Send Michael Slate to the Tsunami Disaster Zone!

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Revolutionary Worker #1268, February 20, 2005, posted at

RW writer Michael Slate is traveling to South Asia, including Indonesia and Sri Lanka for four to six weeks—to bring back the story of the people hit in the disastrous tsunami.

What were their lives like before the waves hit? What did they live through on December 26? What has happened to them since? What messages do they want to send to the outside world? What is being hidden or ignored in the stories of the mainstream mass media? What is the true role of the local governments, militaries, and global powers in the disaster and in the struggle to rebuild?

Your generous contributions are needed to get this project on the road now . There is no time to waste.


We all watched in horror on December 26 when the massive tsunami devastated some of the most densely populated coastlines of the world. We saw bodies washed in by the tides. Estimates rose day by day—evealing that hundreds of thousands of people died along those shores of the Indian Ocean. Relief workers have said an entire generation of youth has been wiped out in Aceh, Indonesia. More than 30,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka.

The damage is apocalyptic. The bare subsistence of the people’s earlier lives has washed away into the waves.

Uncontaminated water is rare. The fertile soil is gone from the fields. Fish are gone from coastal waters. Hundreds of miles of coastal villages and towns were destroyed sending millions into overcrowded refugee camps where the threat of epidemic grows. Hated government troops use control of relief aid to stamp out resistance.

We all know massive natural disturbances will happen, but clearly there is nothing inevitable about the sweeping death and destruction this one caused. And, as the scope of it all sank in, a question began to gnaw at many of us. Why?

Why can something like this happen—when we live in a modern hi-tech world with armies of scientists, instant communications, massive transports, and mountains of research. Why was there no warning? Why were there no evacuation plans? Why was the response so slow? And who now controls the much-discussed "aid"? What are their motives and priorities?

The mainstream media hasn’t answer these questions. And it won’t.

Digging up the truth about this requires looking deep into a very un-natural world system—into the modern workings of capitalism and imperialism, uncovering the savage lopsidedness imposed on the vast majority of people in the world.


Help Michael Slate reach this disaster zone to help give voice to those who have gone unheard.

For 30 years, this revolutionary journalist has gone deep among the people to bring out their stories and to excavate the profound social dynamics that shape their lives and struggles. He went twice to the rebel townships and dusty rural villages of apartheid South Africa of the 1980s, to connect with the people, and bring back his gripping "War Stories" series. In 1992, after the ground-shaking Los Angeles Rebellion, Michael Slate went into the ghettos and barrios of the city, to listen to peoples’ soaring hopes and intolerable oppression. His two series, "Shockwaves" and "Aftershocks," stand out for their unique fusion of revolutionary analysis and penetrating interviews. In 1994, Slate spent three months in the Zapatista zones of Chiapas, Mexico, talking with the people about their lives, their hopes and aspirations—and created the series, "Campesinos With Guns."

Michael Slate’s writings appear regularly in the Revolutionary Worker and have also appeared in The Black American , the San Jose Mercury News , the Oakland Tribune , the Long Beach Press Telegram , Pacific News Service and Heads magazine.

Now, we need to send Michael Slate into the tsunami disaster zones, to conduct intimate interviews with the poorest fisherman and squatters, to probe the experiences of scientists, relief workers, and activists, to listen, to record, to dig below the surface. We need him to piece together a compelling portrait of this historic disaster. One that tells the truth about the people’s struggle to survive both that massive earthquake and the workings of an un-natural world system.


Send money now!

Credit card contributions can be made directly through PayPal on Michael Slate’s website,

Contributions can also be sent to:

Michael Slate
c/o Revolutionary Worker
PO Box 3486
Merchandise Mart
Chicago, IL 60654