Monday, January 03, 2005
Slow to Act (03.01.2005)

One of the constant themes running through the reaction of government offices to this disaster is their inability to cope with the demands of relatives or set up an infrastructure, rapidly, that would meet their expectations. We have heard that governments did not realise the magnitude of the catastrophe. This is a lie! It is a myth designed to cover their asses, their lack of action.

In Sweden, the Foreign Minister was attacked for going to the theatre:

The criticism of Sweden's response has been widespread, after revelations the Foreign Office Minister went to the theatre upon learning of the disaster. And the Government's first efforts to repatriate stranded and injured Swedes came several days afterward.The Director-General of Sweden's National Crisis Management Authority says Sweden's preparedness to deal with crises leaves a lot to be desired.Facing great pressure, the Prime Minister Goran Persson admitted Government action came too late. But Foreign Office spokeswoman Nina Ersman told the ABC it's predictable the administration is in the firing line.

The Swedish government is particularly nauseous. The spokeswoman attributed the anger of grieving relatives to a psychological reaction, rather than reflecting the rational reaction of individuals who found that the actions of their government were inadequate. Those in power choose to insult their electorate rather than apologise for their mistakes.

NINA ERSMAN: I think it's natural in a situation like this that people in shock, people who are severely hit, are angry and mad and they want somebody to be angry at. I mean I think that is inevitable.

It is also covered in more detail by Der Spiegel:

An editorial in the mass-circulation Aftonbladet lambasted Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds for not showing up to work until more than a day after she learned about the disaster. Even worse, said the paper, Freivalds did not sit worriedly at home like so many Swedes on Sunday night. Instead, she went to the theater in Stockholm. She did so knowing full well that, at that point, 10,000 people were already believed dead on Southeast Asia's beaches, which draw Swedes in droves each winter. And she didn't exactly rush to get to the office. "At nine o'clock the next day their chairs at the foreign office were still empty," hissed the paper. "Not until 10.30 a.m., 31.5 hours after the death wave, did the foreign minister arrive at work."

Governments have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.


Post a Comment

Blog Archive