Who Can I Blame?

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 2:56 p.m.

The good news is that Bangladesh has lifted its two-week ban on Facebook.  The bad news is that nine activists died in a flotilla carrying humanitarian supplies for the citizens of Gaza.  The good news is that, five days later, when the Israeli army boarded the Rachel Corrie ship, no one was hurt.  The bad news is that the Egyptian Supreme Court has upheld a law stripping citizenship from any Egyptian man married to an Israeli woman and there are approximately 30,000 Egyptian men who are married to women with Israeli citizenship as during the Iraq war, Egyptians found work in Israel and subsequently married women of that country.

The bad news from the Middle East keeps getting worse and the good news is so mild in comparison, so scant, that even a cautious optimist like me has to throw up her hands and try not to read too much news on the Internet.  There is so much conjecture and hot air fuming out of my TV and computer these days that I can scarcely breathe in my home.  I would like to throw a verbal temper tantrum but I would only be adding to the pundit global warming that is going on these days.

The Middle East isn’t the only problem: go south of the border, very south of the border to the oil-drenched shores of Louisiana.  The good news/bad news rollercoaster there is not buying friends for the folks at BP or for President Obama.  One day, capping the leak with mud failed.  A few days later, we hear that the containment cap placed on the gusher trapped about 1.67 million litres of oil…but the oil is still coming out.

I like a scapegoat as much as the next guy but if you’re going to pick between Mr. Obama and BP Chairman Tom “I’d like to get my life back” Hayward, I know which one I would choose to throw the rotten tomato at.  How he could fit a very big foot like that in his mouth is a question for physics.  When you think how many men died on that rig, how many livelihoods may be ruined by this disaster, it is hard to pity Hayward for losing quality time at the ski hill or golf course when so much of the Gulf of Mexico is likely to suffer damage that, some experts are saying, will not be fixed in our lifetime.  Perhaps this is a pessimistic assessment. The damage to fish stocks, animal and plant life may be understood better next year at this time, but right now, it’s looking very bad. Blaming Hayward may feel good, but what does it accomplish?

With all this bad news, the world desperately craves someone to blame, so making scapegoats of Obama, Hayward, the Israeli people, (instead of the Israeli government) seems to be a simple reaction to complex technical and political problems.  This is where we all get into trouble. 

There is no question that we need to hold guilty parties accountable for their actions and that measures have to be taken to provide equitable solutions to people who are suffering, whether it’s the people of Gaza who are living in an economic hell, the Israeli people who never know when a rocket will be lobbed on them, the widows and families of the men who were killed on that BP oil rig, and the people who make their living from the waters that still have gallons of oil gushing into them.

Regulatory agencies that are supposed to ensure the safety of offshore drilling need to do their jobs instead of kowtowing to the oil industry.  Politicians need to stop posturing and start negotiating in an atmosphere of mutual respect and a willingness to protect human life and the dignity of human life.  Until people do their jobs right, this planet and its inhabitants remain in a perilous state, and no amount of pointed fingers will change that.



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