Friday, 11 May 2012

Book Review: "Climate Wars" by Harald Welzer

That was the most depressing book I've read in a long while. It's a quite scholarly dissertation about why we've always been killing each other, still are and will again but for different reasons. This book is very, very well written. Understated, logical, historical, scientific with a huge dig at social and political science.

About my only beef is the phraseology. I'm guessing that some of this comes from the Author being German. So you do get some tortuously long and convoluted sentences. I was reminded of the incident when General Alexander Haig rushed into a press conference when Reagan was shot and said this:
"This is definitely not a situation I haven't been in before."
Which left the Journos speechless while they struggled to understand what he actually meant.

Basically the author is saying something like this:
Humans have always been slaughtering each other. The western nations have been enjoying a peace and prosperity bubble since WWII. It's nearly over. Our sliding baselines make us think that wars like Darfur, Somalia and even Bosnia are aberrations. But they're not. They're the norm and have been for millennia.  
And climate refugees will start pouring into southern Europe, across the US and Canadian borders and in rickety boats heading to Australia quite soon and in overwhelming numbers. And western countries are using more and more technological and political violence to make this invisible to their citizens. They are creating ever larger trans-national forces to "deter" refugees outside of the borders of their own countries and without media coverage.
What is considered shocking today, such as dropping failed asylum seekers off in the deserts of Algeria as is done now, will pale in comparison to what will come. And because it will happen in increments you'll come to think of it as normal. So in just a few years you'll watch unmanned drones bomb asylum seekers in boats off shore in their thousands and you'll be thinking "well at least I won't have to pay tax for the detention centre."
Yoikes. Stern stuff.

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