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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mining boom creates opportunities for local councillors

This extract  (p. 8) from Alexis Wright's award-winning novel Carpentaria, raises from a sympathetic perspective the question of personal gain, which is driven at a basic level by the need to survive:
'Harmless coercing of the natives the social planners hummed, anxious to make deals happen for the
impending mining boom. Meaningful coexistence could now accommodate almost any request whatsoever, including changing a river's name to Normal. During this honeymoon period, those Aboriginal people who took the plunge to be councillors, wisely used their time in public office to pursue scraps of personal gain for their own families living amidst the muck of third-world poverty.' (The italics in quoted text indicate direct speech.)
Powerful, densely written prose channelling anger and indignation...apt word 'muck'! Let's not be too quick to judge the opportunists, I guess? Any thoughts?

Wright's strongest ire is reserved for the exploiting and corrupting mining companies:
'Numerous short-lived profiteering schemes were concocted for the locals, in order to serve the big company's own interests as they set about pillaging the region's treasure trove: the publicly touted curve of an underground range embedded with minerals.'
Anyone take issue with this iron-fisted rhetoric? (Great writing isn't it!)

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