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colonies – the sequel

          It’s hard to see what’s not to like about Greenland. Once you remember that it’s the one that isn’t green. Iceland is green. Greenland is icy. Yeah, that one. Its been inhabited by Inuit forever, but been ruled by Denmark since the 18th century because all the profitable colonies had been taken by the time Denmark got in the business. Well, that’s not really true; the Danish also had Africa’s Gold Coast, which got that name for a reason, and I suppose that if it wasn’t for the Gold Coast, Denmark couldn’t have afforded its chillier real estate in Greenland, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands and Estonia. Like it would have wanted to. Heh. Those Danish. Sheesh.

          Anyway, the Gold Coast went on to be Ghana pretty early on, but it wasn’t until the 70s that Greenland got even limited home rule. It was a sort of frozen situation (oogh). For some reason Denmark wanted Greenland, and then, well, nothing happened for the longest time. Oh, some fishing and whaling went on, a ruby here, a diamond there was discovered, and there’s talk of oil off the western coast, but so far its just talk. Finally last week the Greenlanders voted to boot out the Danish, but why, I’m not sure they even know.  It’s not like the Danish were particularly mean to their subjects. They gave Greenland something like $590m a year, and while that had to be spread out over the largest island (yes, it IS larger than Australia; I checked) in the world, there’s only 56k Greenlanders who have to share it. Without Denmark footing the bill, they’re going to have to develop those oil fields, I guess. Hard to do without young men, if you ask me, and since Greenland has one of the highest rates of suicide in the world, and boys between the ages of 15-19 top that list, I’d say… dunno. And then it costs up to $50 a barrel to extract oil in the frozen northern seas, and right now that’s almost what oil is selling for so I’d say…dunno.

          In these special times of global warming, it’s hard to predict anything about the north based on previous experiences. Why d’you think the Russkies made a point of planting a flag under the north pole? Why d’you think they’re buzzing around in Norwegian airspace and claiming various and sundry unnamed atolls (can you have an arctic atoll? Aren’t they just a tropical thing? Somebody get back to me on this…)? And just as predicatively, there go the Russkies all the way around the world to Venezuela, where Prez Medvedev is on hand to oversee the naval maneuvers with his country’s nuclear powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) and the anti submarine frigate Admiral Chabaneneko. Hugo Chavez is positively drooling.

          Which brings us to another tiny population being ruled by a tiny, far-away European population – Curaçao. It, being located 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela, in the Netherland Antilles, is what they call a Dutch Dependency, but nobody really, fully, absolutely knows what that means. The Netherland Antilles are, but are not colonies of the Dutch, as is Aruba. Do you really want to know more? I don’t. Suffice to say that the Dutch in Curaçao, like the Danes in Greenland, send money. And in turn, the US sends money to the Kingdom of the Netherlands (the Dutch. No, no, they can’t just have one name) for rent on the naval base called Forward Operating Location Hato, which, if you believe the Americans, is used mostly as a base for counter-narcotic missions and for sailors on R&R. Which is, of course, irony in itself since amongst the Studio 54 set, Curaçao is known as a party-hearty hot-spot, with half-naked nymphets from the entertainment industry cavorting enthusiastically for the cameras whilst licking their cocaine-numbed lips provocatively just prior to signing a book deal for an accounting of their time in rehab.

          So that’s Curaçao, just spitting distance from where the Russkies are playing with the Venezuelans upon the sea. And the theater in which Mr. Chavez gets to frame – yet again – his world view that the US is determined to invade Venezuela, kill Himself and seize its enormous puddle of oil and dominate…hey, wait a minute! This already happened, didn’t it? No, that was in Iraq. Anyway it is true that in 2006 the US aircraft carrier group held maneuvers near to Curaçao, and at that time Hugo accused the Dutch defense minister of being a “Washington stooge” for allowing it. If he’s right, that means that this time he’s a “Kremlin stooge”, doesn’t it? Meanwhile, the Dutch, who are involved, uttered a practically audible, eye-rolling sigh while stating that “There are no consequences foreseen for the Kingdom of the Netherlands” due to the Russo-Venezuelan nautical parade in their colonial back yard.

          It’s all just so exhausting isn’t it? I think I need a vacation in a tropical paradise, where I can cavort while American sailors either protect me from narcotics or plot a world leader’s demise.  Or maybe I’ll go to Greenland to cavort with seal pups and plot my own icy and beautiful demise.


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