Only Oil Matters to the Empire

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Oil drives our global economies. Oil is power. Oil fuels the Empire. Iraq and Iran together produce 8.3 million billion barrels a day of the liquid gold (figures from Offshore-Technology). Their joint oil reserves amount to 300,903 million barrels (figures from World Atlas). While the world’s largest oil producer with 12 mbbl barrels/day, the United States has only 39,230 million barrels of oil reserves. Venezuela tops the list with 300,878 million barrels. It’s no accident that the Empire is embedded in the Middle East. Controlling access to all that oil is vital to its continued survival.

Guyana will soon be part of that blessed-accursed herd of oil producing nations. With six billion barrels, and climbing, of oil reserves, Guyana now overtakes Venezuela in the overheated top seat. As a small country with racial divisive politics, the developing CARICOM member nation is easy prey for the Empire. It’s also corrupted at its core—the scourge of former colonial territories rich in natural resources. Trapped under the claws of the Eagle since its conception, the country is now secure in its nest.

In his letter to the editor of Guyana’s Kaieteur News on January 7, 2020, Dr. Gary Girdhari expresses misgivings about the legacy of oil giants in oil producing countries, even within their own home countries.

Guyana’s leaders, he writes, “ignore elemental facts, namely, in Africa, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere where oil wealth is secured in the pockets of Big Oil and a select few government officials and their cronies; and where inequality and extreme poverty spiral downwards.” 

Dr. Girdhari shares my concern about the impact of the fossil fuel industry on Earth’s environment and climate. He reminds the Guyanese people: “The International Press is replete with information regarding fossil fuel and its ruination to the environment – regarding carbon emission, depletion of the ozone layer, and extreme climate change. Already the world is witnessing the effects of permafrost melting in the Arctic and deforestation in Brazil and Africa. The tipping point is approaching sooner than we think.” 

I don’t share his hope “for total disbandment of oil in Guyana…and that good environmentally-friendly judgement triumphs.” I believe that it’s too late in the game. Guyana is already in the pockets of ExxonMobil and other players in the fossil fuel industry. 

To the Empire, only oil matters. It is prepared to use severe economic sanctions and military force to secure and control Earth’s oil reserves. Our lives—we the people of Earth—don’t matter. Let the trees burn. Let the ice caps melt. Let the wildlife die.

The Empire began 2020 with an act of war against Iran and Iraq. Warfare is Big Business. Warfare is barbaric. Warfare is self-destructive: It turns our young men into killers of innocent women, children, and babies. Heroes for the Empire.

I say NO to war with Iran. I say NO to the never-ending wars of the Empire. I say NO to more failed sovereign states. I say NO to ‘rubblized’ cities and uprooted broken families. I say NO to ecocide.

I say YES to ending our dependency on fossil fuels. I say YES to the Green New Deal.

 

Catching up…

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I’m finally catching up after a year-end, ten-day break. No TV. No Internet.  My son, an independent contractor, decided that the December holiday season was the best time for him to tackle the flooring of our rental apartment that was in critical need of repair and renovation.

What a jolt to return to the drums of war with Iran! I missed sharing my year-end reflections, now rendered meaningless in the face of such reckless decision-making. In this New Year 2020, I wish that saner minds will prevail across our nation and worldwide.

During my absence from WordPress, I missed the following praise for Under the Tamarind Tree: A Novel, posted on my blog on December 28, 2019, by American bilingual writer Rebecca Cuningham, blogging at Fake Flamenco:

Characters extremely compelling.

Rosaliene, I’ve read your novel! I learned so much about Guyana; history, culture, language, food, and the ethnic backgrounds of the country. I felt I was learning deep culture from an expert and that my time reading was a journey. The characters were extremely compelling. The years leading up to independence from Britain are so momentous and full of tension. What a surprise ending and it also seemed right. Thank you for the education and the well crafted story.

Read more PRAISE FOR UNDER THE TAMARIND TREE: A NOVEL at my writer’s website, rosalienebacchus.com.


Dear Reader, my debut novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, is available at Rosaliene’s Store on Lulu.com and other book retailers at Amazon, BAM! Book-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, and Indie Bound.
Learn more about Under the Tamarind Tree at Rosaliene’s writer’s website.

Thought for Today: We have failed…

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We have failed…through our lack of responsible awareness…and thus added to suffering around the world. All of us are cripples—some physically, some mentally, some emotionally. We must, therefore, strive cooperatively to create a new world. There is no time left for destruction, for hatred, for anger. We must build, in hope and joy and celebration.

~ Ivan Illich (1926-2002), Austrian philosopher and former Roman Catholic priest, as quoted in Wisdom Through the Ages: From Great Minds by Gary Girdhari, A Guyana Journal Publication, New York City, USA, 2018.

“Confession” – Poem by Tunisian American Poet Leila Chatti

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Tunisian American Poet Leila Chatti
Photo Credit: Leila Chatti Website

 

My Poetry Corner December 2019 features the poem “Confession” by Tunisian American poet and educator Leila Chatti, published in the anthology of poetry Halal If You Hear Me: BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3, edited by Fatimah Asghar and Safia Elhillo.

Born in 1990 in Oakland, California, Leila Chatti is one of four children of a Tunisian father and American mother. Her parents met when her father came to the United States to study for his PhD. Her father, the only one of seven children to leave Tunisia, maintained a close relationship with relatives by having his American-born family spend the summers with them.

Raised a Muslim by her father, Chatti began fasting for Ramadan at seven years old. Her experiences associated with fasting—hunger, restraint, obedience, resilience, lack—played a significant role in shaping the person she has become. In her poem, “Fasting in Tunis,” she recalls:

My God taught me hunger
is a gift, it sweetens
the meal. All day, I have gone without
because I know at the end I will
eat and be satisfied. In this way,
my desire is bearable. Continue reading

On giving this Christmas

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Christmas Cactus – Gift of Mother Earth – My succulent garden
Photo taken November 23, 2019

 

Our climate emergency is for real. In his address at the opening of the United Nations Climate Change Conference held on December 2 to 13, 2019, in Madrid, Spain, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said:

The latest, just-released data from the World Meteorological Organization show that levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high. Global average levels of carbon dioxide reached 407.8 parts per million in 2018. And I remember, not long ago, 400 parts per million was seen as an unthinkable tipping point. We are well over it. The last time there was a comparable concentration of CO2 was between 3 and 5 million years ago, when the temperature was between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius warmer than now and sea levels were 10 to 20 metres higher than today.

Yet our collective behavior indicate that we humans are still in denial. Here in the United States, beginning on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, commercial activity has exploded with preparations for the Christmas festivities. Whether we’re Christians or not, Christmas traditions permeate our lives.

Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, organized by our town and city halls, mark the beginning of the season. We decorate our homes. In some neighborhoods, homeowners seem to outdo each other in decorating their front yards. Our children take part in Christmas pageants that enact the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the cause of joyful celebrations among Christians worldwide. Traditional Christmas carols lift our spirits. Another important part of our Christmas traditions is Santa Claus with his workshop of elves, toiling year-round to make gifts for children for delivery during the wee hours on Christmas Day. Continue reading

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Welcome to the U.S. Future – It Looks a Lot Like the Ukraine Past – Opinion — Guyanese Online

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Trump’s Shakedown Makes Washington Just Another Racket The impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump has pulled my homeland, Ukraine, into the spotlight, and more Americans are talking about it than ever before. Yet few see it clearly. Some still call it — wrongly — “the Ukraine”, and few seem willing to spell the name of […]

via Welcome to the U.S. Future – It Looks a Lot Like the Ukraine Past – Opinion — Guyanese Online

 

“Silent Warrior” by Indigenous Brazilian Poet Márcia Wayna Kambeba

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Márcia Wayna Kambeba – Indigenous Poet – Belém – Pará – Brazil
Photo Credit: Brazilian Women’s Magazine Seja Extraordinária

 

My Poetry Corner November 2019 features the poem “Silent Warrior” (Silêncio Guerreiro) by Márcia Wayna Kambeba, the artistic name of Márcia Vieira da Silva, an indigenous Brazilian poet, geographer, performer, and activist for indigenous rights. Born in 1979 in the village of Belém do Solimões in the northern Brazilian state of Pará, she is of Omágua Kambeba ethnicity. At eight years, she moved with her family to São Paulo de Olivença—once the largest settlement of the Kambeba people—in Amazonas. Today, she lives in the city of Belém, capital of Pará.

In the opening stanza of the title poem—written in Tupi followed by its translation in Portuguese—of her poetry collection, Ay Kakyri Tama – Eu Moro na Cidade (Ay Kakyri Tama – I Live in the City), she writes:

I live in the city
This city is also our village
We do not erase our ancestral culture
Come white man, let us dance our ritual.

Influenced by her grandmother, a teacher and poet, Márcia Wayna began writing her first poems at twelve years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in geography at the Amazonas State University in Manaus. In 2012, she received her master’s degree at the Amazonas Federal University. For her dissertation, she documented the history of the Omágua Kambeba people from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century, examining the relationship between territory, identity, and ethnicity. Her poetry collection, self-published in 2018, is the transformation of her dissertation to inform others about the invisible life of indigenous peoples.

Continue reading

Under the Tamarind Tree: Book Review by Robert A. Vella

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A gripping page-turner that will tug hard on your heartstrings


Robert A. Vella, science fiction author of The Martian Patriarch (2012), has posted a review of my novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, on his blog, The Secular Jurist.

Under the Tamarind Tree by Rosaliene Bacchus is a fictional story centered on a young man in British Guyana from 1950 to the nation’s independence in the late 1960s.  The two-decade long tale of his life is highlighted with haunting memories of his childhood, captivating family intrigue exquisitely unwound by the author, and touching marital troubles all told within the context of a culturally diverse country torn by political and ethnic strife.  It’s a gripping page-turner that will tug hard on your heartstrings.

The story moves along briskly from scene to scene and is delightfully filled with tactile samplings of Guyanese culture particularly its lifestyles, cuisine, and colloquial speech.  Reading it brought the activities, tastes, sounds, and even the climate and geography of the country vividly to my mind.  It was almost like being there.  This quality of the novel cannot be understated and it is the most essential component of the story.

Continue reading at The Secular Jurist WordPress blog

 


Dear Reader, my debut novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, is available at Rosaliene’s Store on Lulu.com and other book retailers at Amazon, BAM! Book-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, and Indie Bound.

Learn more about Under the Tamarind Tree at Rosaliene’s writer’s website.

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

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Cartoon: We are Destroying Earth
Photo Credit: Union of Concerned Scientists/Justin Bilicki

 

On November 5, 2019 more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries signed a declaration, published in the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, that states “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.” Though scientists began alerting world leaders forty years ago about global warming, greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar.

In an effort to expand our understanding of the climate emergency, the scientists have prepared several graphics of the vital signs of climate change over the last forty years.

The climate crisis is closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle.

The 15 charts in Figure 1 depict the changes in global human activities from 1979 to the present:

01. Human population
02. Total fertility rate
03. Ruminant livestock (cattle)
04. Per capita meat production
05. World GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
06. Global tree cover loss
07. Brazilian Amazon Forest loss
08. Energy consumption (oil, coal, gas, solar/wind)
09. Air transport (by number of passengers)
10. Total institutional fossil fuel assets divested
11. CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions
12. Per capita CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions
13. Greenhouse gas emissions covered by carbon pricing
14. Carbon price
15. Fossil fuel subsidies

The 14 charts in Figure 2 depict the climatic response time series for the same period, 1979 to the present:

01. Carbon dioxide in atmosphere
02. Methane in atmosphere
03. Nitrous oxide in atmosphere
04. Surface temperature change
05. Minimum Arctic sea ice
06. Greenland ice mass change
07. Antarctica ice mass change
08. Glacial thickness change
09. Ocean heat content change
10. Ocean acidity
11. Sea level change
12. Area burned in the United States
13. Extreme weather/climate/hydro events
14. Annual losses due to weather/climate/hydro events Continue reading

Lessons from Nature: Adapting to Change

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Section of my succulent garden

 

The succulent plants in my garden brighten my life. During humanity’s mad dash towards the abyss, their quiet dynamic presence calm my troubled mind. Under California’s scorching sunshine that set dry brush ablaze, my succulent plants have found a way to survive the extreme heat. Some change color; others become more compact in form.

“Flap Jack” or Paddle Plant – Parent plant under heat stress

“Flap Jack” or Paddle Plant – Area of little direct sunlight
Grown from cuttings from parent plant

 

Given their amazing ability to propagate from cuttings, I’ve planted succulents in several garden plots of our apartment complex. I marvel at their adaptation to different soil quality and amount of sunlight.

Aeonium “Mint Saucer” – Area with full sunlight

Aeonium “Mint Saucer” – Little sunlight during early morning

 

The adverse effects of our climate and ecological crises will intensify in the years ahead. It’s already happening here in California. People who have lost their homes in areas ravaged by wildfires must now question the viability of staying and rebuilding. This is also the case for areas facing prolonged drought and frequent flooding.

My birthplace in Georgetown, Guyana, is also under threat. The Guyanese Online Blog recently posted a video (duration 2:04 minutes) demonstrating the gravity of the situation.

Source: Guyanese Online Blog

 

A time is coming—perhaps, sooner than we envisage—when people everywhere across our country and planet will be on the move. Pulling up our roots and resettling in different lands is nothing new for our species. But the climate and ecological changes already underway will demand much more of us.

Like the succulents, will our species adapt to surviving on less water, on less food? How will we adapt to living on a hotter planet?