We didn’t wake up. Neither did 3,787 officially. They didn’t because they were dead. We didn’t wake up because we don’t want to. And just a little reality check. The combined death toll from the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Pennsylvania conspiracy of terror was 2,996. Under the guise of seeking justice, we have prosecuted a series of wars which have cost Iraqis and Afghanis over 1 million lives and have cost the U.S. and its allies more than double the lives lost on 9-11. But the reason why most of you are scratching your heads wondering what mass casualty event took place 29 years ago this week is because the terror gas attack wasn’t a radical Muslim gundamentalist (a term coined by my dear friend Moustapha Sarhank). It wasn’t a born-again, pro-life Evangelical listening to voices in his head tell him of the depravity of civilization and his god-given role in bringing judgment on sinners. No, this act of terror was perpetrated by an organization that was founded in 1917 with the union of two organizations which were launched in 1898 and 1886 at the birth of the industrial movement.
No stranger to death, this organization killed 476 of its own between 1927 and 1932. Foreshadowing their deadly attack in 1984, this mass killing was also done with an aerosolized agent. Untold thousands died from other airborne toxins unleashed by this organization silently killing workers and consumers alike. From 1976 until 1984, insiders and external observers reported deaths and disabilities but the lure of the organization’s ideology was so intoxicating that these were neglected. And, according to the official inquest following the December 2-3, 1984 mass killing, safeguards installed by the organization were switched off to “save money”.
And as we see mind-controlled, sedated Americans stampede into the temples built by Sam Walton to worship the same golden calf of “saving money”, it dawns on me how few of the Citizens of the World will actually bother to read this blog post or share it. Why? Because taking on this religion (and yes, even religion owes its existence to the same pagan, blood-lusting idolatry) is a heresy too great to stomach. And 29 years later, no war has been waged by those who were attacked. No reprisals have been prosecuted. In fact, the architect of the attack was flown out of the country he attacked in the government’s own plane. How’s that for a twist? And in their Deloitte & Touche LLP audited financial statements, they callously footnote that they probably have liabilities for breathing-related illness and death that may be about $2.2 billion. This figure eclipses the total out-of-court settlement the organization reached with those attacked of $470 million including generous payments to victims with permanent life-altering health effects the stunning sum of $380 and the families of the dead the whopping sum of $950.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a fresh garden vegetable on a tossed salad, you’ve probably ingested a non-lethal dose of Sevin®, the Garden Insect Killer. This lovely little toxin is now proudly distributed by the “Science For A Better Life” company, Bayer. And to produce this compound which thankfully is illegal in the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Iran, Germany (how’s that for a paradox?) and Angola, you can use a very complicated sounding word (for those of you who think my blog is too difficult to read and understand, I’m warning you… Big Word Coming!) methyl isocynate (MIC). This little organic compound - CH3NCO – can be highly unstable in the presence of a lot of things, including water. And MIC was the toxin of choice used by the organization that elected to kill its neighbors – neighbors in the city we all breathlessly read about 29 years ago this week – Bhopal.
The reason why 3,787 people had to die three weeks before Christmas was because Union Carbide needed to save money to boost shareholder profits. The reason why miners in West Virginia died of silica poisoning was to boost profits. The reason why audited financials describe “potential” liability is because the actual liability exists and the question is whether they’ll be held accountable. And the reason why we collectively don’t care is because we want to have our tomatoes and garden vegetables untouched by insects so bad that we’ll kill for it!
Just the cost of industrial economies, right? Twenty thousand dead in Bougainville courtesy of the abuses of Rio Tinto and, to this day, the world turns a blind eye while Bougainville Copper Limited seeks to pass a mining law illegally so they can do it all over again. Nearly all of my ‘socially conscious’ friends compose their rants about morality on Apple computers and tablets while the 40,000 workers in China continue to suffer from “numerous labor abuses” including those egregious enough to lead to another 4 documented suicides this year. Apple, in the spirit of the holidays, agreed to cap workers’ hours to 60 hours per week (wow, really generous of them!). And their apologists rail against the most recent report of labor abuses by lauding the nearly $500 a month salaries generously paid to workers so that Apple can not return profits to shareholders but rather pump helium into its already bloated stock price.
Next week we celebrate the 72nd anniversary of Hitler’s declaration of war on the United States. But eight years earlier (80 years ago) another industrial power decided that the lives of its own and others were expendable for ideologies of supremacy and “exceptionalism” (thanks, B.O. for bringing that wonderful term back for us after GW gave us the SS Homeland Security reprise). Turning a complicit blind eye towards injustice, a great culture and people allowed their inertia to be hijacked into tyranny. As then, we now have evidence that we could care less about the lives that have been rented, purchased, or killed so that we can consume at a discount. Twenty-nine years later, we still out-source our consciences to lands remote enough to avoid confronting the cost of our consumption. And one day, history will ask, where were those who actually had a conscience? It’s a chilly night. It’s the night before cyber-Monday! See if you can actually put your credit card down long enough to find out what your products really cost before you decide that they’d make the perfect gift! And stop B.S.ing yourself into believing that the dollar you saved didn’t come at a cost!
Hugs and Kisses – Scrooge