LET HIM TAKE BIRTH, AGAIN, IN EVERY HEART

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Madhu Sudan Das

India’s first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, when a student, had organized Bihar Students’ Conference at Motihari in 1912. The conference had the rarest opportunity of being presided over by the father of Oriya nationalism, Mr. Madhusudan Das, addressed with affectionate reverence as Madhubabu, who to one and all was the personification of probity and in whom it was absolutely settled that there was no difference between one’s mother and motherland

“Personally I associate my love for my country with my mother”; he had told the conference.

“It was my mother who presented me as her offering to my country. When I was in the dark chambers of my mother’s womb, I drank and drew my mother’s blood. She starved herself to give me nourishment. This was an object-lesson on self-denial to me and with this lesson of self-denial ingrained in my nature, she presented me as a sacred offering of her to my country. This lesson on the importance of self-denial was reiterated every moment of my childhood, for she nourished with blood from her heart – blood whose color and taste her sacred love had changed – blood changed into milk. When I grew stronger and looked for stronger nourishment than mother’s milk, my country fed me and clothed me”.

None of us Indians, and none in the world, as far as I have meticulously probed to find out, has ever seen the motherland as the mother by birth in this vein.

Today is his birth anniversary. We in orissamatters.com join the entire Oriya race in remembering him with love and reverence. But I offer my oblations to his beloved mother Parvati Devi who had “offered” this matchless man to “my country”, the man to whom the country became his mother.

My reverence also goes to Raghunath Das, for having fathered the father of my nation, the Oriya nation.

The first Oriya to have a Masters degree, the first Oriya to be a Vakil, the first Oriya to be an Advocate, the first Oriya to visit Europe, the first Oriya member of the Provincial and Viceregal Legislative Councils, the first Oriya to become a Minister, Madhubabu was the first leader of India to have resigned office as his demand for working without salary was not acceptable to the system then in vogue.

“In an organization in which all the workers are honorary, a salaried minister mars the symmetry and harmony of the organization. The office of the minister of local self-government ought to be an honorary one”, was his opinion.

This opinion was too revolutionary to earn approval.

And probity was too precious to be abandoned for office.

Madhubabu resigned office and has ever since been reigning over every heart that dreams of days when politics shall end to be a professional pursuit and political leaders shall function as true servants of the people.

“Here was an Oriya who never feared power and who was never lured out of right path”.

This is his autobiography uttered for the universe to know, from the lips of this lover of human beings, in presence of Pandit Nilakantha Das, in the briefest possible manner, at the moment that was dropping down the last curtain on the life of the first and the last man till date to whom Orissa was the mother; mother and nothing else.

Let him take birth, again, in every Oriya heart.

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ORISSA IS NO FEE SIMPLE FOR NAVEEN. LET HIM KNOW IT SOON.

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa has gained notoriety as a State where administration is more eager to give away massive masses of land to the non-Oriya minemongers like the TATAs or the POSCOs and non-Oriya land-grabbers like the Ravi Shankars or Anil Agrawals than saving its landless inhabitants from starvation deaths.

It has a government that presses police to kill people when they protest against taking away of their lands and looting of their natural resources by avaricious capitalists, mostly of non-Oriya origin. This is obviously because the deal clandestinely possible with non-Oriyas cannot be possible with the Oriyas. And hence Naveen Patnaik is keen to clear all obstacles from the path of non-Oriyas taking over Oriya lands.

When people of Orissa were massacred at Kalinganagar in 2006 to help the TATAs in grabbing their land, cultivators are threatened with dire consequences at Kujanga in 2007 so that POSCO can succeed in netting their agricultural lands into its industrial domain.

Now as the people of Kujang have declared to prefer bullets to parting with their soil, Naveen has contrived a new method of pressurization. He has offered 3500 Acres of government land to the foreign firm adjacent to the farm-lands of the threatened cultivators in order to compel them to sale away their rights to POSCO as otherwise they would be the worst sufferers, the productivity of their soil being bound to be adversely affected when the inclement industry in close proximity would start emitting wastes.

This most dangerous design against the people, if not promptly defeated, portends doom for Orissa.

So, let us see how justified is the allocation of 3500 acres of government land by Naveen Patnaik to POSCO.

Land Is The Property Of Posterity

Government land is not the fee simple for Naveen.

It belongs to the public; preserved by the ancestors for use by future generations of Oriyas in Kujang and in other places in vicinity of their homes.

Jomo Kenyatta, respected as the founder of Kenyan nation, whose work on affairs of K?k?y? tribal land gave birth to a new philosophy of management of natural resources, has spelt out the ethics of land preservation when he said, “A man is the owner of the land. x x x x x But in so far as there are other people of his own flesh and blood, who depend on that land for their daily bread, he is not the owner, but the partner, or at the most, a trustee for the others. Since the land is held in trust for the unborn as well as for the living, and since it represents his partnership in the common life of generations, he will not lightly take it upon himself to dispose of it”. (Information Green Paper No.1, UNEP, 1990).

The State being a legal man, every iota of land under its control called government land is a common land under partnership with the people and is held in trust by the State for the unborn and therefore a chief minister, in power for mere five years, cannot take it upon himself to dispose of it for all time to come.

On this matrix, handing over the Government land to POSCO by Naveen Patnaik is unjustified and illegal.

Breech of Trust

Had the erstwhile Rajah of Kujang wanted, he could have given these lands to any number of his subjects; but instead of dong that, he had preserved the lands as a trustee of the people for use by the future generations.

People are bound to raise families. Families are bound to raise progenies. Progenies are bound to generate new generations. But land never generates land. So a time is bound to come when future generations would need new habitations and for that purpose vacant lands would be needed. To fulfill that need, as and when that arises, erstwhile rulers had preserved lands that are now considered as government lands.

How can Naveen Patnaik gift away these government lands, preserved by our ancestors for the posterity, to a foreign firm like the POSCO?

Will the people of Kujang be debarred from getting progenies? Will growth of population stop in Kujang? Will there never be any need for land to provide habitation to future generations? Wherefrom the land shall come to meet the habitation-needs of the future generation if such a vast stretch of vacant land lying under the trusteeship of the State government is now mindlessly handed over to the foreign firm POSCO to be used as its own private domain?

Naveen must be asked these questions and made to answer them before he squanders away our soil. There should be no doubt on it that giving away the land preserved for posterity to private industries some of which belong even to foreigners by the present government is nothing but a criminal breech of trust.

Sycophants of Biju Patnaik, bereft of credibility but in politics out of avarice, had contrived a cover for their nefarious designs in the shape of Naveen Patnaik, who being a greenhorn was supposed to dance to their tune. But hardly they had imagined that when graduated into the realm of commissionism, the said greenhorn would surpass them all in subjecting native Oriyas to confidence tricks and in playing a mockery of democracy.

Now therefore the people must take it upon themselves to defeat the evil design of Naveen. Handing over government land to POSCO must be opposed; because our future generation would need it.

Is Security At Risk?

More than what meets the eye, the shenanigans concuss one to cogitate: is the country’s security system at risk?

It requires no documentary evidence to know that the US of America is keeping a prying eye on nuclear war weaponry of India. Orissa has the unique distinction of being the place of manufacture of missiles like the Agni and BrahMos in Balasore and the Naval Training Centre in Chilika with the most important aerial reconnaissance post of the Aviation Research Centre (ARC) in Eastrn India at Charbatia about 20 KMs away from Cuttack. And therefore the coastline of Orissa from Chandipur-on-Sea to Gopalpur-on-Sea has every possibility of attracting military espionage of USA.

POSCO insisting upon having its domain near Paradeep that constitutes the center of Orissa’s coastline with a private port of its own near DRDO’s ground station in between, is a matter of concern for all those who love their motherland.

The scenario looks bleak. In both sides of the POSCO site, there are such activities going on, that one cannot say for sure that from there no prying eye can ever be directed towards our defense preparedness.

Between Chandipur and Paradeep, an American has invested huge money and built up a Jagannth temple complex near Bhadrak with Naveen Patnaik looking mum. He says that as people from USA are not allowed by priests to enter into the Jagannath temple at Puri, notwithstanding they being devotees, he has built up the temple complex at Bhadrak so that his countrymen can have the ‘darshan’ of the Lord in His holy soil. If this is his real aim, why this American did not build up the temple complex in any place in the Puri town or anywhere on the way to Puri so that his countrymen, if any, denied entry into the temple proper, could have easily quenched their thirst for Jagannath darshan in that temple? Why Bhadrak? No convincing answer is available; but Naveen is nonchalant.

The other center of shenanigans stands near Puri but between Paradeep and Chilika. It is an 8000 acres of landmass given to Anil Agrawal by Naveen Patnaik to run a design in the name of Vedanta University. I have quoted elsewhere in these pages earlier the operator source that in the guise of a university Anil’s avowed aim is to use it as a business hub. Naveen has accepted his demand for total autonomy and has reemployed a retired IAS officer to draft a Law to ensure that the government at no point of time would enter into and/or intervene in the affairs of this so-called world-class-university where foreigners under any guise would enjoy complete freedom in their pursuits.

Should we have no reason to look at it askance, even when it is no more a secret that USA military intelligence is in habit of developing and operating surveillance centers in other countries?

It is quite disturbing to note that thinking minds of Orissa are too scared to look at this angle and to say no to Naveen when he transfers such massive masses of their land to non-Oriya and non-Indian profit-fetchers though the same land inherited from the past was preserved for the posterity.

It is grueling again to note that elite Oriyas, specifically most of the educated Oriyas living in foreign lands to whom we call NROs and who usually e-campaign for Orissa’s betterment, are agog at the allocation of lands to POSCO and Vedanta and the likes. They say that by thus doing, Naveen is ushering in an era of industrialization to Orissa, which, they emphasize, is the sure way to development.

But according to Ivan Illich, considered one of the most radical political and social thinkers in the second half of the twentieth century whose analysis on the institutional structures of industrialized society has helped the world with a set of alternative concepts, in his book ‘Shadow Work’ has established, “Each major sector of economy produces its own unique and paradoxical contradictions. x x x x x x As a result, slowly, the full impact of industrialization on the environment becomes visible: while some forms of growth threaten the biosphere, all economic growth threaten the ‘commons’. All economic growth inevitably degrades the utilization value of the environment”.

NROs and domestic elites, whose praise for Naveen over his swift allocation of Orissa’s lands to outside industrialists like the POSCO, TATA and Vedant etc knows no bound as to them through massive industrialization Orissa can develop, may get a backgrounder to estimate as to what unfathomable extent Orissa will be damaged instead of getting developed if they go by a case study of environmental economy in a micro level by Dr. M.Mishra, conducted under the head, “Health Cost of Industrial Pollution in Angul-Talcher Industrial Area in Orissa, India”.

Maintaining that economy forces change on the environment, which in turn reacts back forcing unforeseen changes on the economy, Dr. Mishra, in this masterly study has determined that the people of Angul-Talcher sustained a total health damage of Rs.1775.48 millions, per annum on an average. Obviously the industrial bosses of this area have not suffered any health damage; sufferers are only the poor inhabitants of the area. If this is the volume of annual loss suffered by the people of a small area on health sector only, leave apart the damages done to the food-productivity, to the soil, air and water, imagine what would be the volume of loss Orissa shall have to shoulder when all the industries, Naveen has granted lands to, become functional.

Deceptive Slogan Of Sustainable Development

The slogan of sustainable development that Naveen and his elite supporters have been trading is more aimed at hoodwinking the people than serving the State. Sustainable development is dovetailed with devising project portfolios according to ‘carrying capacity’ of the region. Carrying capacity, in turn, comprises of the ‘supporting capacity’ (capacity to provide resources without serious depletion) and the ‘assimilating capacity’ (capacity to absorb the waste at an acceptable level of risk) of the environment, observes former President of Orissa State Pollution Control Board, Prof. R.C.Das under the caption, ‘The Philosophy of Exploitation of Nature’ (Environment and Sustainable Development, Orissa Environmental Society, 1990) His opinion is unambiguously clear. “Ad-hocism based on short term gains, monopolization of gains by vested interests, sectoral instead of integrated approach to development have no place in such projects”. What Naveen has done and is doing is just the opposite of this philosophy.

The victims, i.e. the people of Orissa have no chance of support from the Opposition, specifically as the Congress cannot go against Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh, who stands with POSCO and the likes.

So the people of Orissa have neither the State nor the Union leadership by their side. Media men, who felt no qualms in becoming freeloaders of POSCO and bureaucrats, who act like factotums of politicians in power have no guts to stand with the people against industrial empires.

The only avenue from which the people may expect help is judiciary.

May We Remind The Supreme Court?

In a landmark judgment the Supreme Court of India, reported at AIR 2001 SC 184, has declared that the Court should ensure that no activities which would ultimately lead to unscientific and unsustainable development and ecological destruction at all be allowed and the courts must scrupulously try to protect the ecology and environment.

So, the Supreme Court on its own accord has taken it up to itself to scrupulously try to protect the ecology and environment.

May we remind the Supreme Court of its aforesaid verdict in the given circumstances when Orissa’s ecology and environment is severely threatened by Naveen’s MOUs and hobnobbing with land-grabbers and mines-mongers?

If The Last Hope Is Lost

If the Supreme Court slough over its own decision and the last hope is lost, I will not be surprised if helpless people of Orissa rise en masse in revolt and if that becomes violent.

Before it is too late, let it be understood by the incumbent CM that Orissa is no fee simple for him and he cannot squander away its soil. The people who obliterated the empire where the Sun was not setting can rise again to obliterate every factor that poses a danger to their existence. The sooner it is understood the better.

CINEMELA BEGINS IN NEW DELHI

Roving Reporter
New Delhi
13 April 2007

Although commercial film festivals have always been attractive to cinemagoers, new initiatives to exhibit small, meaningful and non-commercial cinema do have a sizeable audience. Proving this fact yet again, the second edition of �Cinemela�, a 4-day festival of short films & documentaries by young filmmakers, opened to a packed audience yesterday at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Organised by the Cinemela Collectives and JNU Students Union School of Arts and Aesthetics, in collaboration with Max Muller Bhavan, Cinemela will run from 12 to 15 April. The Limca Book of World Records recognized Cinemela�s very first edition last year for its uniqueness and participation.

Inaugurating the festival, Aruna Vasudev, founder Osian�s Cinefan, appreciated Cinemela for the opportunity it gives to young filmmakers to showcase their work. Senior journalist Paranjoy G. Thakurta also agreed. �The profit-mongering mainstream media culture has to be resisted with more and more events like Cinemela,� he said. Prof. Parul Mukherjee, Dean of School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, described it as a successful effort in building bridges between the academics and practices in Art.

To underscore its range and plurality, two films from two distinct worlds and realities were screened on the opening day. Gadi Lohardaga Mail, a film by Meghnad and Biju Toppo is the only visual documentation on a historic train in Jharkhand, while Ester Amrami�s Berlin Diary captures the life of a young Israeli woman in Berlin.

�Cinemela intends to take films created by young artists to young audience, besides making efforts to create a space for the new creative voices from all over the world which is denied by the crude logic of media industry. We believe that these woks deserve attention for their ability to go beyond local issues and provincial tastes while
simultaneously opening up a window onto a diverse culture,� says Prakash Kumar Ray, Convenor of Cinemela and a young documentary maker.

Speaking on the occasion, Katja Kessing, Programmes Director in Max Mueller Bhavan recounted the historic relationship of Max Muller Bhavan with Indian arts, cultures and cinemas, besides brining cinemas across borders together. This year, a series of prize winning short films by young filmmakers are the special attraction, thanks to Max Muller Bhavan. These films from countries like Belarus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, the Ukraine and the United States are being portrayed as gestures of reconciliation between nations and people affected by World War II.

Besides, there are a number of films from Indian filmmakers covering diverse issues, regions and languages. Like Bilori by Sandeip Modi in Marathi, Poorvragh by Surendra Kumar in Hindi, or Dim, by Anil Sadarangani in English. Dim, interestingly as short as three and half minutes, is about two women form a minority community discuss the housing problem in Mumbai. There is also one on the experience of a foreign student in V.V. Maheshwar Rao�s In India. While Ahish Bhatiya�s six and a half minute long Breaking the Wall of Ignorance is about children and young people suffering from Down�s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Hearing Impairment, Mental Illnesses, Venkat and Veeramani�s Living Under Bondage is a 21-minute visual documentation of the plight of casual labourers working in construction sites in a prestigious university like JNU. New Delhi Private Limited by Ravinder S Randhawa raises the issue of transformation of New Delhi as a �world class� city at the enormous human and ecological costs.

Cinemela has an Oriya film too. Nemesis of Motherhood, directed by Snehasis Das, is a 28-minute documentary on the alarming maternal mortality in village Karijhola in Koraput district. Women of Karijhola unknowingly make up the nation�s highest maternal mortality rate, also the world�s highest. Nemesis of Motherhood brings out the sorrow of motherhood in a world of poverty and absolute deprivation, where mothers either lose their children after birth or die themselves.

As a special entry, the festival will also screen a rare collection of best first films from Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). It includes passing out films by noted film personalities like Satish Shah, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Madan Bavaria with actors like Jaya Bacchan, Smita Patil, Suresh Oberoi acting in them, all during their student days.

�Cinemela is designed to serve as a glass through which audience may have an opportunity to glimpse important aspects of rapidly emerging creative
sensibilities which are all set to conquer the future. Keeping this in
view, we plan to take the selected films from the festival to other
campuses and places,� Prakash Kumar Ray adds. The programme details can be downloaded from http://www.goethe.de/ins/in/ned/en2213469.htm

ORIYAS OR POSCO: WHOM ORISSA BELONGS TO?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Away from Orissa at the moment, it hurts me noting news that Navin Patnaik has decided to use force to cleanse the path for POSCO to thwart our people out of the lap of their Motherland, their soil, in Jagatsinghpur district if they do not agree to withdraw their protests against displacement.

Whom Orissa belongs to: the Oriyas or the POSCO?

Before using force against the people, let Navin answer this question.

It is a shame that a man elected by the people to hold office for a limited period is in connivance with foreigners to ruin our rights over our land granted to us for endless future by Mother Nature and the founding fathers of our Constitution.

The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 that Navin and his likes and their acolytes are citing in support of their clumsy conspiracy to dispossess our people from their soil has no legal relevance to the instant case. This Act was framed during Britishraj when India was being ruled over by the East India Company in order to facilitate acquisition of land for use by the government that stood for the company. This means the Act was framed for acquiring land for official use. By retaining the Act, independent India had made it clear that the land obtained through acquisition would be used for the sole purpose of community benefit like construction of roads, irrigation dams, canals, community halls, administrative building and / or public sector companies etc. The 1984 amendment inserting a definition of company is nothing but a legislative aberration that had occurred when imperialists had succeeded in poisoning Indian patriotism and secessionists like the Khalistanis had plunged the country into chaos and the legislators were not in a position to apply their minds to the issue. It is a shame that Navin Patnaik is now misusing his position as chief minister to misuse this aberration to dispossess our people from their land to hand over the same to a private, that too a foreign private company!

This is absolutely illegal and the people have every right to protest against this.

The administration will commit total illegality if force is used to silence the protest.

He has given enough evidence of his anti-Oriya stances. The massacre of tribal people at Kalinga Nagar by his government after the conspiracy cooked up in his official chamber in presence of the TATA agents is fresh in every mind. But sloughing over the FIR lodged by the irrigation authorities against the Vissa Steel Company on March 23, 2007 must be considered as the latest instance of his anti-people activities. Let us see the scenario. There is a blatant ban on industrial use of underground water. The V.S.Plant needs 60 qsec lakh water that it harvests through 10 deep tube wells in total disregard to the ban. This has dried away dug wells as well as tube wells in the locality affecting lakhs of people. The Collector of Jajpur, on being informed of this, in letter No. 699 dated March 21, 2007 asked the Executive Engineer, Irrigation, to enforce the ban on the industry, who in turn authorized his assistant engineer by instruction No. 1507 the same day to proceed against the industry. The A.E. in letter No.227 dated March 23, 07 filed FIR with Kalinga Nagar Police. As reports show, the Polie refused to entertain the FIR. Chief Minister Navin Patnaik is the Minister in charge of Police. Now who to blame?

Orissa is, under such circumstances, in a quagmire. It has a government that does not bother to look after the people. On the other hand, it is most interested in serving the purpose of the private industries, even foreign industries like the POSCO.

We shall have to determine as to whom now Orissa belongs.

Let Navin give the answer and then we may proceed accordingly.

More than three million people in the world condemned to premature death from hunger and thirst

REFLECTIONS OF PRESIDENT FIDEL CASTRO

[This most important piece of discussion needs urgent attention of all in the world including the Oriyas, where peoples, devastated by frequent droughts, have started raising agitations against industrial use and misuse of water. I am thankful to the Organized Community Of United People (Organized C.O.U.P.) for having circulated it.]

THAT is not an exaggerated figure, but rather a cautious one. I have meditated a lot on that in the wake of President Bush’s meeting with U.S. automobile manufacturers.

The sinister idea of converting food into fuel was definitively established as an economic line in U.S. foreign policy last Monday, March 26.

A cable from the AP, the U.S. news agency that reaches all corners of the world, states verbatim:

“WASHINGTON, March 26 (AP). President Bush touted the benefits of ‘flexible fuel’ vehicles running on ethanol and biodiesel on Monday, meeting with automakers to boost support for his energy plans.

“Bush said a commitment by the leaders of the domestic auto industry to double their production of flex-fuel vehicles could help motorists shift away from gasoline and reduce the nation’s reliance on imported oil.

‘“That’s a major technological breakthrough for the country,’ Bush said after inspecting three alternative vehicles. If the nation wants to reduce gasoline use, he said “the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice.”

“The president urged Congress to ‘move expeditiously’ on legislation the administration recently proposed to require the use of 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels by 2017 and seek higher fuel economy standards for automobiles.

“Bush met with General Motors Corp. chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner, Ford Motor Co. chief executive Alan Mulally and DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group chief executive Tom LaSorda.

“They discussed support for flex-fuel vehicles, attempts to develop ethanol from alternative sources like switchgrass and wood chips and the administration’s proposal to reduce gas consumption by 20 percent in 10 years.

“The discussions came amid rising gasoline prices. The latest Lundberg Survey found the nationwide average for gasoline has risen 6 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $2.61.”

I believe that reducing and moreover recycling all motors that run on electricity and fuel is an elemental and urgent need for all humanity. The tragedy does not lie in reducing those energy costs but in the idea of converting food into fuel.

It is known very precisely today that one ton of corn can only produce 413 liters of ethanol on average, according to densities. That is equivalent to 109 gallons.

The average price of corn in U.S. ports has risen to $167 per ton. Thus, 320 million tons of corn would be required to produce 35 billion gallons of ethanol.

According to FAO figures, the U.S. corn harvest rose to 280.2 million tons in the year 2005.

Although the president is talking of producing fuel derived from grass or wood shavings, anyone can understand that these are phrases totally lacking in realism. Let’s be clear: 35 billion gallons translates into 35 followed by nine zeros!

Afterwards will come beautiful examples of what experienced and well-organized U.S. farmers can achieve in terms of human productivity by hectare: corn converted into ethanol; the chaff from that corn converted into animal feed containing 26% protein; cattle dung used as raw material for gas production. Of course, this is after voluminous investments only within the reach of the most powerful enterprises, in which everything has to be moved on the basis of electricity and fuel consumption. Apply that recipe to the countries of the Third World and you will see that people among the hungry masses of the Earth will no longer eat corn. Or something worse: lend funding to poor countries to produce corn ethanol based on corn or any other food and not a single tree will be left to defend humanity from climate change.

Other countries in the rich world are planning to use not only corn but also wheat, sunflower seeds, rapeseed and other foods for fuel production. For the Europeans, for example, it would become a business to import all of the world’s soybeans with the aim of reducing the fuel costs for their automobiles and feeding their animals with the chaff from that legume, particularly rich in all types of essential amino acids.

In Cuba, alcohol used to be produced as a byproduct of the sugar industry after having made three extractions of sugar from cane juice. Climate change is already affecting our sugar production. Lengthy periods of drought alternating with record rainfall, that barely make it possible to produce sugar with an adequate yield during the 100 days of our very moderate winter; hence, there is less sugar per ton of cane or less cane per hectare due to prolonged drought in the months of planting and cultivation.

I understand that in Venezuela they would be using alcohol not for export but to improve the environmental quality of their own fuel. For that reason, apart from the excellent Brazilian technology for producing alcohol, in Cuba the use of such a technology for the direct production of alcohol from sugar cane juice is no more than a dream or the whim of those carried away by that idea. In our country, land handed over to the direct production of alcohol could be much useful for food production for the people and for environmental protection.

All the countries of the world, rich and poor, without any exception, could save millions and millions of dollars in investment and fuel simply by changing all the incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent ones, an exercise that Cuba has carried out in all homes throughout the country. That would provide a breathing space to resist climate change without killing the poor masses through hunger.

As can be observed, I am not using adjectives to qualify the system and the lords of the earth. That task can be excellently undertaken by news experts and honest social, economic and political scientists abounding in the world who are constantly delving into to the present and future of our species. A computer and the growing number of Internet networks are sufficient for that.

Today, we are seeing for the first time a really globalized economy and a dominant power in the economic, political and military terrain that in no way resembles that of Imperial Rome.

Some people will be asking themselves why I am talking of hunger and thirst. My response to that: it is not about the other side of the coin, but about several sides of something else, like a die with six sides, or a polyhedron with many more sides.

I refer in this case to an official news agency, founded in 1945 and generally well-informed about economic and social questions in the world: TELAM. It said, and I quote:

“In just 18 years, close to 2 billion people will be living in countries and regions where water will be a distant memory. Two-thirds of the world’s population could be living in places where that scarcity produces social and economic tensions of such a magnitude that it could lead nations to wars for the precious ‘blue gold.’

“Over the last 100 years, the use of water has increased at a rate twice as fast as that of population growth.

“According to statistics from the World Water Council, it is estimated that by 2015, the number of inhabitants affected by this grave situation will rise by 3.5 billion people.

“The United Nations celebrated World Water Day on March 23, and called to begin confronting, that very day, the international scarcity of water, under the coordination of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with the goal of highlighting the increasing importance of water scarcity on a global scale, and the need for greater integration and cooperation that would make it possible to guarantee sustained and efficient management of water resources.

“Many regions on the planet are suffering from severe water shortages, living with less than 500 cubic meters per person per year. The number of regions suffering from chronic scarcity of this vital element is increasingly growing.

“The principal consequences of water scarcity are an insufficient amount of the precious liquid for producing food, the impossibility of industrial, urban and tourism development and health problems.”

That was the TELEAM cable.

In this case I will refrain from mentioning other important facts, like the melting ice in Greenland and the Antarctic, damage to the ozone layer and the growing volume of mercury in many species of fish for common consumption.

There are other issues that could be addressed, but with these lines I am just trying to comment on President Bush’s meeting with the principal executives of U.S. automakers.

March 28, 2007

Fidel Castro.
Translated by Granma International