Saturday, 19 March 2011

War in Libya, crisis in Japan... Isn't the world a wonderful place?

So, two quite major things have been consistently reported in the mass media as of late (which, of course, means that nothing else whatsoever is happening anywhere else!) - firstly, the ongoing civil war in Libya, and secondly the natural disaster in Japan, more specifically the not-so natural nuclear power plant crisis. Being the 'responsible' (*cough*) citizen of the 'civilised' (*cough cough*), 'modern' (*hemorrhage*) and, most importantly, 'free' (*dead*) Western World, I decided I'd toss in my opinion about these two matters for my totally-not-imaginary audience on this blog.

First off, Japan!

Land of the Rising Radiation Levels?

Now, I had a rather heated (if slightly drunken) debate with a friend of mine a few days ago upon this topic, specifically upon the safety of nuclear reactors considering what was happening in Japan. Unfortunately, I'd happen to pick a verbal fight with someone who knew significantly more about nuclear reactors than I ever will. Consequently, I and my arguments were pretty much torn asunder, ripped to shreds and strangled with my own intestines that had been savagely pulled out from my arse and offered to the Sun God on top of the great Aztec pyramids.

Figuratively speaking, of course.
Wait a minute, wasn't it the heart that was important to the Aztec Priests...?

Anyways, basically the argument that my friend gave in response to my ever-so-slightly feeble "but its not safe" point, was that the 40-year old nuclear power plant (and its probably-not-40-year-old engineers) is (are) actually doing exactly what it was meant to in the case of a crisis - I can't remember exactly what all his points were (despite, unlike him, being almost completely sober), but an example would be that the explosions at the plant that everyones been fretting about was actually one of the safety features of the plant (yes, an explosion for the sake of safety, it confused me too), one of the sides of the building being weaker than the rest so the blast would go in a safe(r) direction. Furthermore, the explosion didn't actually get to the reactor itself, meaning that there was no chance that the explosion would have caused any kind of meltdown (an occurrence which, fortunately, is looking less and less likely by the day. Hurray!).

So, contrary to news stories, the nuclear reactor is actually doing relatively well under the circumstances and all necessary precautions are being made. Yipee! Celebrate! Free cake for all!
Unfortunately, not so fast. Yes, the nuclear reactor itself may be mostly safe, but the media certainly isn't portraying it that way, which can certainly have more of an affect than some might imagine. Thing is, the social implications of all these stories is probably a lot more damaging than the health implications will ever be - just as the stock value of a company can rise and fall by mere rumours, the social health of a society can be deeply affected by the news (Yeah thats right, fuck you "words will never hurt me" phrase), even if all they say isn't true. As this article puts it, "the understandable fear [in Tokyo] of what might happen at the Fukushima plant is overshadowing the real human tragedy unfolding further north along the devastated coastline." Now, I may be no psychologist, but I think that such constant fear of radiation poisoning from a nuclear power plant would be pretty damnably stressful. 30 million people live in Tokyo, and at least some of them will likely be thinking that dangerous nuclear fallout could be descending upon them at any minute, especially so if the news reports over in the Land of the Rising Sun are anything like the ones over here. In fact, these (possibly unwarranted) fears over radiation are already causing some amount of chaos in Tokyo, with people going as far as to moving out of the city via bullet trains. Trust the Japanese to turn to their ridiculously awesome technology in a time of crisis...

Now, I'll be honest here, I don't really have any solution for this whole shenanigans to do with the fears over the nuclear crisis. But it does kinda show that nuclear reactors can have a social consequence as well as a health one - and such consequences aren't often regarded when the whole pro/anti nuclear debate flares up.

Rightio, now that finished my first proper post on my blog and... wait, what? That was only one of two topics?
Fuck, Libya! (Strange how much a single comma can do, is it not?) Of course!

It's all to protect the oil Libyan people, of course.

Right, as of 16:45 GMT yesterday, United Nation forces including the United Kingdom, France and the United States of America have launched attacks on key targets in Libya, scrambling jet fighters and firing hundreds of missiles into pro-Gaddafi forces and air defence sites in Tripoli since the UN placed a no-fly zone against Libya after consistent use of fighter bombings against the rebels. 

Of course, both sides are yabbering on about all sorts of nonsense, the Libyan state TV reporting that civilian buildings were bombed under the Western attack and calling us the "crusader army" (how quaint), while our own state TV, the BBC, briefly mentions this and then rambles on about how all the Western leaders are saying its all "necessary" and blah blah blah. Frankly, I really don't trust either of them to a great extent considering a) a lot of reports from Libya are kind of fuzzy, and b) lets be honest, theres no such thing as 'unbiased' news.

Furthermore, I really think its rather hypocritical of Western leaders to be making such a hissy fit over the Libyan government's tyrannical rule, since we've been selling them weapons that have been used against protesters. It's ok to sell weapons to a ruler you certainly already knew was completely mad, until the people start rising up against him, hmmm?

Nonetheless, I am honestly a bit split about this one - despite this whole 'we sold them the weapons in the first place' thing, its true that the Libyan rebels have been pushed back significantly and that the government's leader and his son are a tad bit mad. Truthfully, it seems likely that tragic things will happen to those who opposed Colonel Gaddafi if he succeeds in defeating the rebellion entirely.

At the same time though, while there have been reports that the rebel leader(?) is calling for military intervention of the West, images like this show a different story. Furthermore, I question the motives behind the whole affair of the Western intervention. As has been mentioned before, Libya is the most oil rich nation in Africa - something that should really be considered. A lot of corporations will have a big interest in the future of Libya, and not because of humanitarian reasons. And honestly, the interests of corporations can and do shape the interests of governments as well in this Capitalist old world.

Also, if the rebels win, what then? What exactly will change? What are the aims of this whole revolution other than ousting the current long-standing leader? Will anything actually get better for the people living there, or will it simply be a case of another tyrant taking Gaddafi's place? Considering that many of these questions appear to be unanswered, should we really be supporting this rebellion that we know nothing about? Yes, Colonel Gaddafi is pretty screwed up and something should be done about him, but thats all utterly pointless if the country just continues to be in chaos and repression afterwards.

All of this said, the truth of the matter is, if we don't intervene, Colonel Gaddafi will almost definitely win, and lots more people will die. If we do intervene, then the rebels stand a chance, and lots more people might die.

I really don't think we have any right to be the 'World Police', I fear that this is running head-first into another disaster, and, perhaps most importantly, I really fear that all this beating the drums of war by the mass media looks all too eerily similar to how the media reacted about the proposition of invading Afghanistan and Iraq. However, at the same time, we do nothing and this revolution, which so many Libyan people have fought hard for, will be for nothing, or even worse. So, as I said, I'm really split about this issue.


So, yeah! I've finally finished my first (potentially grammar/spelling error ridden) post! Woohoo! Any comments would be appreciated, although I seriously doubt I shall be getting any comments, considering the number of views on my blog currently amount to about 2 (both probably being myself). Still, maybe I'll become popular one day, who knows? Anything can happen...

And if your not a figment of my imagination, you've been reading The Random Babbling of a Slightly Odd Student! Thanks!


  1. I pretty much follow the same conflict of opinion about Libya, and yeah your friend is right about the nuclear reactors in Japan. IMO they have done surprisingly well considering they got shaken like crazy and then soaked.

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