Summertime and brace up for more spectacular show of drastic measures across the planet and in your part of the world. Bleak future ahead if we go by COP 21 reports unless what ? Capitalism takes a rest and gives Nature a break ?
Well, unless you do something about it. If you think that eating beef burgers in American style fast food restaurants is the coolest thing for Mum, Dad and their two kids to do out in town on Sundays, then forget the acres of forest lands in poorer countries that are converted into pasture lands for cattle and the meat shipped off to richer countries for large scale consumption. Do not think of the hormones and antibiotics in the food that feeds cattle and make their way to your stomach.
Forget the helicopters that spray chemicals on green grass to speed up the growth of sheep on the hills and mountains in New Zealand, and the lamb chops, legs, etc., that are displayed in nearby supermarkets. Better close our ears and not hear about the huge amounts of water engulfed in rearing animals which end up in slaughter houses for our pleasure. Shed a few tears on homeless polar bears looking at you miserably on television, and head off to your favourite restaurant and make your choice of the animal world offered to you.
Eat a lot of fruits every day, they tell you, but do not expect to pick up fruits in the Garden of Eden. Age of Innocence is over. No more pure natural fruits in Paradise. Apples, kiwis, oranges are boosted with hormones to grow faster and faster. To such a point that two well-known intellectuals, Patrick Chamoiseau and Edouard Glissant wrote furiously to denounce the monkey business going on with tons of pesticides spread over acres of banana plantation in the West Indies. Disastrous consequences: cancer and male infertility.
What if your bank acounts are too full? Hanker after the latest brand of cars on the market. In America, there are two cars for three persons. Let the chieftain of Tuvalu get emotional over the disappearance of his island and its people. Who cares? The eyes of the young lady behind the desk at the bank in Port Louis brighten up as she converses on the phone instead of attending to customers: Mo loto pé vini la. By boat, it seemed. That a new car can provide such excitement goes beyond you especially as you cling to your old car like Colombo until it gives its last breath!
For sure, the capitalist system carries out a serious study of our primitive monkey instinct by flooding our lives with commercials and making us jump to the ceilings craving for any junk industrialized food or new gadgets that are invented. The capitalist system hires a special breed of psychologists to study our herd mindset. Do like your neighbours and keep acquiring things you don’t need. TV commercials know best how to make you believe that life will be better if you keep buying new stuff and drinking fizzy drinks that makes your stomach look like an Emmental cheese.
‘We are living in terrible times. They have instilled poison in whatever they have touched in this world.’ Not an anti-West IS soldier speaking, but a respectable gentleman of Indian origin. Who are ‘they’? Westerners. The Midas touch fills their pockets while it contaminates Mother Earth, animals and other people’s lives. Profits, profits and more profits. Ever since they have poisoned everything, the economic system, the ways of thinking, international relations, you name it! Blame game goes on and on!
Oh, come on! Cow urine and the barter system belong to the past. The West gave us planes, cars, washing machines, the Internet and almost everything. Put the blame on demographic explosion, the terrible burden on Earth and millions of mouths to feed.
He ate only fruits for years until he got married. You know what? he said, we can survive by eating only fruits. If you tell that to the world, food industries will hound you until they lay their hands on you. You can also live without eating, you know. (That would be great! It would solve all our problems, indeed!) Who are we to exploit the earth unrelentlessly to fill our stomach? We plant vegetables and mercilessly take the life out of them to feed ourselves. Do we ask their permission?
No meat, no vegetables, no planes, no travelling, think only of cutting down CO2. What a life!
Summertime the world over. A nightmarish vision. So clean up in front of your door, we are told. Too late now to get out of the trap we are entangled in. Cry, future generations, cry.
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Operation Clean or Perish
Imagine we had a private television and a Muppet show. Local politicians would best be represented like toreros riding bulls with a broom to clean up the Augean stables.
Every five years a re-mix of the same breed of politicians promises to take bulls by their horns, a favourite mantra hammered into our ears, and start a Cleaning Operation sparing no one. The former PM was first on the line to have a first-hand experience of the deluge that was unleashed to swallow him up. From Paris to Italy, his closest cronies stayed away safely in the golden Arch watching the waves of wrath, the sound and fury below. Another fitting image in the imaginary Muppet show is the Pontius Pilatus gesture of washing hands off dirty connections to save one’s own skin. Betrayal, revenge and connivance are the main ingredients in the unfolding soap opera that has been entertaining the public since the beginning of the year. Cooperate or perish, shady characters wasted no time in making their choice.
The PM threatens to throw away all ABC bloodsuckers. First, may we know who is doing what? So many ministers in a small island when barely six efficient hard workers would have been enough. On the contrary, do not be surprised if a new ministry is set up to check the effectiveness of good governance!
In the meantime, watch the front row of Parliament flanked by so many vices, we mean vice-PMs, a big joke of so-called symbolic ethnic balance so that the population sleeps soundly at night. For your own benefit, vice-PMs take charge of everything under the Sun of Mauritius: lands, cars, planes, goat, beef, pilgrims and pork embassies and so on. Do you know exactly who should sort out the street hawkers issue in the capital? They all rolled up their sleeves to settle the issue for good: mayors, ministry for the Environment and Disasters, that of Transport and Public Infrastructure, and the latest one who promised to stick to a no-nonsense policy. Wait and see.
However, walking along Farquhar Street recently without stumbling on items and trinkets laid out on the ground and without bumping into every pedestrian was for once quite a relief. Sitting comfortably with their family in official limousines paid off public funds, MPs are spared the daily harassment of noise and chaos the public is exposed to. Make no mistake, it requires more than police patrol and temporary half-measures to restore law and order.
Operation Merciless Fou Deor is bound to awake ABCs from their slumber behind their desk and create a few ripples in the smooth lake their life is. Right now, the public would rather hear the muscled speech of the PM after years of putting up with the soft and lax attitude of his predecessor as regards a wide scale sanitizing project.
* Published in print edition on 25 December 2015