Lest We Forget

At the moment I am watching a CNN documentary about the 1970s. An era that saw the advent of cable TV, the 24 hour news cycle, NIXON and the Watergate scandal – and the ignominious end of the VIETNAM War.

And it is that last segment that resonates with me. I lived in the USA in the mid-1960s, and many of my young colleagues were drafted to fight in Viet Nam. I was even taken off a bus to Canada and questioned by the FBI as a potential draft dodger. Fortunately I had already done military service in the UK, and was not eligible for the draft.

And one of my best friends here in Australia fought in the Viet Nam war. In fact we first met on vacation in Viet Nam.

 The CNN segment on the war ends with a clip of the presenter standing in Arlington Cemetery among the endless rows of white headstones marking the graves of young Americans who died in Viet Nam, and he says,

“If any future President ever thinks of going into a foreign war again, he should visit this place before he makes that decision. The Viet Nam War cost America 7 trillion dollars, the lives of 56,000 young Americans, and more than a hundred thousand wounded – some of whom will never recover from their injuries.”

He spoke those words in 1974 – and what he didn’t say was that it was all to no avail. When the Americans left Viet Nam after 10 years of bloody conflict the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese swept into Saigon and took over the South.

Now think Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The body-bags still keep coming home (although figures are no longer published) – and the cost escalates to unimaginable numbers, not just in trillions of dollars, but in civilians killed and maimed and forced to flee their countries as refugees. Will no American President learn the lessons of (recent) history and heed George Washington’s words:

“Interventionists are the result of refined education on minds of a peculiar structure,”

If you want insights into the recent history, and the chaos and confusion in the Middle East read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. It is written from the points of view of the archetypal expatriates who washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf prior to the events of 9/11. They were victims of power-mad politicians’ wars, greedy finance house excesses – and in some cases just victims of avaricious Western wives, and out of control drug-crazed teenage children.

It is based on my 40 years in the international oil industry, most of it spent in The Gulf. You can preview it on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites for the USA, UK, Germany and Spain, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, order the paperback direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

GAY is the saddest euphemism in the English Language

          For the past 20 years or so there has been a media campaign on behalf of homosexuals that verges on the hysterical. And nowhere is that hysteria more evident than in the Gay Pride parades (and Pride is one of the 7 Deadly Sins – “When pride comes so comes disgrace, with humility so comes wisdom” ) in cities like Sydney, London and SanFrancisco that are fake copies of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

          Carnival grew out from the desperately poor people of the favelas who had no earthly way of achieving a fulfilled life. So they scraped together whatever they could beg borrow or steal and once a year dressed up and lost themselves for a week in a frenzy of samba music and dance and alcohol before returning once again the their miserable existence. And in that sense Gay Pride is similar. It is a desperate attempt to escape misery, while vainly claiming that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality.

          This is clearly nonsense because heterosexual relationships produce the miracle of new life –  life that will carry forward new generations – and heterosexuals have no need to parade their their sexuality.     

Strangely enough in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” –  a series of stories about the misfits who wash up in The Arabian/ Persian Gulf – I do not deal with the issue of homosexuality because, in spite of the isolation of all male oil camps I only ever encountered one man who was possibly homosexual.

          Clive was my assistant project manager on a process plant commissioning project on a remote island in the Persian Gulf. He was an apparently rugged male, a combative and aggressive rugby scrum half – and he certainly never wore designer clothes – yet he formed close relationships with the young Arab males who worked as waiters and cleaners in our camp. He bought them (fake) Rolexes and Cartier tank watches, and brought them nice M&S clothing from the UK. Yet never once in the year I shared a trailer with him did he stay out at night, or bring any of the boys back to our trailer.

          So was Clive gay, or was he just a Westerner with a sense of guilt/highly developed social conscience? He was murdered in The Bahamas a year later trying to seperate two locals in a knife fight. I didn’t write Clive’s story, and maybe I should have done, because he was very decent human being.

          My book concentrates on American, British, Filipino and Indian expatriate misfits – VietNam vets, divorcees now remarried to Asian whores, marathon running addicts, college dropouts who love the lonely and atavistic desert etc. –  who wash up in The Gulf for whatever reason. And it puts their lives into a geo-political context.

You can preview my book at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a KINDLE. If you do not, or you prefer a real book you can order from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

They offer free delivery worldwide