Seeds the Saudis Sow

Seeds the Saudis Sow
Published: Nov 03, 2018
Jamal Khashoggi's murder by powers-that-be in Saudi Arabia has turned our attention to that country's impact on much more than a single horrific act of vengeance.

A security guard reaches out his hand from the entrance of the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul. [o]

The Saudis are involved not only in one death in an embassy, but also in mass deaths in neighboring Yemen and, given a little time, in the greenhouse-gas deaths of the future.

It is understandable that the media are focusing on the fate of one of their own, a columnist for the Washington Post. Mr. Khashoggi was a Saudi, and his disappearance took place abroad, but reckless and repeated statements about the press by the President imperil journalists here at home.

The alleged murder of one journalist by "rogue killers," or his accidental death during a "botched interrogation," or during a "fistfight," or whatever ludicrous alibi we have been fed so far, this death is is statistically small compared with the killing and wounding in Yemen by planes and bombs bought by the Saudis from the U.S. What is the crime of the children, mothers, and other civilians killed or wounded by these bombs, and the cholera epidemic, and by starvation? They are dismissed as "collateral damage" in the war against foreign people allied with a Saudi enemy. (For more on the war, see this article.)

Given projections, the sons will be lucky to procure a camel to ride.

Perhaps the worst depredation of the Saudi is shared by other suppliers of oil, a fossil fuel that, when burned, produces greenhouse gases and thus, after a gap, global warming. I gather there is a rueful Saudi joke that "my grandfather rode a camel, I have a private jet, and my son? He will probably be riding a camel." But given projections in the latest IPCC report on global warming, the sons will be lucky to procure a camel to ride.

The Saudis did not know about greenhouse gases when they, or a company pumping the oil found under their sands, began selling this useful and ultimately fatal resource to the world. The transition to sustainable energy, if made, will hurt them and all other exporters of oil, including Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Nigeria, Angola, Canada, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia . . .  wealthy and in the centre of things. [o]

But either this resource will be "left in the ground," as Bill McKibben and advise, or we on this planet will suffer the kinds of effects specified in a recent dire report of IPCC.

So while the Turkish evidence about the disappearance of one journalist is dramatic, the Saudis have much more to answer for.



CRAIG K. COMSTOCK worked as a book creation coach and director of the Ark Foundation, trying to help end the Cold War. Recent books are Gift of Darkness (2015) about a friend who grew up under Nazi occupation in his native Amsterdam, Enlarging Our Comfort Zone (2016), about remarkable people whom Craig met over a decade or so, and Better Ways to Live (2017), about social invention and the need for more of it. He lives in Ashland, Oregon.


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