Read Editorial with D2G – Ep 527

Read Editorial with D2G – Ep 527

A Suez lesson

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Meanings are given in BOLD

According to Peter Berdowski, chief executive of Royal Boskalis Westminster, removing the “Ever Given” from the Suez Canal could take “days, even weeks”. The gigantic (extremely big) freighter (a ship or an aircraft that carries only goods and not passengers) — longer than most skyscrapers (an extremely tall building) — is lodged (to become firmly fixed or to make something do this) in the Suez Canal and Berdowski’s company is among those hired to move it.

The task is a challenging one. And, what it has highlighted — as with most essential things, it grabs (to try to get or catch somebody/something) attention only in its disruption ( a break or interruption in the normal course or continuation of some activity, process, etc) — is how important the narrow waterway is to the world.

Most of the millennials and Gen Z’ers posting memes about the current Suez Crisis may not be entirely aware of the historical and political symbolism of the canal. Constructed between 1859-1869, the man-made waterway cut the time taken, and the grave (bad or serious) danger faced by ships travelling the world: It put Egypt at a strategic junction between Asia and Europe, and the perils (something that is very dangerous) of the Cape of Good Hope could be avoided.

Then, in the wave of assertion (a statement that says you strongly believe that something is true) by colonies and quasi-colonies, Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the canal in 1956. And when Britain, France and Israel invaded (to enter in large numbers, often where somebody/something is not wanted) Egypt — the former two to protect corporate interests that hinged (joined to another thing, or joined together) on the Canal — the many hypocrisies (behaviour in which somebody pretends to have moral standards or opinions that he/she does not really have) of the colonisers’ “liberal values” were exposed in the original Suez Crisis (a time of great danger or difficulty; the moment when things change and either improve or get worse).

Of course, this is all ancient history to some. The image of the gigantic ship and a lone bulldozer trying to free it have sparked the most self-serving of all public conversations —memes with captions like “me looking at work on a Monday”.

But as the supplies of fuel, food, and all the other myriad (countless or extremely great in number) products that are piling up (To add or increase (something, such as criticism) abundantly or excessively) in ships stuck in a marine traffic jam fail to reach their destination, there is a lesson on the things that still matter. It turns out, that while much has changed from 1869 and 1956 — “data is the new oil”, after all — a large part of the global economy still runs on the very real grooves (a long deep line that is cut in the surface of something) left by history.

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