|Wednesday, 27 November 2002|
An oil slick
I was their last year, enjoying the beaches and the exquisite Mediterranean. The clear waters where the fishes innocently swam over you, and the women bare all in the gentle sun. And now beneath that same ocean, a single hulled oil tanker has sunk, its deadly oil, slowly oozing up to the surface, spreading a thin film.
"It's only a thin film of oil," said the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. "No need to get worried at all." I can imagine the Spanish Deputy PM and his wife walking down one of those beaches. "Look at the ocean," says the deputy PM.
"Yes dear, I am looking," says the deputy's wife.
"Billions of tonnes of water." "Of course my dear." "And do you know what those Portuguese are saying?
That some oil from some silly little single hulled tanker will contaminate all those tonnes of water! Ha, ha! What do they think we Spanish are? Fools? Haven't they heard of the Great Armada? We ruled the seas! Are we scared of a little bit of oil?" "Sir," cries the technical director of the Navy's Hydrographic Institute as he comes panting behind the deputy prime minister, "Sir..!" "What is it man," can't you see I am taking a stroll with the senorita?" "Sir, the oil slick is 1.9 miles long and a few hundred yards wide!" "And what is the length and breadth of the ocean, my dear Captain Augusto Ezequiel?" "Sir?" "Captain Augusto my dear man, you are the technical director of the navy's institute, are you scared of a few drops of oil?" "Sir!" "We were the conquerors of the sea, my Captain. From our very own Barcelona, Columbus sailed to win a new world for us. Be a Columbas today and fear not some baby oil, lubricant or petroleum jelly floating on our sea..!" "But husband, shouldn't you at least contain the leakage?" asks his wife.
"There see you have frightened my wife," says the deputy prime minister.
"I will have you transferred for this disturbance." The deputy prime minister and his wife and the technical director suddenly see all the tourists and other bathers in the sea, running to the shore. "What is happening?" asks the deputy PM in consternation.
"Thousands of dead fish are being washed onto the beaches," shouts a tourist trying to rub off a blackish layer from his body. "I am going back to Florida" "Its the oil..!" shouts the director.
"But how can this be," shouts the deputy PM. " We are ruined. Our tourists will leave. How could a few tonnes of oil have spoiled our water? How?"
Nobody hears his wife murmur to herself sadly: "Just, as a little slick of pride, has now ruined you my dear husband..!"
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