Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Press release

Editor of New Book Says, "Tsunami Was Natural Disaster, But Much
Suffering Man-Made"

Before departing for tsunami-hit areas of South India on Tuesday
December 28th, David Albert, editor of the new book The Color of
Freedom (Common Courage Press, 2005), noted that while the tsunami that
hit the Bay of Bengal was caused by a 9.0 underwater earthquake, much
of the suffering was actually caused by industrial shrimping interests
that stripped the coasts of protective mangrove forests. "Come with me
to Nagai District on the east coast of South India, and you will see
the actual cost in human lives skyrocketed well beyond that of
neighboring areas. These are the places that World Bank-financed
multinational projects in aquaculture have stripped the area of all
natural protection. The wall of water went further, and as it receded,
there was no break on what it carried with it. Homes, children, and
livelihoods were all carried out to see because of the lack of
attention to mangrove conservation by companies out to make a quick

Albert cited the work of Jeff McNeely, chief scientist of the
Swiss-based World Conservation Union (IUCN), who noted that the
mangroves "were cleared by people who didn't have the long-term
knowledge of why these mangroves should have been saved, by outsiders
who get concessions from the governments and set up shrimp or prawn

The Color of Freedom details the work of Gandhian land-reform crusaders
S. Jagannathan and Krishnammal Jagannathan, who never set out to be
anti-globalization activists. But when they arrived on the east coast
of Tamil Nadu in southern India among communities within which they had
managed to wrest land for 11,000 families who had been landless for 700
years, they found they had no choice. The once-fertile land was being
salinated and turned into desert-like wastes, water polluted and water
table destroyed, mangroves cut down, fisheries decimated, and thousands
of people thrown out of work. All of this prior to the tsunami. All to
support multinational aquaculture interests, financed by the World
Bank, to bring shrimp to salad bars and buffet tables in Europe, Japan,
and the United States. And, they were soon to learn, it is the same
tale everywhere -- from Ecuador to Bangladesh, Thailand to Peru.

And they are fighting back. The Color of Freedom, a new book by Laura
Coppo from Common Courage Press, is the stirring oral biography of
these two internationally acclaimed activists and visionaries. Starting
with the struggle for Indian Independence, The Color of Freedom
passionately captures the sweep of almost a century of Indian history,
and the role of two extraordinary people (India's "Joan of Arc",
declares the Women's World Summit Foundation about Krishnammal
Jagannathan) as they personally engage a world hurtling from the feudal
past into an uncompromising modernity.

"They are fighting an imperialism of the soul and of the belly, a
frightening monster of greed and abuse that they know can and will be
stopped with the gentle teachings of the Mahatma," writes Dr. David
Willis, Chair of Cultural Studies at Soai University. "Their lives
embody the marriage of personal and social transformation," proclaims
Satish Kumar, Founder and Editor of Resurgence Magazine. "This stirring
book is a call to action, to transform ourselves and our institutions
to a 21st Century way of being that is just, equitable, and
sustainable," says editor David H. Albert.

Review copies of The Color of Freedom are now available from Common
Courage Press
. Follow David Albert's trip at shantinik.blogspot.com

Author Bio
Laura Coppo (author) currently works at a World Wildlife Fund
environmental education center in the Piedmont region of Italy. She is
a former researcher at a peace center associated with the University of

David H. Albert (editor) has been associated with the work of S.
Jagannathan and Krrishnammal Jagannathan for almost 30 years. He is a
magazine columnist and author, and was a founder of New Society
Publishers. He lives in Olympia, Washington. Interviews with Mr. Albert
can be arranged: phone 360 352-0506 or e-mail: shantinik@earthlink.net

The Color of Freedom:
Author: Laura Coppo, Editor: David H. Albert
ISBN: 1-56751-276-3 paper $17.95 ISBN 1-56751-277-1, hardcover, $39.95
Contact: Greg Bates
121 Red Barn Road, Monroe, ME 04951
phone 207-525-0900
fax 207-525-3068


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