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February 25, 2011

Skyrocketing Gas Prices!!!

Roy Meachum

As all proper headlines must, this one was written to seize the attention of people uninterested in Muslims to the point of ignorance that feeds bigotry. That’s the main reason for prejudice.


The high-end fluctuation in oil started when Libyans joined the revolutions that started in next-door Tunisia, successful in Egypt on the other side and have spread to Morocco, Algeria, Bahrain and Yemen. Unrest seems to have settled down in Jordan because of the king’s promised concessions; we’ll see.


Not at all interested in justice – especially of the social variety – oil speculators became hungry when feared turbulence in Cairo might cause stoppages in the Suez Canal. They jacked prices up, only to lose money for those who bought at the high-end, as the cost per barrel tumbled day-after-day.


Gasoline gallons skyrocketed this week after Muammar Gadhafi murdered protesting Libyans by the scores, sending up his air force to bomb them into submission. He failed. Much of the nation’s east, closest to Egypt, maintained steadfast in the revolution. Many in the armed forces rebelled against shooting their countrymen. Two pilots sought haven, landing their jets in Malta; two others crashed into the desert rather than strike at civilians.


Libya’s deputy United Nations ambassador resigned and called for the dictator’s ouster. Other voices were raised, shouting for the removal of the man who admitted guilt for international crimes, in Berlin and over Lockerbie, Scotland. He bought pardon from Bill Clinton and George W. Bush by paying millions to his victims’ families and promising to correct his unscrupulous behavior.


The true motivation for the settlement was access to Libya’s rich oil fields and their access to the Mediterranean, shipping days closer to the gasoline-famished west. Swifter pipelines from the Middle East feed immense tanks that stand mere overnight from Europe. The millions of barrels in storage really underlie the market’s spurt. Speculators feast on the financial world’s anxiety. Despite assurances from Saudi Arabia that OPEC countries will expand their production, prices continued to climb.


Is there an end in sight? Yes, but no easy solution.


Above all, in Libya, the revolution cannot be simplified to radical Muslims taking over the seat of power. Religion comes closest to the cause only in Bahrain, and there it’s the matter of a Shiite majority’s human rights being trammeled under a Sunni monarchy. Most Americans don’t bother to learn the difference: in Christian analogy, Shiism protests against Sunna Islam orthodoxy. Still confused? Go elsewhere.


In every other Muslim country, it is a matter of population and education. Their faith discourages birth control; and in their escape from colonialism, the very reasons European nations conquered them has fueled both education and health. Instead of going to Monaco’s gambling tables, English castles or, in Libya’s case, to feed Mussolini’s fantasy of creating a new Roman empire, the former colonies’ riches have remained in the countries.


The top-percentages have taken very much more than their share by tolling out little more than bribes to their populous brothers and sisters. Now the lower-percentages are demanding their share. In the process, fortunes are being raked in by speculators.


Information and education rank as the only hope for world stability, but not among Americans. My countrymen are too concerned with their navel buttons, unless diverted by skyrocketing prices at gas pumps.


Once again, my poor nation.



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