Household and industrial trash has become for the world's poor a more viable source of sustenance than the agriculture and husbandry that has supported civiization since the first cities sprang up in the Fertile Crescent.So writes Matthew Power in this month's Harper's. (No, Not Harper's Bazaar.) It's a dispatch from Payatas, a massive garbage dump in the Philippines that sustains at least as many people gleaning goods for resell from it, as it kills with toxic methane emanating from it. Aside from the residual death from methane and sundry other toxicity, there's the odd suffocation or maiming accompanying thousands of trucks dumping tons of garbage amid a social hierarchy of scavengers on a daily basis.
And this is why, my friends, there is such a market for happy pills. Who on earth could even feign interest in Paris Hilton's "stand" or give a nod to Donald Rumsfeld's too little too late memo, without a little serotonin tilt, given that dump living is way of life in parts of the world? (And sadly, to some people, it's probably a preferred one.)
And then this, from Paul Ford's Weekly Review in Harper's on November 21, 2006:
In Hillah, Iraq, a man promising work lured day-laborers into a minivan, then blew it up, killing 22 people. “The ground was covered with the remains of people and blood,” said a laborer, “and survivors ran in all directions.” Thirty people were killed in attacks in Mosul, Baquba, and Baghdad, four American security contractors and an Austrian were kidnapped in Basra, and a deputy health minister was kidnapped in Baghdad. “Where is the government?” yelled a woman in Mashtal, after multiple bombs killed 11 civilians. “Women and children were killed. God is great, God is great.” [ABC News] Senator John McCain said that American troops in Iraq were “fighting and dying for a failed policy”; Henry Kissinger said that he didn't believe a military victory in Iraq is possible;[The New York Times] and Army Specialist James Barker admitted that he had raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and helped murder her family in March 2006.[BBC News] Tony Blair told Al Jazeera that western intervention in Iraq had been “pretty much of a disaster,”[Times Online] and 40 firefighters in the United Kingdom carried out a two-hour rescue operation to bring a sheep down from a ledge.[Sky News]
I think the body count for us is 2800+ now; hundreds of thousands for them. Our maimed and lame reach historic proportions.
Had more to lament, but I need to wash my hair and there's a roaring fire in the fireplace, and an overindulgence in whole wheat spinach and mozarella ravioli with pesto sauce sits heavily in my gut.
Oh yeah! WAMU is ceasing to air Talk of the Nation on December 11 (except for Science Friday)! don't know how many other markets it's carried in, but it seems kinda odd that something "of the Nation" won't be heard in the Nation's capital. Maybe it'll be on WAMU's much ballyhooed, soon to debut HD stations. Who knows? Really, as long as I've got the Friday News Roundup with Diane Rehm and the DC Politics Hour with Kojo and Jonetta, I'm cool. Oh, and This American Life, of course.