Protest and the moral challenge for you and me
In my inbox this morning, I find the heading “Who’s Next?(the Oil Companies?)”. The article comes to me courtesy of the European Energy Review (EER). It suggests that oil companies who have done (pocket lining) deals with governments who have now killed their own people, may not be far behind in the list of targets that attract the ire of protesters seeking to liberate themselves from the “old orders”. Russia, China, Saudi, Oman are all in the article’s headlights as potential areas of crisis for the oil companies.
In the main text, EER’s Editor, Karel Blackman, argues that it is an illusion to believe the energy companies’ moral responsibility ‘stops at the gate’.
It’s not just oil companies of course. The same applies to Ministers, elected politicians, governments, Defence Companies, Security Companies, and you and I. Why did we allow our economies, our jobs, our society, to be founded upon wealth generated by despotic dictators who for decades have ground the faces of their own people into the filthy effluent of their own corruption and tyranny?
Gaddafi has been what he is throughout his 42 years in power. Who duped Tony Blair’s administration into believing he had changed? Blair wasn’t alone, but he was out front. The Americans were close behind, the French in fast contention.
But Libya is easy, an overtly nasty regime. Like Saudi, it has controlled journalistic access tightly. I have only been twice in my working life, only interviewed the Colonel once, and found him absolutely and alarmingly crazed. Saudi is harder, a carapace of charm and gold-plated control. But as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, one of the most ruthless abusers of its own people on earth. It does not stop there.
CNN two nights ago transmitted video of its own camera team being beaten up by security thugs in a remote village in China. The reporter had been trying to reach an unarmed dissident whose peaceful protest in China has attracted years in jail and now isolated house arrest. China presents all of us with more morale issues’ Should they be allowed to “stop at the gate”?
Tanks, anal probes, torture equipment, CS Gas, even the chemical used to kill Americans on death row… should any of us be supplying any of it to anyone? It will become the bigger and bigger question of our time, as the social network educates, informs, misinforms, propagandises the world’s oppressed in what is done in our name.
We may be entering some of the most morally liberating and practically dangerous times since the second world war. is that an exaggeration? None of us can know.