Respect Existence Or Expect Resistance – An open letter to Philip Steyn, COO of Rhino Oil and Gas

Emailed to Rhino Oil and Gas – 27 January 2016

Dear Phillip.

This letter is in reference to your recent application for an exploratory permit in the KZN Midlands. While you go to great lengths to assure the public that you merely wish to explore and will not be conducting any hydraulic fracturing per se, the rhino in the living room (pun intended) remains that, should your exploration prove fruitful, extraction will invariably follow.

The school of thought which sees nature as a pool of resources to be turned into commodities which in turn becomes profit for the few at the expense of the many is a dangerous and outdated one which has no place in an enlightened modern society. A society which is waking up to the inescapable reality of our intricate entanglement with, and absolute reliance on the well being of our natural environment can not tolerate any further violent assault on the ecosystems which sustains it.

No amount of public relations or green washing can detract from the well known fact that fossil fuel extraction is a dirty and detrimental affair which destroys the ecosystems on which humanity depends for health, well being and indeed life itself. A century of extraction has left us with enough documented evidence of the catastrophic effects of fossil fuel extraction. Exploration is the first step towards extraction and extraction equates to a violent assault on the environment and the people who depend on it.

No matter how you try and spin it, there is simply no way to rationalise profiteering from death and destruction. What you are proposing, and in a bizarre and perverted twist are asking the sanction of your victims for through your ‘public participation’ meetings, is to the continuation of the trajectory towards total ecosystem collapse on which we as a species find ourselves at this critical juncture.

In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. It therefore follows that anyone who chooses to participate in and profit from the destructive business of fossil fuel extraction is either being wilfully ignorant or is fully aware of the harm and suffering to which he is a party but incapable of feeling empathy or remorse. The dictionary describes such an individual as a psychopath.

Should you choose to forge ahead, your actions will be perceived as a threat to the health, life and well being of the inhabitants of the Midlands by those who are not fooled by the public relations or the bureaucratic jargon and condescending platitudes of your ‘environmental consultants’. Don’t be surprised if your threat is met with resistance in all it’s forms including the use of force as a means of self defence.

Metaphorically speaking, you are about to enter people’s homes with the intent to do harm. The right to life is enshrined in the South African constitution as well as in the UN Charter of Human Rights. By extension, this implies the right to defend one’s life and well being. This letter then serves to inform you that there are numerous individuals who recognise the threat which you pose and, should you proceed in this threatening manner, claim the right to self defence.

Without Prejudice, ill will or vexation

Lawrence Qholloi

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