". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Far From Gulf, a Spill Scourge 5 Decades Old

This particular, ongoing for a half-century, environmental catastrophe has always been in the forefront of my mind in terms of what we are doing to the planet.  As with the people who live there, I ask, why has it taken so long for the rest of the world to notice?  Why is it that only now, when white people of the so-called developed world are catastrophically, criminally affected by the environmental murder these Big Oil criminals do everywhere, every day, and have done for over a century, that primary media deigns to mention this half-century crime?

Considering the stranglehold these same corps have on our local and federal government via the wealth they poor into the pockets of those who are elected to supposedly guard ours, the taxpayers' interest, how can anyone then wonder how massively corrupt rulers in these nations are successively in power in these nations?  Now it's caught up with us -- you might even say that history has bitch-slapped us over and over again, since 9/11.  When are we going to pay attention, instead of complaining about how depressing it is when people like me bring it up?

It's no longer happening way over there, somewhere, that has no effect on us. It's here. Right here, and has been for decades now. It's caught up with us -- you might say that history has bitch-slapped us over and over again, since 9/11. When are we going to pay attention, instead of complaining about how depressing it is when people like me bring it up?

From the NY Times:

The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years by some estimates. The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless.

Perhaps no place on earth has been as battered by oil, experts say, leaving residents here astonished at the nonstop attention paid to the gusher half a world away in the Gulf of Mexico. It was only a few weeks ago, they say, that a burst pipe belonging to Royal Dutch Shell in the mangroves was finally shut after flowing for two months: now nothing living moves in a black-and-brown world once teeming with shrimp and crab.

Not far away, there is still black crude on Gio Creek from an April spill, and just across the state line in Akwa Ibom the fishermen curse their oil-blackened nets, doubly useless in a barren sea buffeted by a spill from an offshore Exxon Mobil pipe in May that lasted for weeks.

The oil spews from rusted and aging pipes, unchecked by what analysts say is ineffectual or collusive regulation, and abetted by deficient maintenance and sabotage. In the face of this black tide is an infrequent protest — soldiers guarding an Exxon Mobil site beat women who were demonstrating last month, according to witnesses — but mostly resentful resignation.


K. said...

It's the powerful exploiting the powerless while everyone else looks away because they want what the powerful provide, even at the cost of their souls. It's a story as old as history, I suppose. Why are we like that?

Foxessa said...

I felt this way about both Gulf wars, during which all sides set fire to the wells of the oil fields in Iraq and Iran, which spewed poisons and toxicity into the atmosphere for years. Not to mention the earth.

For the last century we have been literally murdering the earth a region at a time.

It breaks my heart. When I don't want to string somebodies up by their thumbs.

Do you think ANYBODY is making the essential connection, that, because the oil corps have been allowed to poison and destroy so many other nations' environments with impunity that they now behaved here in the same way?

Love, C.