I suppose you’ve got the whiff of news about the recent discoveries of natural gas and oil. IF the deposits are the sort of gushers that bring big fast cash, I hope the results will be something to be optimistic about. Yet such optimism is hard. Oil and gas and tropics are not a good cocktail. Even in the much adored first world democracies, oil money has an ugly side. When I heard people talk about Sri Lanka as a fossil fuel exporter I have to wrestle down demons. Particularly the vague nasty notions of what life is like in Angola or Nigeria. This clip from the film “Blood Diamond” sums up the gloom of the mood.
I’ve been around long enough to be wary of optimism. But its good to have a bit of healthy skepticism about the easy cynicism that we lean on after the blows of history. With a little bit of effort, we can even have the courage to be hopeful and optimistic without the aid of alcohol. Now that was a hard sentence to write with a straight face. Some of the voices in the head are already sneering from their cushions. I should bravely say that citizens of a voting democracy can make things different. We’ll take our democratic responsibilities seriously. We’ll set aside time from our busy lives to pressure our elected representatives for a fair and transparent energy policy that benefits the whole country. We won’t be an Angola or Nigeria or an Equatorial Guinea but something different and good. Like a cool Ginger beer in a shaded, well breezed veranda.
At this point I can almost feel the sneers of the handful who have bothered to read this far. I know I must seem like an bad cello player trying to deny the tsunami with a bit of shaky Mozart (if he didn’t write anything for cello just insert someone who did). But vut to do ? I’m in a situation where cynicism is no longer an option. I don’t know what’s left. But that’s another story.