From my hotel room window, all I see is darkness for as far as the eyes can go. The only lights in the distance are from installations belonging to the oil companies, and the gas flares that have been burning in the decades since I started visiting the region.
The flares light up as jewels in the night. They are almost beautiful until you realise that they will bring back death with the morning dew. The more they burn, the more miserable the people become. The people have always been miserable. Many were born in it. Many will die in it.
The gas you see going up in the flames could have been used to light up all the darkness you see around it. Rather the gas will burn through tonight, and tomorrow night, and probably until the wells runs dry.
They burn the gas because it is cheaper to burn than to transform into wealth for the people. I doubt that they included the human cost in the economic calculation; after all, what value can one put on one human life not to talk of the thousands who have died so far. Or may be they did include the human cost; after all, human life is cheap in these parts.
Don't ask me to postulate solutions. I won't. Enough solutions have been documented; for decades. In fact, greater men lost their heads to the hangman's noose postulating these same solutions. Yet the flames continue to burn.
Do not trivialise this post with politics. This is about humanity. This is about the need for all of us to knuckle down and do the hard work that is required to ensure that the flares stop now. The people's misery should stop now. We must start now to rebuild the destroyed lives; at least, now that there is still some gas left in the ground.