Posted by: gdevi | April 29, 2010

BP Oil Spill

Read about the BP oil spill here. Revolting story. I am normally not given to swearing and I am not foul-mouthed. But several expletives come readily to my mind when I watch these reports. I want to ask these oil companies: How heartless and greedy can you possibly be? What will make you stop? When will you be happy? What will make you satisfied? I hope you will breathe, eat, drink, and sleep in oil when you get to heaven.

All the bayou wildlife spared by Hurricane Katrina, BP must feel particularly proud that they played the crucial part in killing off all those animals in this latest round of oil spill.  Looting, raping and violating Mother Earth with absolute impunity! I feel so hopeless that I will never see a change in the environmental policies of this world during my life time.

See the Louisiana map of destroyed habitats here.

How damage control works.  Dream about dead fish now. I feel so bad for these fisher-folks; their entire livelihood has been turned to nothing by these oil drillers. That’s right; “drill, baby, drill!”

Paul Krugman’s op-ed on the story here.

How it affects the fishing industry and restaurants. Reading this essay reminded me of the fishing industry in Kerala; fishing is one of Kerala’s staple industries. Something like this will wipe out the fisher folks there. The writer talks about the shrimp harvest; it is so beautiful to see the shrimp harvests along the Kerala coast. Here is a song that celebrates the harvesting of prawns and fish — it is called Chakara in Kerala. All along the coast you can see these huge nets slung out into the ocean as far as eyes can see. Long before they mechanized the trawlers, this is how they went to sea.

I was wondering if the oil companies are affected at all by the ruin and waste they have created.  Charismatic oil! Indeed! But here is a poem by the great Italian poet Cesare Pavese which expresses the dismay that we all feel:

Atlantic Oil

by Cesare Pavese

The drunk mechanic is happy to be in the ditch.

From the tavern, five minutes through the dark field

and you’re home. But first, there’s the cool grass

to enjoy, and the mechanic will sleep here till dawn.

A few feet away, the red and black sign that rises

from the field: if you’re too close, you can’t read it,

it’s that big. At this hour, it’s still wet dew.

Later, the streets will cover it with dust, as it covers

the bushes. The mechanic, beneath it, stretches in sleep.

Silence is total. Shortly, in the warmth of the sun,

one car after another will pass, waking the dust.

At the top of the hill they slow down for the curve,

then plunge down the slope. A few of the cars

stop at the garage, in the dust, to drink a few liters.

At this time of the morning, the mechanics, still dazed,

will be sitting on oil drums, waiting for work.

It’s a pleasure to spend the morning sitting in the shade,

where the stink of oil’s cut with the smell of green,

of tobacco, of wine, and where work comes to them,

right to the door. Sometimes it’s even amusing:

peasants’ wives come to scold them, blaming the garage

for the traffic—it frightens the animals and women—

and for making their husbands look sullen: quick trips

down the hill into Turin that lighten their wallets.

Between laughing and selling gas, one of them will pause:

these fields, it’s plain to see, are covered with road dust,

if you try to sit on the grass, it’ll drive you away.

On the hillside, there’s a vineyard he prefers to all others,

and in the end he’ll marry that vineyard and the sweet girl

who comes with it, and he’ll go out in the sun to work,

but now with a hoe, and his neck will turn brown,

and he’ll drink wine pressed on fall evenings from his own grapes.

Cars pass during the night, too, but more quietly,

so quiet the drunk in the ditch hasn’t woken. At night

they don’t raise much dust, and the beams of their headlights,

as they round the curve, reveal in full the sign in the field.

Near dawn, they glide cautiously along, you can’t hear a thing

except maybe the breeze, and from the top of the hill

they disappear into the plain, sinking in shadows.

Translated by Geoffrey Brock

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