Ever since I was young, I knew that Somalia was a shit-hole. I’ve never been there and its existence has no bearing on my life, but I knew it. It was something that stuck in my mind, although I couldn’t explain my reasoning. I just knew, without any idea of the history or culture of this far away place. I was young and it was easier to plant ideas in my head, even stupid ideas, which I would politely accept. I had a lot of questions, because at that same time I was only curious about the place because the United States had to intervene in the area. When that intervention turned ugly we left. That’s about the breadth of my knowledge.
Aid still filters into most countries that we helped destroy. Money is one of the great Band-Aids of our history. I never knew that either as a boy.
Why am I discussing a third-world country in reference to a small town that nobody knows within the United States? Because it’s a prime example of what happens once those in power have what they want. This isn’t a Somali problem. This is happening in our backyards… MY backyard… LITERALLY. They come, like conquistadors, as in the Spanish to the Aztecs, who claimed to be ‘blessing’ the heathen indigenous cultures with Christianity, before they perpetrated the most extensive genocide in history. They’ll claim to be ‘providing opportunities’, but their “opportunities” are akin to those that a shark brings to the Pilot Fish. They’ll enter your town, like a virus infecting a healthy cell. They’ll devour everything vital and leave your town as a hollowed-out husk. Somalia is a reminder that some corporations will do anything to maintain profit-margins, justifying their means, but for surrounding areas it means stealing and corrupting everything that makes you vital.
In North Dakota, (where the link at the top opens) the expeditions for Bakken oil have led to the expulsion of 275,000 tons of methane per year.. http://www.noaa.gov/north-dakota%E2%80%99s-bakken-oil-and-gas-field-leaking-275000-tons-methane-year For those who don’t know, methane is bad. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060829-methane-warming_2.html
In Hoosick Falls, New York just a few months ago Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International perpetrated the same injustice and the city hasn’t been able to use their water without the fear of infecting themselves with harmful carcinogens. https://www.epa.gov/ny/hoosick-falls-water-contamination The company, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International, manufactured plastic in the region. The same chemicals to manufacture plastic went into their water. It’s troubling, because we assume we’re safe and don’t suspect that those putting chemical agents into our water are our own corporations and government! I could put another link for Flint, Michigan, where the government and corporations were culpable in poisoning their people, but we should all know by now… and I’ve put too many links already…. and really… there are just so many links that deserve to be shared.
Walking Columbia Turnpike, you see two steam towers behind a red-brick building with busted windows and graffiti painting some of its walls. The building is still functional, but doesn’t look like much. It belongs to B.A.S.F., one of the few companies remaining in our city. Behind it is Empire Generating Co, where they use natural gas to generate energy between Rensselaer, East Greenbush, Albany and Troy. Before today, I didn’t know much about them. They were just there, in the back of the city and in the back of my mind. It’s too quiet in this place. Traffic is mostly tankers and eighteen-wheelers. They carry over another bridge into what remains of our ‘industrial park’, where the remnants of once great monoliths still stand.
When I think of Somalia now, ages from where I was when the United States first intervened, I think of desperation. You can look now to the facts: 13th worldwide in death rate per year, 3rd in maternal mortality rate and infant mortality, male life expectancy at 50.Around the same time that I learned about Somalia, I also learned about the glorious history of the Hudson River. General Electric poisoned that years ago, dumping polychlorinated biphenyl, which was once used in most coolants, for which the dredging has only just begun. Corporations tried to kill us years ago and have been tirelessly trying to kill our species for years. In a new effort to put the final nail in the coffin of our fair city, the ‘Pilgrim Company’, has proposed constructing a 178 mile long pipeline from New Jersey and up through New York state.
Then, again… maybe this is too desperate a thing for a simple-minded person like myself to understand. There’s so much information to sort through. I just heard about this pipeline and my mind went wild. I don’t even know HOW I got on the subject of Somalia. I’d hate to judge it from the outside… I’m sure it’s GREAT. Then again, experience is the greatest teacher. But… if that’s the case… when do we learn to stop treating the world like a toilet? Maybe that’s the lesson… the world is your toilet!