THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN
“So-called leaders…not fit to lead” (Or, live?)
‘…President Obama condemned political leaders who continue to express skepticism about global warming during a speech at the GLACIER conference in Alaska (a couple of days ago) …”The science is stark, it is sharpening,” …Obama warned of a doomsday future if climate change was unchecked, warning of a future with “submerged countries,” “abandoned cities” and political disruptions and conflicts…”Any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that — any so-called leader that does not take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke — they’re not fit to lead,” he said sternly… “The time to plead ignorance is surely past. Those who want to ignore the science, they are increasingly alone,” he said. ’
- (Source: http://www.breitbart.com/obama/2015/08/31/obama-leaders-who-joke-about-climate-change-are-not-fit-to-lead/)
I was watching the live TV coverage on CNN as the leader of the world’s most powerful country made the pronouncement above. President Barrack Obama, who is Commander-in-Chief of the military with about HALF the world’s military expenditures, had paused dramatically after the words “…or treats it like a joke”, lowered his head like a bull about to charge, before hissing out with his erudite resonance: “not fit to live…” I heard “not fit to live”…NOT “not fit to lead”. Whatever…! Obama’s words should send ominous chills down the spines of all leaders.
That was Obama speaking! That was the man who has used more military drones and has struck down more elusive terrorist leaders than all other US presidents before him – including then seemingly inviolable and invisible Osama bin Laden!! Stretch your imagination on what could be happening even before Obama made his belligerent and provocative statement.
Sending drones to drone ‘leaders not fit to lead’?
President Obama and his former Vietnam-War-veteran Secretary of State, John Kerry, and his formidable array of Joint Chief of Staffs, are sitting down in a bunker entranced at some wide screen filtering in information from hovering drones…. And, “zap this president, he is not fit to lead…” Boom!!! “Zap this prime minister….she is not fit to live. She is a Climate Change War Criminal!!” Then, a lawyer-military general winced, saying, “Sir, shouldn’t we stick to ‘not fit to lead’….using ‘not fit to live’… could lead us down the ‘Richard Nixon Road’….”. Obama glared at him…. And, in a rare display of emotion, Obama intoned: “This is the ultimate war!! It is a concentration of ALL the other wars…The American War of Independence; the First World War; the Second World War; the Vietnam War; the Korean War; the Arab-Isreali wars….the rebel war in Sierra Leone…”. And the five star general sprung to his feet, and saluted, “Yes, sir!!” The problem of Obama’s war team was how to choose their targets. To start with! Who are the worst culprits of Climate Change “not fit to lead”? Or, live?!!
‘Basic Information on Climate Change for Babies’
‘Basic Information on Climate Change for Babies’: man is burning fossil fuels, chopping down too many forests, and spewing too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is causing the planet to warm up. With increase warmth, the ice in the polar regions are melting. Ocean levels are rising. Climates are already getting chaotic – triggering floods, hurricanes, droughts, etc. This would lead to ‘drowning’ of coastal cities; droughts, starvation, and worsening of poverty. Who is to be blamed? The richest people in the United States, and Europe, joined by Japan, and now China and India.
The Gluttonous Guilty!!
The 19 million inhabitants of New York State alone consume more energy than the 900 million inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa. Re-read that sentence! The difference in energy consumption between a subsistence pastoralist in the Sahel and an average Canadian may easily be larger than 1,000-fold — and that is an average Canadian, not the owner of five houses, three SUVs, and a private airplane. A single average US citizen emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than 500 citizens of Ethiopia, Chad, Afghanistan, Mali, Sierra Leone or Burundi. Total average consumption of people in the United States is $35,198 a year, $23,332 a year in Germany, and even ‘poor debt-burdened Greece’ has an average consumption rate of $15,782 a year. Juxtapose that with average yearly consumption of $899 for Sierra Leone and Liberia’s $693. US citizens eat on average 124 kilo of meat in a year – as against Sierra Leone’s meat consumption rate of 4.3 kilo yearly. Oh no, if there are leaders not fit to lead (or, live!) because of Climate Change ‘crimes’, the first on the line to be prosecuted and sentenced would be leaders of the Western nations – including President Obama, whose ‘America’, he confessed, is about the biggest polluter in the world. The irony of today’s Climate Change looming tragedy is that those are the least guilty are going to pay the most for the ‘crimes’ of the ‘worst Climate Change criminals’.
The Guiltless are being Condemned to Climate Change Hell
No continent will be struck as severely by the impacts of Climate Change as Africa. Given its geographical position, Africa will be particularly vulnerable due to the considerably limited adaptive capacity, exacerbated by widespread poverty and the existing low levels of development. All the ‘economic growth’ over the past decade trumpeted in Africa would be rubbished by Climate Change. Africa’s human existence and development is under threat from the adverse impacts of Climate Change – its population, ecosystems and unique biodiversity will all be the major victims of global Climate Change. Those areas that are now rice growing regions would be flooded; fragile lands of the Sahel could be hit by famine and a return to the 1980s scenarios of nauseous sufferings that beggars the imagination.
The African Union, and institutions like the African Development Bank, are tinkering tiny ‘Christmas alarm bells’ for Africa – instead of clanging loud alarm gongs!! There are over a dozen institutions set up by African governments to address Climate Change. Alas, like in the past thirty or so years when African institutions would tout some ‘Decade of Industrialization for Africa’ vision, without massive media and people’s engagement, Africans are playing their typical slavish role as regards Climate Change: waiting for the ‘slave master’ to come to their rescue, to lend intensity and imagination to a problem wherein Africans would be the worst affected. For about thirty years, I have been writing on, developing projects about, the interconnection between Climate Change (it had another vogue word twenty something years ago: ‘Global Warming’) and the THOUGHT OF THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE.
Climate Change and the Atlantic Slave Trade
Twenty something years ago when I started doing linkage between Climate Change and the Atlantic Slave Trade I appeared to be talking about ‘the moon being made of cheese’. In the WWF-sponsored magazine I was the Editor and CEO for in Liberia, GREENLOVE, I did a cartoon showing slaves dangling out of the US’ famous Statue of Liberty, as the base, a tree, was being chopped down. In Nigeria in 1994, in the state with the largest remaining virgin tropical rainforest, Cross River State, I activated a project, evocatively called ‘Outlandish’, showing the linkage between ‘the Atlantic Slave Trade…tropical rainforests rapid loss…and the 1994 World Cup…’. It was aborted. Through quirk of events (I have published a serial on this), I was detained for about three months in military, special intelligence, and immigration cells in Nigeria, and put on a plane back to Sierra Leone in 1995. In 1996, an apologetic Nigeria High Commissioner in Sierra Leone, H.E. Chedi Abubakarr, sponsored the production of a video documentary that was the continuation of the idea I had started developing in Nigeria – this time linked with the Olympics 1996. I did the video. It was launched on SLBC TV with my humble self, and the Nigerian envoy, sitting next to the then environment minister, Sulaiman Tejan-Jalloh. Apparently, I was too ahead of my time. Twenty years after, Africa has not yet put the necessary glitz and glamour and panache to variables of Climate Change, and for the bulk of the African population, Climate Change could very well be happening on planet Pluto, for all they care. Climate Change is a human problem, essentially – and Africans are human too.
The God Species….Destroying all Life
In Mark Lyman’s The God Species, we read: “God’s power is now increasingly being exercised by us. We are the creators of life, but we are also its destroyers.” Naomi Klein, who in her bestselling book, This Changes Everything, expertly lays bare the myriad ways in which capital accumulation, in general…is consuming the earth’s systems. Klein argues: “We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe…and would benefit the vast majority…are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.” As one watches global TV today and hear US’ Republican presidential candidate aspirant, Donald Trump, rail against Mexico and China for diminishing the economic conditions in the US, one is appalled to realize that the billionaire could be ready to wage war on the world so that the most gluttonous nation on earth would consume more.
It is people like Donald Trump who Klein postulate should have their ideas jettisoned if we are to win the Climate Change ‘war’: to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems. Humanity either embraces radical change…or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The global status quo of ‘slave master’ (Europeans/Americans) and ‘slave’ (Africans, largely) is no longer an option. Klein describes the climate crisis as “.. a confrontation between capitalism and the planet”; philosopher John Gray counters in The Guardian, “It would be more accurate to describe the crisis as a clash between the expanding demands of humankind and a finite world.” For us in Africa, Climate Change victory should be Africans winning final freedom from the bondage of the Atlantic Slave Trade Thought which is today masquerading as globalism. Would the ‘Kenyan-American’ United States President Obama commit ‘political suicide’ to save the world – as the first among the leaders “not fit to lead” (Or, not fit to even live!!)?