terça-feira, dezembro 30, 2003
Terramotos: Bam e Califórnia
Artigo de David Aaronovitch no Guardian.
Some will see this as simply a natural disaster of the kind to which Iran, according to Khatami, is "prone". Four days earlier, however, there had been another earthquake of about the same intensity, this time in California. In which about 0.000001% of the buildings suffered serious structural damage and two people were killed when an old clocktower collapsed. So why the polar disparity between Bam and Paso Robles?
This is not a silly question. True, the Californians are much richer than the Iranians. But if you believed everything you read in the works of M Moore and others, you would anticipate a culture of corporate greed in which safety and regulation came way behind the desire to turn the quick buck. Instead you discover a society in which the protection of citizens from falling masonry seems to be regarded as enormously important.
Whereas in Iran - for all its spiritual solidarity - the authorities don't appear to give a toss. The report in this paper from Teheran yesterday was revealing. It was one thing for the old, mud-walled citadel to fall down, but why the new hospitals? An accountant waiting to give blood at a clinic in the capital told our correspondent that it was a "disgrace that a rich country like ours with all the revenue from oil and other natural resources is not prepared to deal with an earthquake".
So why, despite the loss of 40,000 lives in the Gilan earthquake of 1990, had nothing been done? The same question was being asked back in the queue outside the clinic. Fariba Hemati told the Guardian what she thought of official efforts, "Our government is only preoccupied with slogans: 'Death to America', 'Death to Israel', 'Death to this and that'. We have had three major earthquakes in the past three decades. Thousands of people have died but nothing has been done. Why?"
As she was queueing Jahanbakhsh Khanjani, spokesman for Iran's interior ministry, was denying that a team from Israel was coming to help. "The Islamic Republic of Iran," he told the press, "accepts all kinds of humanitarian aid from all countries and international organisations, with the exception of the Zionist regime." The Israelis, of course, have some reputation for rescue work, but it was ideology rather than humanity that was at stake here
What, I wonder, has Arundhati Roy to say now about the superiority of traditional building methods over globalised ones? Some Iranians might think that it's a shame there wasn't a McDonald's in Bam. It would have been the safest place in town.
posted by Miguel Noronha 7:51 da tarde
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