Resource Grabs and Compensation for Those Devastated by the Pilfering

rain forest

Those to whom we all owe substantial recompense are primarily people in the mid-south of the planet. This is because that is where the brunt of the desirable resources are and the people in the lands with these riches often barely make enough money to live. In fact they are often heavily exploited and we need to pay them back for the many “goodies” that we have such as gold, uranium for nuclear power plants, copper, diamonds and so, so much more.

Simultaneously the consumers often rapaciously keep taking and taking ever more “goodies” for themselves and their families. Meanwhile they are ignorant of the heavy, tragic toll that such taking has brought.

As Rob Moir in one of his “Global Warming Solutions” emails wrote: “We all saw the fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest last summer. But they were no accident. Most were deliberately set to clear land for agricultural purposes. And, while Americans coast to coast were outraged at the destruction of the planet’s lungs burning, they were a product of our own consumer dollars.

“A recent report shows how firms that fuel the destruction of the Amazon rainforest openly trade with and receive financial support from major U.S. investors and corporations. These producers of soy, cattle, and timber have documented illegal deforestation, slave labor, corruption, and other human atrocities – and the U.S. is playing a role in financing it.”

This travesty, of course, means that in part US taxpayers fund the ravage so that the US government can give a bright green light to and support for the companies involved in the land and resource grabs always taking place around the world. Accordingly I feel guilty and culpable in that I buy products from some of these obviously corrupt companies.

In fact, the wrongful and successful corporations get rich partly by dollars from consumers and sometimes government subsidies. Moreover covert government operations in these resource rich lands are frequently carried out by underhanded people secretly work for their government. These ruthless mercenaries help cause disruptions in foreign lands, assassinate, displace people, terrorize them and carry out other atrocities so that the resource snatch can go more smoothly.

While we reap the myriad benefits of resources taken from others so that we can buy ever more stuff made from these resources, the people in the lands where the resources are situated are often poisoned by pollution from the grab. They also mostly get paid little money for working in the mines or wherever else for the corporations. In short, they are not by any stretch of the imagination adequately compensated.

One of the worst accounts that I read about this sort of happening concerned a French uranium mine in Africa where the uranium mine workers wear pieces (shreds) of cloth across their noses and mouths and their village has a high rate of radiation related afflictions like cancers and deformities. Meanwhile the dust from the mine blows across the land and is tracked by the same shoes that workers wear in the mine to their outdoor village lands and into their homes.

In addition, most of the things that they daily use such as pots and pans, clothing, etc., are irradiated. Yes, and all so that the company owning the mine can make a financial killing by supplying uranium for nuclear plants in France. Thereby the people in that wealthy European nation can have electricity for their air conditioning, heating, dishwashers, lights, assorted gadgets, washing machines and so on.

Then what about the beef that some people eat from cattle that originated from ranches for which part of the Brazilian (Amazon) rainforest was cleared? How about the exotic timber used that derived from living rainforest trees? What about parts of the Amazon River being heavily polluted by poisons used by illegal gold poachers? What about the people who see their lands illegally torn apart to grow palm trees in order to provide people with the oil and other palm derived products? What about the indigenous people in Brazil who are being slaughtered left and right so that their property can be unlawfully seized while the leader of their country deeply loathes natives?

“On 1 January, Jair Bolsonaro … [was] sworn in as Brazil’s 38th president. He has expressed open disdain for the indigenous peoples of Brazil, and it is no exaggeration to say that some of the world’s most unique and diverse tribes are facing annihilation. Genocide is defined by the UN as “the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. Large-scale mass genocides rightly receive global attention, yet countless others go unreported and unpunished because the victims number only a few hundred, or even a few dozen. Right now, deep in the Amazon rainforest, a small tribe of survivors is on the run.”

Further, The President of Brazil declared, ‘There is no indigenous territory where there aren’t minerals. Gold, tin and magnesium are in these lands, especially in the Amazon, the richest area in the world. I’m not getting into this nonsense of defending land for Indians.

Indigenous peoples are frequently regarded as obstacles to the advance of agribusiness,  extractive industries, roads and dams. As more rainforest is invaded and destroyed in the name of economic “progress” and personal profit,
uncontacted tribes become targets – massacred over resources because
greedy outsiders know they can literally get away with murder.’

Indeed, the President of Brazil openly said, “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry wasn’t as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians.’’ *

In relation, it seems to me that we owe a staggering amount of recompense to countless people who are raped, maimed and stolen from by the avaricious owners of companies bent on pillaging the natural world for enormous profits. In fact and in my view, we also owe much restitution to relatives of murdered individuals — the ones like the approximately million and a half citizens — young adults, the elderly and the children — killed during the US military invasion of Iraq primarily carried out to obtain oil.

All over the world are individuals and groups of people who have been swindled, hunted, raped, killed, torn from their families, had their possessions and homes seized and have faced other forms of devastation caused by policies of corporations whose owners only see the riches that can be gleaned from grand theft and ruination.

How can people adequately atone for their indirect involvement in the ugly, unconscionable, thieving actions that are connected to their use of fossil fuels and many other goods that they use? Is there any adequate redress the murder, pollution, suffering and other dire woes that many people, in a roundabout way, cause the deprived others to endure? What can we do, especially since there is absolutely no way that anyone can give them anything at all that will make up for all that they lost, including, in some cases, loved ones?

Yet at least we can sincerely try. Yes, the safe and secure people in the world can in the least humbly ask forgiveness. Moreover we, the privileged ones, can in the least show genuine sympathy and share the pain of the many harmed others. Lastly we, the greatly fortunate ones, need to recognize our own indirect roles and our unwitting collusion resulting in the less fortunate others having to face terrible suffering and critical damage.

*(All of the above quotations are from

The uncontacted tribes of Brazil face genocide under Jair Bolsonaro | Fiona Watson | Opinion | The Guardian)

Sally Dugman lives in MA, USA.



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