Two more SMS dispatches from my travels, posted on ChiensSansFrontiers. A few others seem to have vanished, and my phone has since given up the ghost.
The little three wheeler comes into the village and is immediately engulfed in reaching hands. Screaming women and kids and aggressive men vie to get their two kg packs of rice. Having got them they argue bitterly that the others were so greedy. The bottom line? Truly needy people miss out, those who have get more. This degradation is the most depressing thing about being here.
Even though the death toll in the tsunami is comparable to cyclone 99 and quake 01, we forget that the damage is confined to a narrow coastal belt. 200 meters inland you would not know this had happened. This is also linked to caste. those affected tend to be from lower e.g. Pariyar caste. In Nagore they told me nobody from their higher caste neighbours helped that day. They were angry about this. So was I. More on this later.
I made this trip with the help and guidance of the Association for India's Development (AID). They are cooperating in the field with volunteers from the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI). Now I saw plenty of other groups working in the affected areas. But nobody is more organized, dedicated and clear-headed about what they are doing and what they must achieve, than the AID and DYFI folks. If you'd like to contribute, or donate, or offer your time as a volunteer, call their office in Chennai: 91-44-2835-0403.
January 04, 2005
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I met a reader of DCubed's blog recently. She mentioned that even at times of a great natural calamity, Dilip tries to put his own spin based on religion and caste (upper caste hindus bad; everyone else good - reminds her of Animal Farm's "Four legged bad; Two legged good.")
I didn't know what to make of her comments. I had never met someone so adamant. "Comment on his blog", she insisted. "Comment on his blog". So I commented. I am commenting.
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