Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shah of Shahs

Have been reading Kapuscinski's book on the Iranian Revolution and struck by the remarkable similarities with the present events (even though the Mullah's regime appears a good bit less tyrannical than the Shah's). Although not expilicitly connected to what's going on this week this lengthy passage really struck me as the depressing inevitability of people's willingness to ignore experience and repeat the mistakes of greed, hubris and division.

'Oil kindles extraordinary emotions and hopes, since oil is above all a great temptation. It is the temptation of ease, wealth, strength, fortune, power. It is a filthy, foul-smelling liquid that spurts obligingly up into the air and falls back to earth as a rustling shower of money. To discover and possess the source of oil is to feel as if, after wandering long underground, you have suddenly stumbled upon royal treasure. Not only do you become rich, but you are also visited by the mystical conviction that some higher power has looked upon you with the eye of grace and magnanimously elevated you above others, electing you its favourite. Many photographs preserve the moment when the first oil spurts from the well: people jumping for joy, falling into each other's arms, weeping. Oil creates the illusion of a completely changed life, life without work, life for free. Oil is a resource that anesthetizes thought, blurs vision, corrupts. People from poor countries go around thinking: God, if only we had oil! The concept of oil expresses perfectly the eternal human dream of wealth achieved through lucky accident, through a kiss of fortune and not by sweat, anguish, hard work. In this sense oil is a fairy tale and, like every tale, a bit of a lie. Oil fills us with such arrogance that we begin believing we can easily overcome such unyielding obstacles as time. With oil, the last Shah used to say, I will create a second America in a generation! He never created it. Oil, though powerful, has its defects. It does not replace thinking or wisdom. For rulers one of its most alluring qualities is that it strengthens authority. Oil produces great profits without putting a lot of people to work. Oil causes few social problems because it creates neither a numerous proletariat nor a sizable bourgeoisie. Thus, the government freed from the need of splitting profits with anyone, can dispose of them according to its own ideas and desires. Look at the ministers from oil countries, how high they hold their heads, what a sense of power they have, they, the lords of energy, who decide whether we will be driving cars tomorrow or walking. And oil's relation to the Mosque? What vigor, glory, and significance this new wealth has given to its religion, Islam, which is enjoying a period of accelerated expansion and attracting new crowds to the faithful.'

Try this link to follow what's unfolding in Iran today...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Everybody Aht!!

While I sympathise with my working Brothers and Sisters in the RMT in their struggle to fight the filthy capitalist aggression of the corporate bourgeoisie did they have to bloody strike for two and a half sodding days. Business is drier than a snake's ass today...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Enquiry of the Day

'Do you have anything on war and conflict management?'

Ace Jokes

On Adam & Joe just now:

How do you find Will Smith in the snow?
Just look for the Fresh Prince

Why did Rachel's colleague at the office go to jail?
He was inciting Rachel hatred

What do you call a Newcastle Ian Curtis fan?

What do you call the antipodean prophet who absorbed the 10 commandments?