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If I were a religious man, I would take the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the spilling of millions of gallons of oil and gas, their engulfing of the Gulf of Mexico waters and destruction of fish and wildlife in untold numbers . . . I would take this all, mind you, BP, as a sign from the deity.
And if the deity could speak like Mel Brook’s 2,000 Year Old Man, I would imagine it would say, “You, mankind, you have been cajoling me for more oil and gas for hundreds of years. The more I give you the more you want. Enough is never enough. So here’s enough, a volcano of oil and gas, a mountain of it, a pox on your house. Choke on it. Now, leave me alone. And if you’re smart, stop it, and don’t fight amongst yourselves like a pack of hungry monkeys. Such schmucks I made in my image, I can’t believe it.” Nor can I, voice, and I’m not even a believer, in a deity or the devil. But jeez, this looks like both of them in a cosmic World Series.
And why am I making a joke of the worst natural disaster in history? Why am I looking for a laugh from what one writer called “an extinction event?” The reason: if I don’t laugh, I’m going to cry, for a long time. And that would frighten everyone around me, my wife, my kids, my friends, even my new grandson, who loves my funny faces. And how would I explain it to him, 17 months into this world, newly adopted from Russia, already having escaped an orphanage into the arms of a totally loving family, oh beloved gift of life.
Yet how, after the Exxon Valdez incident, do the oilmen explain this to the world? By pointing fingers! Ergo, as a single human being, I can smell the major wrath in this horrific event.
Not only from the sulfurous odors of escaped gas (traditionally the sign of the horned one), but from the fumes of the oil, the scurrilous odor of “cleansing chemicals,” the poisoned air and sea water, the belching out of inner earth itself. As if it were part of some apocalypse now let loose, i.e., “the smell of napalm in the morning;” itself the beginning of some unending war on human and natural life. And notice how quickly I have fallen in a quagmire of despair. And why not, when it appears our government officials are allowing this to happen as the days and weeks and months roil out of the ruptured earth, draining its black blood, black gold for others. It seems as if creating the show of a cosmic scarcity would even further their aberrant greed.
But then the question comes: how to cap this all, the ruptured sea floor threatening to collapse, the rush of four barrels of oil a second, 150,000 psi of oil and gas behind it? How do we heal this wounded earth before the wound and spill spread, if not already, to other shores, other bodies of water? Is there a plan beyond failure, as with the Valdez, with Katrina, with depleted uranium, with the three wars we are fighting, the nuclear weapons, the constant rise in death tolls, the engineered financial collapses that are being felt around the world?
Beyond laughter and tears, I have nothing but questions. Why is this all happening now? If not by a deity, then by men who believe the population of the world should be reduced to 2 billion? Men who roll in billions of dollars and who have the power to make apocalypse happen now, as they did with the weaponizing of the AIDS virus to dramatically reduce the populations of sub-Saharan Africa.
Round up the usual suspects. We know who they are: the titans of the multinational oil, media, financial, computing, defense corporations and their puppet governments, all on the eternal take, swallowing their honor, opening their pockets wide for the bribery of their souls. I dare not mention this to the children, do I? To the young, to the innocent, or even to those so wrapped in their pleasure-seeking and financial gains that they don’t care a whit about this all unless it affects their next vacation or the opportunity to corral a new Mercedes or crocodile leather purse or wallet. But maybe this last group does need a talking to, a sermon, cold water in the face to spoil the makeup of clowns, Joker-like faces, evil incarnate, flashed on movie screens to dull eyes, the jaded faces of Vogue’s endless stream of anorexic models. As if they ever missed a meal or knew what real hunger, starvation was.
As if these paradigms of so-called beauty, wealth, aspirational lifestyles of the rich and famous would care, even if a spike like the one that broke open the ocean floor would pierce their thick skulls. But it might be a start, to drain out the bad blood of ill-gotten wealth, undiminished greed, the systemic violence it brings, violation of all laws, human, natural and spiritual. Perhaps we have long gone past the point of reporting just the facts, the numbers, the figures of corruption, trillions of dollars squandered by criminals for their wars. Perhaps we cap the well by decapitating some heads, à la Jacobin-style in the French Revolution. We introduce once more the guillotine. Instead of justice in our courtrooms, we have a guillotine, for instant justice. Perhaps that’s how we turn the tide of blood, to start one of our own.
Beware the power of the “meek who shall inherit the earth.” It’s coming for you, pirates of the world. For you and you and you, who know who you are! After all, perhaps it is true that we have learned nothing from history. And that we are doomed to relive its lessons over and over again. But we must be able to give an accounting of good as well as evil to our children, who perhaps are creation’s incarnation, there, in those tender eyes, watching us so closely, hoping for our protection, knowing we would never hand them up to the stone icons of power for their distorted purposes of sacrifice.
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