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Burn, Onitsha, burn
February 23, 2006 4:56 PM   Subscribe

The other religious riots. While much of the world's press has covered the Muslim cartoon riots, not nearly as much ink has been spilled over the continuing violence in Nigeria. A good analysis of underlying factors here. A Shell report points to oil as a proximate cause of violence as well. For oil companies, this may not be a bad thing. (If I was more interested in trolling, I'd have framed this as "Christian Leaders Fail to Condemn Religious Violence." The real world's a little more complex).
posted by klangklangston (15 comments total)

 
Analysis of underlying factors? Why use that when the opportunity presents itself to say Christianofacists?
posted by iamck at 5:01 PM on February 23, 2006


This is crazy scary. My husband works in the oil biz and his company has cancelled all travel to Nigeria. The (unnamed) company he works for has a last in, first out policy, and it's generally known in the biz that Shell is the most aggressive company there.

What I love is that the news is always eager to report that kidnapped workers have been released, but you never hear what terms negotiated the release.
posted by Brittanie at 5:03 PM on February 23, 2006


Perhaps it's because I just watched Hotel Rwanda the other night so it's still fresh on my mind, but this reinforces the idea that the western world doesn't regard Africa at all. The religious and economic undercurrent (martyr's blood for oil?) is even more troubling.
posted by kendrak at 5:44 PM on February 23, 2006


If I looked around, I'm sure I could find the older story about how Shell used helicopters and sharpshooters to clear pipeline territory, just like old railroad attacks on Indians.
posted by klangklangston at 6:33 PM on February 23, 2006


An excellent book: The Politics of Bones: Dr. Owens Wiwa and the Struggle for Nigeria's Oil, by J. Timothy Hunt.
posted by nickyskye at 6:59 PM on February 23, 2006


I think it's perhaps helpful to note that this violence is not in a vacuum. It's in response to the latest in a long series of brutal and deadly Muslim attacks that have been going on for years.

Also, a deeper analysis of the situation in Nigeria also shows it's more related to tribal/ethnic enmity, of which the religious element is only a part.
posted by darkstar at 8:35 PM on February 23, 2006


Darkstar: It's not just a response. That would imply that the Muslims started the violence. Instead, it's a longstanding power struggle within Nigeria that's been fueled by oil revenues.
posted by klangklangston at 8:47 PM on February 23, 2006


Hasn't this basically been going on for a couple years? Like, since the miss world pageant?
posted by delmoi at 9:51 PM on February 23, 2006


Delmoi: Even before that, but it's on and off. Pretty much since the '80s, there have been flare-ups, but this latest one has been pretty serious.
posted by klangklangston at 9:53 PM on February 23, 2006


Hmm, looking at the world fact book page, it seems like the IMF has it's claws in Nigeria. That can't be helping. Anyway, Nigeria's total oil wealth (counting whats still in the ground) is 1.8 trillion dollars, or about $15,000 per person total. They produce about 44 billion a year, or just $360/person. So it's not really that much given their population.
posted by delmoi at 10:00 PM on February 23, 2006


kk, yes, that's right. I didn't mean to suggest that it was just Christians "responding" to a Muslim affront, though that's the way my comment sounded, I admit. The tribal/ethnic violence has been going on for a long time, as you note, on both sides.

I just meant to emphasize that the religious aspect is only one facet of the matterm lest people think this is at heart a religious struggle. People use "Christian" and "Muslim" as shorthand to refer to the two sides, but the issues are rather deeper than just religious enmity. And, for that matter, deeper than just oil competition, too, as you suggest.
posted by darkstar at 10:46 PM on February 23, 2006


*matterm ---> matter,


Darn new keyboard.
posted by darkstar at 10:47 PM on February 23, 2006


Delmoi: It's a lot for their population, given the cost of living AND the wildly unequal distribution of capital.

Darkstar: No, it's not just about the oil either, but that's been a definite (dare I?) lubricating factor in the last 10-15 years.
I really do think that the BBC analysis link is pretty good regarding the situation.
posted by klangklangston at 11:14 PM on February 23, 2006


delmoi - try 1967
The Nigerian "oil" delta has always wanted secession.
See also here and here and here.
posted by adamvasco at 1:27 AM on February 24, 2006


Thanks Adam.
posted by klangklangston at 8:28 AM on February 24, 2006


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