As the world gets bombarded with news of tens of thousands of barrels of oil that continue to pollute the Gulf of Mexico, I am reminded about other oil disasters that have occurred in the past.
The British Petroleum (BP) which used to be called Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1950's dominates the headlines. This company had exclusive rights to extract, refine, ship, and even sell Iranian oil. This oil company was owned by the British government. The oil that fueled United Kingdom came from Iran, even its Royal Navy that blackmailed the world came from Iran.
Who cared when Union Carbide killed 25,000 Indians (in Bhopal in 1984)? Were billion of dollars or pounds set aside to help them out? As bad as the Gulf of Mexico is, there have been even worse oil spills, such as the Nowruz oil field (1983) and the Oil spill of 1991 by Iraqi forces in the Persian Gulf.
The incompetent governments of the Persian Gulf region appear reluctant to force oil companies to clean up oil spills and to compensate the people for the oil poisoning of our waters and homelands. Natural gases flaring in our Persian Gulf region are more than any natural gases burned/used in the entire world. These gases pollute our region and cause poisonous elements that damage our environment, especially during times of rain. The catastrophic consequences of oil are also happening in Brazil, Ecuador, and other South American countries where the US gets more than 250,000 barrels of oil per day.
Growing up in the Khuzestan region of Iran, I witnessed how our wetlands and rivers were polluted to accommodate oil companies depleting our resources. Aging oil wells and oil platforms and oil pipelines leaked millions of gallons of oil into our lands every year. Much of this oil infrastructure has been under illegal Western sanctions and abandoned by various oil companies, left to corrode, crack, and leak in our rivers and eventually polluting the Persian Gulf which ultimately being discharged into the ocean.
The entire world is affected by oil and gas disasters. Much of the marine life breeds, feeds, and lives in the world's oceans. If a disaster happens in a third world country or a country run by dictators, often is not the subject of world-wide media attention (case of India) or a small amount of money will be set aside without regard to population and its environment.
Wealthy countries and people who benefit financially and economically from the oil industry are never heard to complain; it is only when disaster strikes them that they become vocal and outraged. It is ironic how people are surprised by the insensitivity and arrogance of BP executives. The third world countries have had to deal with them for over a century. These oil executives see the world coldly only in terms of profits to be made and losses to be avoided; nothing else is of importance to them.
BP is known to have caused extensive damage to Persian Gulf coastal communities without regard to human lives and safety. Don't be surprised if BP files for bankruptcy and changes its name so that it can continue its reckless practices under the new name. Or BP might follow Halliburton's example and move its corporate offices to a location where legal restrictions will not apply.
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