid to help.

It seems that The West is only there on a glorified witch hunt - chasing an ever elusive terrorist threat,  and in some twisted way avenging 9/11. They clearly don't care that those who died at Ab-Barik were people too. Well, that's my opinion. What do you think?

22 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more with you, Yorky. Similar happened here re coverage (or lack thereof) of this disaster...of this tragedy.

    More coverage is being given here today on two of our very rich men (and I mean very, very rich) who got into a tussle with each other yesterday...I could say "punch-up", but I doubt either would be able to punch their way out of a wet paper bag. That's beside the point, however...the coverage of their disgraceful, childish public behaviour is being shoved down our throats all day (and night) long...by every form of media. It's unbelievable. They should hang their heads in shame. Just about every day we hear about someone being punched; hitting their head on the pavement and dying; and these two clowns decided to have a fight, in broad daylight, outside the elaborate home of one. One is the CEO of Ch. 9 here in Australia and earns $10m a year; the other player is James Packer (worth around $8billion...grandson and son of media moguls, Sir Frank Packer and Kerry Packer) - great examples to us mere mortals....

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    1. Sounds like these two rich idiots should have been supplied with parachutes and dropped on Ab-Barik to help with recovery. No need to inspect their parachutes before the drop.

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  2. I missed this.....I have just looked it up. It is shameful that troops weren't deployed. I guess there is little chance of any survivors but it would have been humane to send help and be certain.
    I guess the royals partying take precedence in a society that seems obsessed with their half witted antics.

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    1. If you could live your life again Adrian, I am sure you would make an excellent royal footman. Which palace/castle would you prefer? I am guessing Balmoral. Or should that be Immoral?

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  3. The new cycle will move on. The troops will move on. And the people will still be dirt poor and live in fear for their lives. And our governments buy their way into power with tax cuts and (ok I'm going to say it) racist policy. It makes no sense.

    A great post in amongst all the bird posts (like mine) and pictures of cats.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thanks for calling by Stewart. So pleased that I don't have a monopoly on cynicism.

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  4. Sometimes I think we know too much about the world.
    Every bit of bad news, every bit about conflict.... Every bit about everything
    It's overwhelming
    Sometimes we just need to change when we CAN change
    Does that make sense?

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    1. I am not quite sure what you mean by this John. Would you elaborate?

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    2. Makes sense to me ~ sometimes all overwhelming when all we can't even seem to change our own little patch.

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    3. That's exactly what I mean carol....it shouldn't mean we can't try but because new s is SOO IMMEDIATE NOW.... We just can't help being overwhelmed by everything and anything

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    4. Occupying western troops could have made a vital contribution to the disaster response in Ab-Barik even though we are bombarded by news. The mountain still slid down up the village no matter what we might think about the volumes of news we process.

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  5. You are right, YP. Our soldiers should have helped. Have you tried RT News? You sometimes find out things that are going on around the world about 2 months before it hits the mainstream nitwits.

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    1. In my little apartment in Bangkok I would sometimes watch RT and Al-Jazeera simply because I couldn't always pick up BBC World News. You are right that RT does put a very different slant on world news.

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  6. And we're having a lovely time in Positano. Makes you grateful for the life you were fortunate enough to be born into doesn't it?

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    1. Yes it does Helen though r\rarely do we stop to appreciate our good fortune.

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  7. I didn't even know about it as I've been away and had no news. But you're quite right. It's appalling.

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    1. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. It seems that the victims of the landslide are quickly being forgotten. Perhaps thy were all terrorists - even the babies and the little children. Perhaps it was the will of Allah.

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  8. This seems to be American media's rule of thumb: It takes at least 1000 foreign lives to equal the life of one of "us." So Washington's landslide last month that claimed maybe 20 lives was something to be reported daily for a couple of weeks, with reporters sticking microphones in front of every survivor to hear their tales. But Afghanistan? It would take at least 20,000 casualties to even register that an event had happened. You're entirely correct, our troops needed to be there helping any way they could. But you know, that wouldn't be profitable for whichever of Dick Cheney's war supply companies are directing events there.

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    1. Jan - you are the queen of cynicism and of mistrust of politicians. That's part of your appeal!

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  9. While I take your point, YP, that the press moves on when the world’s tragedies are either too difficult to understand or too far away to concern them, I would in this case point out NGOs aid was on the ground in the village within hours. Those dead were buried under thirty feet of mud (the village is between two mud sliding mountains). Not something helicopters or earth movers could do much about.
    In the extensive coverage given this is the NY Times and elsewhere here today that the aid was there within hours, that the villagers were arguing about who should be on the list to receive it since the poor (are they all not poor there are they not?) from other villages arrived and were managing to get on the list of survivors. The Red Crescent representatives were having a difficult time sorting out who was there when all this happened and who were not.
    What it came down to in the word of the spokesman was to believe the village elders list and give them the aid, or simply withhold the aid until the tribal chieftains in the area stopped squabbling about who deserved it. They gave them the food, blankets, tents and so forth and left sorting it out for later.
    I assure you I am one of the first to wonder what American GI in the country was doing, but it also seems in this case, to have been a problem among the Afghans themselves and not something any number of “foreign troops” could have either helped or fixed. Cynicism, when healthy is a good thing, when it is proved unwarranted, it needs to be acknowledged or we will all become the same as the “let them eat cake” tinfoil hat crowd that we suffer here across the pond.
    Regards,
    Reamus

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    1. Reamus
      Thanks for this interesting and thought-provoking response. My initial reaction was based upon what I saw on my TV screen last weekend - a medieval scene with no foreign troops in evidence. When I referred to whirring helicopters I was thinking of the terrain and the idea that helicopters would be the best way of bringing people to that remote village. The earth movers could have been involved in stabilising the site in case of further landslides. I remain comfortable with my view of Ab-Barik's tragedy and the aftermath.

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    2. As well you should. Remain comfortable, I mean. After all, this is but my opinion and all are entitled to their own in the world I was brought up in.
      Thanks for the reply,

      Reamus

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