Welcome to the Sunday, September 11, 2005 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!

While this email is only coincidentally being sent on the anniversary of 9/11, its implications are woven in the two chief concerns below.  Hopefully in the next issue will be a research report done by an intern on the definition and roots of terrorism.  That aside, it is hoped that everyone will take a moment to pause and touch again the pain and tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001.



The terrible devastation of Hurricane Katrina has brought us horrific images for two weeks now.  If you would like to help but don’t have access to any community outlet, then click below for a list of some of the major donation organizations.  Separately, at the end of this email, is a brief summary and reflection on some of the controversial topics emerging from the broader scope of this disaster.

To donate to Katrina relief (2 filtered lists of agencies):



This week nations from around the world will gather to consider reforms to the UN, as it approaches its 60th birthday. The stakes are high. The agenda is daunting, covering three broad areas: (a) to bolster action to reduce poverty in half, combat AIDS, etc (called the previously agreed upon Millennium Development Goals); (b) to make the UN more capable of addressing security issues, from genocide to terrorism; and (c) to overhaul the UN bureaucracy. See Status link below, for a more complete list of the various issues at stake and the status of the frenzied negotiations as of Sunday night.

While these proposals were worked out over the last year or so, the US weighed in three weeks ago, suddenly demanding over 700 changes. While the list contains some legitimate concerns, some people view the list as an attempt to derail the process. To add your voice of support for the best outcome follow the link below:

Email you voice of support (US citizens):

   Debate Status: http://ga0.org/campaign/UNMDG
   UN Millennium Goals: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals



Three years ago, a UWAA email helped alert people to some terrible consequences that a Coca Cola bottling plant was having on the local people and environment in a small Indian community. The plant was eventually closed. A recent request has come to once again apply pressure, this time to keep the plant from re-opening. If you agree with the analysis, you can take action below:

Express your concern (Fax can be edited):



This section has no associated action and is simply provided for further reflection on the Katrina disaster, examining some of the indirect implications.

1. Slow Response and FEMA.
The agency called FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is tasked to be a primary response during a major catastrophe. While having previously had a good history of response, it failed miserably here. Many have argued that because FEMA came under Homeland Security, that it basically got lost in the bureaucracy. Yet according to C. E. Ervin (the department's former inspector general, in a New York Times article of Sept 8/05), the main problems were insufficient funding and poor recent leadership. He suggests that because there are many common tasks in the aftermath of a natural disaster and terrorist attack, it makes sense to have a single branch responsible for the common needs (evacuation, food, water medical supplies, handling of corpses and so on). As well, the head of FEMA is only one extra call away from the US president so it really isn't buried in bureaucracy; it simply needs competent leadership which it previously had before Bush's appointment of Michael Brown, an appointment largely viewed by other commentators in cronyism terms.

2. Economic & Political Policies.
Many analysts have indicated that the insufficient funding of FEMA is part of the larger implications of a broad economic policy that has placed too little weight on common good issues and too much weight on issues of privatization and individual tax break focus (or, alternatively stated, an ideological hostility to serve the public good, Paul Krugman, NYT, Sept 5/05).

3. Environmental Policies.
Katrina became a Level 5 hurricane when it went over the warm water of the Gulf. It is too simplistic to say that global warming made it a level 5 (a Princeton expert suggested the increased warmth of the water at this point would only have raised a hurricane's level by at most a half point), but it does illustrate what can be anticipated. Environmental critics suggest that Bush's aversion to take a tough stand on global warming issues will only exacerbate such natural disasters. They also point to his undercutting such EPA standards as wetland protection (these can help buffer storm surges) as further examples of misdirected policies.

4. The issue of Racism.
For many people Katrina brought the issue of racism clearly onto our TV sets: simply stated, the overwhelming percentage of victims of Katrina were black. They were the victims because of their poverty. Again this is an indirect consequence, revealing how one group has failed to thrive in the current American economic-cultural dynamics. As an email concerned about the "well-being of all", Katrina has laid bare the crucial need to address such gut-wrenching consequences to poverty.

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UWAA: This endeavour is being placed under the overall rubric of "Until Well-being is Achieved for All."

Volunteers Needed:  If you can provide one hour per week or month, tracking down concrete actions to help strengthen this effort, please click the UWAA Reply button below, and add a Subject Line: “UWAA: Edit” and place any comments in the body.  Diverse perspectives especially welcome.

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Rod Downing

Surrey BC Canada
(604) 535-6550