We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Contributions via Arthur C Clarke

Arthur C Clarke has stated via Jose Cordeiro, roving ambassador for the World Transhumanist Organisation, that he is safe and well. Here is his brief message on the catastrophe, including websites for providing aid in Sri Lanka.

I am enormously relieved that my family and household have escaped the ravages of the sea that suddenly invaded most parts of coastal Sri Lanka, leaving a trail of destruction.

But many others were not so fortunate. For over two million Sri Lankans and a large number of foreign tourists holidaying here, the day after Christmas turned out to be a living nightmare reminiscent of The Day After Tomorrow. My heart-felt sympathy goes out to all those who lost family members or friends.

Among those who directly experienced the waves were my staff based at our diving station in Hikkaduwa, and my holiday bungalows in Kahawa and Thiranagama ­ all beachfront properties located in southern areas that were badly hit. Our staff members are all safe, even though some are badly shaken and relate harrowing first hand accounts of what happened. Most of our diving equipment and boats at Hikkaduwa were washed away. We still don’t know the full extent of damage — it will take a while for us to take stock as accessing these areas is still difficult.

This is indeed a disaster of unprecedented magnitude for Sri Lanka, which lacks the resources and capacity to cope with the aftermath. We are encouraging concerned friends to contribute to the relief efforts launched by various national and international organisations. If you wish to join these efforts, I can recommend two options.

– Contribute to a Sri Lanka disaster relief fund launched by an internationally operating humanitarian charity, such as Care or Oxfam.

– Alternatively, considering supporting Sarvodaya, the largest development charity in Sri Lanka, which has a 45-year track record in reaching out and helping the poorest of the poor. Sarvodaya has mounted a well organised, countrywide relief effort using their countrywide network of offices and volunteers who work in all parts of the country, well above ethnic and other divisions. Their website, www.sarvodaya.lk, provides bank account details for financial donations. They also welcome contributions in kind — a list of urgently needed items is found at: http://www.sarvodaya.lk/Inside_Page/urgently%20needed.htm

There is much to be done in both short and long terms for Sri Lanka to raise its head from this blow from the seas. Among other things, the country needs to improve its technical and communications facilities so that effective early warnings can help minimise losses in future disasters.

Curiously enough, in my first book on Sri Lanka, I had written about another tidal wave reaching the Galle harbour (see Chapter 8 in The Reefs of Taprobane, 1957). That happened in August 1883, following the eruption of Krakatoa in roughly the same part of the Indian Ocean.

Arthur Clarke
29 December 2004

25 comments to Contributions via Arthur C Clarke

  • Neuroto

    Sri Lanka must not need aid that badly–they refused entry to an Israeli field hospital. Must be nice to have the luxury of turning down skilled doctors, nurses, technicians, as well as relief supplies, in the middle of a catastrophe. Oh, well, there’s plenty of other victims which need helping.

    And before anyone starts wagging a finger in my face, I’m not saying refuse to donate to Sri Lanka. Maybe just do so with a tart comment or two.

  • James

    You gave me a fright. I saw “Arthur C. Clarke” in the title and thought the worst. Glad he’s safe.

  • Edward Teague

    Curious that someone seems outraged that the impoverished Sri Lankans turn down an offer of help from Israel……

    Now if Israel in similiar circumstances turned down an offer of aid from Iran…….

    Probably the best thing we can all do is to put in orders for their excellent tea. Some years ago they lost huge export volumes to Russia.

    Perhaps if Tesco / Asda / etc could be encouraged to sell packets at some gross price and donated the proceeds….. Spread the idea.

  • Neuroto

    The Iranians turned down aid from the United States after the earthquake in Bam which killed 25,000. If I lived in a country which had just experienced some horrible disaster, I would think it outrageous that my government refuses humane assistance, particularly if said government were a mendicant republic, not very capable of providing assistance for its’ own citizens.

  • Edward Teague

    As the US had supported Iraq for many years in bombing, gassing their people their reluctance in accepting aid is understandable.

    The inept (for you) Iranian Government moved into action quickly and had mobile generators on site in hours, tenst etc.,

    Perhaps the Iranians may offer to send their teams in to help out in the aftermath of Fallujah ? Perhaps the Israelis might better send their field hospital, not evidently required in Sri Lanka to Fallujah ? Mosul ? Erbil ? … they might even help refurbish a few of the mosques of which Fallujah had 100.

  • Neuroto

    Actually, the only rescuing done in the first 24 hours was that of family members pulling their own out of the rubble. The Iranians regime did not act quickly.

  • Doug Collins

    “… they might even help refurbish a few of the mosques of which Fallujah had 100.”

    Mosques.. or arms depots?

  • Neuroto

    Fallujah would have a few more mosques if head-sawing Jihadist animals hadn’t violated the mosques’ status as off-limits to combatants. Not our problem, although American money is being used to rebuild in Fallujah. Since Jihadists abuse the non-combatant status of ambulances, why on Earth would they be allowed across the border?

  • Neuroto

    I am a culprit in this turning from Sir Arthur C. Clarke appealing for donations, to Fallujah. Apologies, all.

  • Johnathan

    Thanks for posting this Philip and for including links for charities. Other bloggers out there have done the same and I hope folk will have the good grace to put aside the urge to make the odd snide jibe at certain governments and make a donation. Every little helps.

  • Doug Collins

    Good point Johnathan.

    The article that I saw on the Israeli/Sri Lanka snafu indicated that another Israeli group was already in the country and that the problem may have been logistical rather than political. Perhaps it was blown out of proportion.

  • I am glad to see that Clarke is fine. I must admit that the minute I thought of Sri Lanka, my first thought was to the health of one of the most interesting minds in hard science fiction.

  • Glad to hear A.C. Clarke is OK, too.

  • Edward Teague,

    Do you think that Iran would actually offer any help to Israel under any circumstances?

  • Verity

    Plus, Edward Teague, Sri Lanka is a largely a Buddhist and Hindu country. Buddhists and Hindus have no problems with Israel. I have a feeling it was a snafu.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Since Israel seems to have taken to the very unsavoury habit of stealing its allies’ passports, I’d be a little queasy letting in anyone sent by the Israeli government. I did a search to find some info, and came up with some wacky stuff, as well as some less wacky stuff. Let me pre-empt anyone who might brand me a friend of Hamas; this is not the case. However, I strongly object to Israeli attacks on the sovereignty of foreign allies. I believe the Israelis have used similar methods to illegally gain Canadian passports for use by its agents in the past.

  • Yes. Of course. It must be an Israeli plot to steal Sri Lanka’s high-tech secrets. Or maybe the Zionist cabal was going to kidnap Arthur C. Clarke. The possibility that this is a sincere aid mission is simply too preposterous to believe.


  • Edward Teague

    Verity is right Sri Lanka, a country with which I have many and long associations ihas a mjority of Buddhists and Hindus.

    There is a deep loathing and hatred however of Indian Tamils, and Muslims. A popular saying is that wherever you see crows there are muslims.

    Christians are welcome but Jews are not.

    I would not imagine for one minute that the israeli offer was rejected as a rsult of a snafu. It may have been sold as one. There presence would not be welcome.

  • Is your art all you are suffering for?

    David Carr: “Do you think that Iran would actually offer any help to Israel under any circumstances?” Israel has offered help to Iran along with the US, and was refused, just like the US was. Do you think that Iran would actually offer any help to the US under any circumstances?

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Johnathon and Alisa – So I suppose you condone passport theft. By foreign nation that happens to be an ally, no less. Well of course you do! Forgive Israel everything, right?


    And Alisa, in regards to your opening sentence – I would like to explain my nickname, but really, I must away, I need to sew up my sides. Really.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Edward Teague, I’m curious. because I’ve just been to southern India (where, in Cochin, Kerala, there is an ancient Jewish population that fled Palestine around two millenia ago) and I didn’t detect any of the anti-semitism that you experienced in Sri Lanka, bar a trendy disdain for Israel common in countries with socialist tendencies. You said:

    There is a deep loathing and hatred however of Indian Tamils, and Muslims. A popular saying is that wherever you see crows there are muslims.

    Where do Jews fit into this?

    Christians are welcome but Jews are not.

    Why not? Jews are neither Muslim, nor Tamil. I’m not saying I don’t believe you, I am just curious, because I’m interested in the region and I’d like to know why Sri Lanka is different to southern India.


  • I’m suffering for my art Surely you are suffering for stupidity? Or is ignorance your “art”?

  • Edward Teague

    You must do more than suffer from your art.

    I also have been to Cochin and the Jewish “population” as you call it consist of 2 aged families ( I think now a total of approx 12 people none of child bearing age) who control a synagogue which is tiny, dark and shabby, and the attendant remnants of the Jewish diaspora shamelessly beg for contributions to their decaying and ill cared for, back street tabernacle. It is worth visiting for it’s curioristy. I have also visited the last synagogue on the borders of Byelorussia and Poland which is an ill kept tin shed.

    It seems remarkable that the prosperous world wide Zionist cause allows the decay of such remnants of their brothers.

    The dislike of Jews is mostly the resident xenophobia deep within us all, a fear of the unknown. In both Cochin, largely constructed by the worthy General Wade (?) in times of Empire and in Ceylon the (generally) Christian British are welcome as peace keeping and helpful.

    There are so few Cochinese Jews that their presence goes unremarked, it was noticeable that no Cochin would enter the synagogue and seemed to reagrd it as somewhat spooky and were happy to hang around outside whilst we went in.

    The few Cochin who knew of our trip regarded us as mildly barmy for wanting to visit the place, when there are so many other distractions for the traveller.

  • Daveon

    IIRC the US has refused aid from Cuba – of course there is a question as to whether or not Cuba could render aid nor if the US needed it.

    However, I think this thread is about principle rather than fact, something which Samizdata seems to be drifting wildly away from at the moment.

    Plus ca change…

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Edward Teague – I too visited that synagogue. And I was aware that the population is puny. But population it still is. I believe most of the Jews there moved to Israel? I didn’t pick up the local hostility, however I must concede that I wasn’t there all that long. What they call “Jewtown”, as I’m sure you know, is peopled by plenty of rabid shopkeepers (not an endangered species in India) who seem happy enough to use the Jews there as a tourist magnet. There must be a few locals friendly to the Jews since many rely on them for their bread and butter. And I agree, Cochin is beautiful.

    Andrew Ian Dodge – I suppose my point re. Israeli passport theft won the day, since you had nothing to add apart from some easily disregardable ad hominem drivel? No doubt you thought it the height of wit.