February 12, 2010

Where Is Our Treasure?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Luke 12:34]

For the past couple of years, people living in northern BC have been troubled by a few incidents of bombs exploding at the site of natural gas installations. The company that owns the facilities, Encana, has been disrupted by these bombings to the point of offering a million dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprit(s). A much less known aspect of the story is the disruption to the lives of residents living in a large area neighboring the sites of the bombings. The media and Encana would have people outside the region believe that the disruption is due to the danger of persons being injured by the blasts, perhaps even killed, as they like to emphasize.

Here’s the true story, for your evaluation. The real danger to the residents in the Ft. St. John area of BC is not from the mystery bomber, but rather from the police, who are using tactics from the cold-war Soviet countries in their pursuit of the elusive bomber. Police have adopted a kind of ‘guilty until proved innocent’ approach in intruding into residents’ farms and interrogating ‘persons of interest.’ It’s a perfect atmosphere for whisper campaigns and settling of old scores among locals. In fact, the cops have been unable to find the culprit, and must be under considerable pressure from the company, at least indirectly, thru the political figures.

While Encana foments fears of someone getting injured from the bombings, the actual facts on the ground are the exact opposite. Numerous domestic animals have been injured or killed by the escape of noxious, sulphuric gases from these ‘sour gas’ wells, and some residents have also suffered mild to severe injuries from exposure to the drifting gases. No-one has been injured or killed by the blasts, which seem to be arranged to minimize any such risk. Nonetheless, authorities are pursuing the case with great zeal, and have expanded their net to a wider area of possible suspects.

Now, think back a decade or so, if your harried memory can retrieve data from those dusty files. The place is downtown Vancouver, the seedy, notorious, ‘East Side.’ Dozens of women have gone missing over several years; the count is up over 40, and may exceed 50, depending on how it’s defined. Nothing is being done. The police are vaguely aware of the situation; but I haven’t yet mentioned that the women happen to be prostitutes, many from aboriginal background. So, apparently, what the heck-- this kind of person appears and disappears on the streets all the time; why bother? Only when enough family members of the missing women make their voices heard do the police finally decide to take the matter seriously. By now, the missing list is up over 60 human souls. Authorities take action; the prime suspect, long known to police, is arrested. And, amazingly, the disappearances stop.

Looking at the two situations-- the ‘pipeline bomber’ versus the ‘missing women,’ paints a picture of where our society’s values lie. In the one case, all efforts are expended to stop the damage to an infrastructure that is itself causing damage to the environment. In the other case, years of neglect passed before any action was taken to investigate why so many young women vanished from the streets of a big city. This is life in the ‘enlightened’ 21st century... the final phase of the triumph of capital over humanity. It doesn’t take a tribunal to make the conclusion; the evidence speaks for itself. You be the judge.

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