Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Losing everything in the Jakarta flooding

Though the horrific flooding has affected everyone in the Indonesian capital, consider this, from the Asia Sentinel: "Illegal squatters who live in 30-year-old “temporary” plywood houses occupy areas along the riverbanks. Efforts to evict them are ongoing and heavy handed but this time the floods have done the work. While five-star hotels are offering discounts to the wealthy in search of shelter, tens of thousands of the poor have lost everything in the last few days."

And as The Jakarta Post points out:

Poor public discipline and the disgraceful national habit of destroying the environment and dumping garbage into rivers are certainly a factor, along with unchecked growth in the capital that has resulted in more and more squatters on water catchment areas and along river banks.

But much more damaging has been the corruption in the bureaucracy and the power of lobbyists to win the day for commercial interests above all else.

The root cause thus lies in the immense power of vested interests in the government, the military and business conglomerates.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Olympia’s Poor Peoples Union needs your help.

Dear comrades,
Please consider the following story involving the ongoing struggle of the
PPU in Olympia Wa. Any coverage, contacts, or support you could lend
would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Dj Nuts & Bolts
Free Radio Olympia 98.5

Ps. Sorry for any cross list mailing that may occur

For immediate release
Regarding the imminent evacuation of “Tent City” Olympia
Ray Kavick, PPU Member
# (925)-285-5342

On February 1st, the day that the City of Olympia banned sitting,
panhandling or performing (except in designated areas) on the sidewalk,
the Poor People’s Union (PPU) set up a tent encampment in downtown
Olympia at the corner of Capitol and Columbia, since that time, the
encampment has grown to include 25 tents, each holding more than one
person, a kitchen, a portable toilet and a wooden, communal hall. Dozens
of local businesses and residents have donated food, clothing and other
assorted necessities. Trash has been consistently picked up by those in
the camp, arguments dealt with collectively, drugs and alcohol
effectively banned and no serious, debilitating incidents have occurred.
All of us in the camp view it as our home and respect it as such. People
who would have been sleeping outside alone, isolated from any sort of
community have now found one, a community with one thing in common: the
City has no concern for us as human beings. Now that we have begun to
take care of ourselves independently of the City, the local government
and their police are preparing to come and destroy the small, beautiful
place that we have built for ourselves. Our crime is NOT trespassing, is
NOT being unsanitary and is NOT being dangerous. Our crime is acting
independently and being more effective, more loving and more concerned
than them.
Today, February 6th, the city manager Steve Hall and the police chief
came down to the camp and, after kicking one of our tent poles over, gave
us a verbal order to disperse. At the City Council meeting tonight it
was made clear that they were not going to change their minds: the camp
had to go. And so, now, we are waiting for the police to come. When
they do, they will not just be taking down some tents, they will be
destroying what in five, long days has become our home.
We are asking for all of the support we can get. We need people to call
all of their friends, contact as many media sources as possible and
generally spread the word. We need people to physically be there for
support and to continue what we are doing when some of us are in jail.
We need this to be remembered. We need to show the City that they cannot
kick people and expect them to patiently await the next kick. They can
pull the same old tricks and have their police toss us back on the same
old streets, but they cannot destroy the community we have built. And
that community is not going to stop fighting.

Poor Peoples Union


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