Monday, 23 May 2005

Afghani Heroin

The US is being highly critical of Afghanistan's ineffectiveness in curtailing the heroin that comes out of the country.  They're being told to eradicate the poppy farms in the country, the only thing that stands between poverty and abject poverty for many farmers.  Why doesn't the western world start buying the opium directly off the farmers?  It's not as if the only use of opium is for illegal heroin - medicinal morphine and other opiates are a massive industry.  In one fell swoop much of the illegal activity would no longer be criminal, the industry could be regulated and one of the world's most desperately poor countries would be given a serious income that could help its people.

Wednesday, 11 May 2005

My favourite literary quote:

There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates -- died of malnutrition -- because the food must rot, must be forced to rot.

The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quicklime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.