Watch out for Gina and her clan of billionaires

| October 8, 2021

Last week, Gina Rinehart made headlines on Sri Lanka, claiming Australia will end up impoverished like us. This week she’s deflecting the blame for the climate crisis from humans. With her inherited and built-up riches and fame, odds are she’s pretty used to headlines.

Rich, famous, and entitled to preach, she may be, but her message is categorically untruthful.

She hates on our “socialism,” and if she reads this, she’d hate it even more, with my criticism sponsored by the “ruining effects of socialism.” No, I’m not paid by our government, Sri Lanka isn’t a socialist state, nor am I a hard-leftie.

I am alive today thanks to public health care that saved my life when stricken with dengue at nine. And my ability to put together, what I hope, is a decent critique of her propaganda is partially thanks to free education. These are, according to her, the ills of socialism.

And this is written out of sheer frustration at her callously or willfully ignorant portrait of a nation, colonialism, social goods, and climate crisis.

She’s spot-on in our desire for a brighter future and saying, “Sadly, for this generation, I believe this is now at risk, which the younger ones amongst us, in particular, should not want.”

But Gina misses the point: it’s not just the living generations at risk, but ones after, and whoever will pay the price for our corrupt version of capitalism that’s raping the planet, life on it, and resources. She is shifting the blame away from a real risk – the clan of billionaires and corporations honed in only on profit. She’s a shining star among them, and this strategy of spinning the truth has worked well for them.

The clan thrives when “free this” and “free that” are taken away from ordinary folk – in Australia, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. When she says the government must show fiscal restraint, she means leaving those already struggling to make ends meet without support during this deadly pandemic. It means cutbacks on our kids’ future prospects so that an elite few can add more yachts and mansions to their repertoire.

Thanks, Gina, for homing in on colonial Ceylon and being blatantly wrong about it – both factually and morally. For her, Ceylonese prosperity is that of colonial overlords reeking wealth built on an empire of oppression. For over 500 years around the world, European colonizers mercilessly murdered, raped, enslaved, and stole at a scale never seen in human history.

Let’s be clear, they did not civilize us here in Sri Lanka or elsewhere, as I’m sure the original people of Australia can vouch for too. Though not perfect by any means, civilizations like ours have flourished for centuries, nay, millennia. With stronger weapons, European colonizers destroyed largely peaceful ways of life of the natives.

They divided communities with arbitrary borders and governance structures and are partially responsible for today’s bloody struggles in India, Pakistan, Myanmar, and elsewhere. Some societies, before Colonial perversion, enjoyed more sexual and gender expression too, and today it’s the colonial norms that dictate oppression.

When she says Sri Lankans “faced hunger, loss of free speech, consequent damaging riots, property damage, unhappiness, police, and military,” she’s right, but the culprit she points at is dead wrong.

For sure, there’s no denying our economy is struggling, but the fault is not in universal public goods. The rioting and deaths were partially long-term ill-effects of British divide and rule.

In our developing nations, economic woes are often results of lacking competent leadership, good governance, and abilities to move beyond ailing colonial systems. Our economy hasn’t shrunk, but the perks have mostly ended up with Gina’s equivalents here, who’ve amassed heaps of wealth.

She paints regulation as dangerous because a lack of it allows for a free wealth buffet for the rich. Crony capitalism allows them to rig rules to their benefit, in turn, not only limiting social goods but also stifling healthy market competition, innovation, and the creation of ideas and solutions essential for progress.

In 2021, her wealth’s grown by $2.2billion in six months, and she’s fighting the Canadian government because they blocked a coal project. Coal is the dirtiest energy source, and Canada was right to prioritize the environment.

Dirty energy tycoons have been spinning narratives, peddling influence, and rigging systems to make unholy amounts of money. While at it, they’ve played nasty to checkmate innovative and people and planet-friendly solutions from competing on a fair playing field.

Gina’s right; we should watch out. Our tomorrow depends on it. Just not where she points to, but at her clan who’d sell the planet and people for profit and the cowardly leaders and enablers in it for the kickbacks.