...But if I work all day on the blue sky mine
(There'll be food on the table tonight)
And if I walk up and down on the blue sky mine
(There'll be pay in your pocket tonight)
And some have sailed from a distant shore
And the company takes what the company wants
And nothing's as precious, as a hole in the ground!...
-- from "Blue Sky Mine" by Midnight Oil
Driving home from work yesterday, I popped an old CD into the radio, and listened to Midnight Oil's "Blue Sky Mining" album. For the younger readers, they were an Australian band in the 1980s that sang catchy pop tunes with social messages, mostly relevant to Australia, but applicable elsewhere as well. One might say they were the U2 of their continent.
The lyrics to "Blue Sky Mine" struck me, right down to the name, as I thought about BP (Beyond Petroleum) and their underwater fountain of death in the Gulf of Mexico. The song is actually based on a true piece of ongoing history at the Wittenoom mine
in Australia, where the Australian Blue Asbestos company mined blue asbestos. The company was charged with shortcutting safety for the sake of profits. "Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground"
? How true is that? How little has actually changed?The candy store paupers lie to the share holders
They're crossing their fingers they pay the truth makers
The balance sheet is breaking up the sky
Right from day 1 of the spill, BP was underestimating
(or under-representing) the amount of oil that was coming from their "hole in the ground". They also made false claims about how safe the drilling was, and how prepared the were for an accident. As time has passed and more evidence exposed, the truth has been laid bare, with the Gulf of Mexico and everyone that makes their living there paying the price. Meanwhile, they try to limit media access
to the site and cleanup efforts, for fear of losing their inconceiveable profits
. So I'm caught at the junction still waiting for medicine
The sweat of my brow keeps on feeding the engine
Hope the crumbs in my pocket can keep me for another night
Meanwhile, those fisherman who have taken the jobs that BP offers
(after having their only livelihood destroyed) are risking their lives
for the company that has raped their back yard. Because BP wants to play down the health risks of exposure to crude oil, they aren't letting the workers wear respirators. They might as well
be working in an asbestos mine.
As for Australian Blue Asbestos, the company is defunct, and the lawsuits are still bouncing around the courts. Will it be any different this time? The likely only difference is that BP will not go defunct - they're too powerful and connected for that to happen. The lawsuits and disease and death, however, will be here for a very long time.44 comments