King Solomon's Choice

Newsgroups: bc.general
From: (Uri Cogan)
Subject: King Solomon's Choice
Organization: National Capital Freenet, Ottawa, Canada
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1993 17:03:20 GMT
Lines: 192

King Solomon's Choice By Graeme Taylor --------------------- A journalist wrote That the Premier of British Columbia Needed the wisdom of King Solomon To choose between saving jobs And saving the ancient rainforest. Michael Harcourt Flew north from Victoria, Over clearcut hills Eroding into barren brown valleys dotted with grey stumps, To Clayoquot Sound, Where green islands float in a magical mist And few scars yet mar the intricate handiwork of God. And as he looked out over the lush valleys Of one of the last great forests, Crowded with thousand year old cedars and firs, Silent save for the tinkling of crystal streams and the calls of a thousand birds; He listened to the angry voices; Of loggers afraid of losing jobs; Of natives afraid of losing their heritage; Of companies determined to preserve profits; Of scientists determined to preserve species; Of ministers worried about the end of lines of credit; Of environmentalists worried about the end of all life. The Premier must have thought about King Solomon's choice, As he surveyed the untouched paradise before him: This museum of the world as it was, And might again be, If the ecosystems aren't cut apart; If the myriad of lifeforms, massive and minute, That interlock together like the roots of the trees, Aren't divided and left to die. He must have remembered that when Solomon had to choose Between two women who claimed the same baby, He threatened to cut the child in half, Knowing that no real mother could ever agree to the death of her child. So King Harcourt went back and pondered behind closed doors (So as not to be influenced by the youthful crowd raging through the Legislature). And then, with one bold stroke of his pen He made a choice he proclaimed as wise: He cut the wilderness apart; And killed the child. Perhaps he thought: Most of the giant conifers will die anyway as we pollute the earth and heat up the cool skies; Many of the species will die anyway as we replace the ozone shield with air conditioning chemicals; So why wait for a silent spring? Do it now! Cut the trees, take the profits and run! After all, this is the nineties, where the ads promise that everyone will stay forever thirty-something. Who in the me-first generation cares about the future? Who cares if the children inherit only bad debts and dust? The bond markets rose as the chainsaws revved Eager to pillage such a rare and rich museum. And the finance minister left immediately for New York To shake hands with the pinstriped billionaires Who control our province. You may say that I have it all wrong: How can one compare old trees with a child, And forests with jobs and mortgages? Perhaps I have it backwards, The forests, the oceans and the skies are not our children, but parts of Mother Earth; we are her ignorant children. And Michael Harcourt is no King Solomon, either, but just another bureaucrat who can't see the forest for the lumber. You may say that the New Democrats are just saving jobs. But they haven't saved jobs: they've sold them. They sing loud songs of solidarity, And ask Canadian workers to stand proud and drink Canadian beer, While they make quiet deals in plush boardrooms To put the province on Miller Time. Now two-thirds of our woodworkers are on permanent breaks, and our government is permanently broke, While our half-cut timber is processed abroad. Foreign businessmen laugh at our slash-and-burn economy, At our desperate efforts to automate clearcutting So we can export our future faster. But it's no joke to our frustrated youth, Begging for work paying minimum wages. But, you may say, hasn't the N.D.P. promised to save 12% of this magnificent province as parkland? Yes, but they didn't tell you that most of the parks will consist of bare mountain tops, or of bogs. Happy camping. Only a few percent of the original forests will be preserved, and already the multinationals are shouting for us to "Share Our Forests!", as if we haven't shared enough! They haven't been sharing, they have been stealing. Dealing with the multinationals is like dealing with the Mafia. What are our politicians but bag men for organized crime? When Tommy Douglas was alive N.D.P. meant the party of conscience and vision, But now, all N.D.P. stands for is No Difference Party. But Michael Harcourt has made one difference: Something has changed in British Columbia, and changed forever. It is hard to see it through the thick dust rising on the logging roads And hard to hear it through the roaring traffic of business as usual, But there is a new anger among people walking noisy city streets or talking in lonely cabins by the pounding surf. The old world is dying, choking on greed and consumerism, While idiot politicians blather on about endless growth, They plan to turn the whole world into one big gas chamber, But we won't die willingly. We'll fight for our lives and the life of our Earth. We won't let them make us the last generation to play in the sunshine, walk in the forest and swim on the beach. We'll fight on the side of Heaven and to Hell with them! This is not the fifties: the world has changed. Only the rich and the blind can still dream of quiet suburban lives with two car families; Only the naive and the foolish can still think that the old games of power politics are meaningful. While 20,000 species a year are being trampled into extinction by a selfish rat race. The only dream that matters is the dream of building an alternative to this senseless system of organized death. Who cares if they call you a tree lover, an animal lover, a hopeless idealist? There is nothing real about the abstract numbers listed on the stock markets, There is nothing real about the rise and fall of interest rates. Reality is the sweet breathing of living creatures, and the laughter of running children; Reality is the wind blowing in the trees and stirring the deep ocean waves. Forget about collecting toys and gadgets and status points: Real living is about giving, not taking, And real work is about creating, not destroying. So don't armour your feelings, or hide your love for wild things; King Solomon's choice is a choice we all make. We can choose for lies and illusions, and let the child die inside us, We can lock ourselves in designer boxes, and be buried in comfort; And drain the forests into highrises, the tombstones of our civilization; Or we can choose for truth and for all life, and lead lives worth living, And feel the cold, and the heat, and let each season surprise us, And watch children grow up, knowing they still have a world to grow up in. There are millions of others who love just like you. When you speak from your heart other hearts will soon hear you; Everywhere that you go you'll find lovers abound. Now is the time for all lovers to come out and be counted. Graeme Taylor
Clayoquot Sound is important because it represents 15% of the total ancient forests left on Vancouver Island; it contains the most intact (least fragmented) extent of ancient temperate rainforest left on the island. 74 out of every 100 trees will have diappeared under this plan.

Over 800 people have been arrested in peaceful blockades of the logging roads leading to the area. They are charged with criminal contempt of court for violating an injunction on behalf of the logging company (MacMillan-Bloedel). They are being tried in batches with no jury and many have no legal representation. the first batch (44) were sentenced to prison terms of 45-60 days and fines of $1000-3000 (as of Oct 16, 1993)

Your support is needed to help us reverse the government decision. Please call, phone, fax or write Premier Harcourt at 604-387-1715 fax 387-0087. Address: Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC. V8V 1X4 Canada.

For additional information contact the Sierra Club at 604-386-5255 1525 Amelia St. Victoria, BC V8W 2K1, Canada

Uri Cogan

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