Tuesday, March 31, 2009


A few days ago, I was talking with friends about this worldwide economy crisis. I was pointing out that, in spite of what people generally believe - thanks to biased media reports - this crisis isn't just due to a down-sloping of the economy but rather to an implosion of the actual economic system. 

I also expressed the opinion that the consequences of such a situation will have a devastating impact on the whole world. There is no need to go into the meanders of the economy to understand the reason of it;  it is much simpler to make a basic equation: while the world population keeps growing, resources keep running shorter. To make things far worse, our capitalistic economy based on continuous growth and all out consumerism, can only radicalize the problem.

Briefly, I said, we cannot afford this kind of economy anymore. We cannot afford free rein capitalism.

The present situation requires a drastic political change, but unfortunately the constituted power (bluntly put, those in charge) is a creature of this economic system - ie. the political power is totally in the hands of corporations, financial groups, big banks, credit institutions etc. and none of them is willing to forfeit their privileges and power. 

Mind you, they might succeed in patching up the situation - making the man in the street pay for their malpractice and greed - but the result will only be a new and even more devastating crisis in a few years time.

In the course of the conversation, I expressed the opinion that in spite of everything, as there is not an honest will to accept the truth of that simple equation and make the necessary steps, all efforts are irrimediably doomed.

Using quite an overexploited image, I said that humanity, like the Titanic, is heading towards its demise... "I wish" I added "to live long enough to see it."

Predictably enough, one of my guests resented these words and made me notice that on the Titanic there are also ordinary people like himself and me, who, having nothing to do with the present crisis, are totally innocent and shouldn't deserve such a caustic comment.

I didn't reply, but perhaps I should have. In fact I wonder: is there something like innocence in human things? I don't know about the rest of humanity, but as far as I am concerned I certainly cannot protest complete innocence. I lived and grew fat at the border of a rotting system, I saw its greed and stupidity, I accepted it and thrived on it. 

Surely I didn't commit anything evil, but is this enough? As I never really did much in order to prevent others from committing it, perhaps not.

Therefore, as a full-fledged passenger of the Titanic, I cannot claim any right to safety and I won't, but at least I can claim a spectator seat, possibly in the front row. 

Monday, March 23, 2009


Let me brass up a bit. 

More than 420 hits, soon to be 500, means that Barry Duck is doing pretty well... considering that:

1) Barrydale is a very small village.

2) many still don't have a computer.

3) many of those who have a computer are still without broad-band - and nowadays having the patience to surf the net with a normal telephone connection makes Job look like a neurotic.

I'm happy... and I'm not happy.

I would have liked a better participation, more comments, more ideas, more contributions etc. 

Probably the reason is that many people still have difficulties in posting comments. In order to do it properly, please read the instructions under "AAA Attention Please", scrolling down on the right side of the main column.

After you wrote your comment press "Anonymous" and then "Publish". Please note that "Anonymous" does not mean that your comment has to remain such. You can sign it; if you prefer, you can sign it with a nick name.

So this post is open to everybody. Whoever wants to post comments on any issue regarding Barrydale or the Barrydale Times or Barry Duck or the price of your groceries or whatever, is welcome to do so.

All comments will be published as a post later on.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Most people would sooner die than think, in fact they do so." Bertrand Russell

Hello everybody!

I just received a comment to the my post "Will It Ever End?" that should be instead published as a post.

It comes from Jurgen Shirmarcher's wife. The Shirmarchers are battling since years against the plague of pesticides in Riebeek-Kasteel and thanks to them something has been achieved. I think we all should be grateful to them.

Here it is:

"Hello Barry Duck

I sympathise with you regarding this pesticide matter.

My husband and I live in the Boland and we too are being sprayed, in an unlawful manner, with pesticides, so much so that we have ( including our children) ended up in hospital and have been diagnosed as having been exposed to pesticides and organophosphates.

As I type this to you, my joints and fingers are aching ( I have recently spent 2 weeks in hospital) and the diagnosis is pesticide induced multiple chemical sensitivity.My kidneys, liver and spleen were also affected by the pesticides.

The farmer has said that "nothing he sprays is harmful to man or to the environment" and he probably really either believes this, or is is just a very good liar. We forced him, by means of a High Court Order, to notify us in writing, what he sprays us with and to our horror we discovered that many of the pesticides are 1b highly hazardous chemicals, that many of them have been banned in 52 countries (except South Africa which seems to be decades behind) and that many of them have been found to not only cause damage to ones central nervous system, ones endocrine system, but are also carcinogenic and give one cancer.

The problem is not just endemic to Barrydale, but also to most rural towns in the Western Cape and other parts of South Africa. Similar complaints have come in from Stellenbosch, Paarl, Villiersdorp,Franschoek, Grabouw, Riebeek-Kasteel,Groblersdal ... the list is long.

The hardest part about raising public awareness, is that the farmers will say that they were here first and that if you dont want to be sprayed with toxic pesticides then go back to the city. What they dont seem to understand is that if they allow their pesticides to get blown out of their vineyards/orchards then they are actually breaking the law and are guilty of a criminal offence. They may also then say that because they have Eurepgap Certification (if they export ) they have to adhere to strict standards. But do they really? and who keeps a tab on the way that they spray?

It may take years for some people to get cancer as a result of the pesticides. For others they may have almost instantaneous side effects - it varies from person to person.

Nausea,headaches, tingling tongue and metallic taste on lips, ahcing joints, chronic fatique, vertigo, painful joints, heart palpitations are all well documented symptoms of exposure to pesticides and in particular organophosphates. The more serious long term illnesses like cancer, hodgsons lymphoma, parkinsons ..... take a little longer to manifest themselves.

Should we all be concerned ?? YES.

Are our rights, to be able to live in an environment that is not harmful to our health being infringed upon ? YES

The next question is , what are we going to do about it, to protect our health, our rights and the health of our children ?

Those who dont think and or believe that the pesticides will make you ill, should put their money where their mouth is, and allow themselves to be exposed to the spray drift. When they too get ill, they will then believe how serious a situation this is."