Oil companies kill.
November 14, 2005 4:18 AM   Subscribe

10 years. Though I already went on and on about this on another thread, I can't shake it: Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged ten years ago. All he did was point out that Shell so scarred, pitted and slimed his tribal Ogoni lands that it was spontaneously catching fire. Oil company cronies showed up with guns, cleared villages. And then Nigerian government officials got pissed, and nine Ogoni were hanged. Wiki. Testimony of his brother. His foundation.
posted by toma (14 comments total)
Ken Saro-Wiwa is one of my heroes. A great author and a great activist.

posted by OmieWise at 4:22 AM on November 14, 2005

posted by Rothko at 4:27 AM on November 14, 2005

posted by DrDoberman at 4:29 AM on November 14, 2005

Also, if you've not read it, I highly recommend the book In the Shadow of a Saint written by his son Ken Wiwa who currently lives in Canada (Toronto, I believe).
posted by jnthnjng at 5:15 AM on November 14, 2005

Thanks for the reminder. I vividly re-call marching on the Nigerian Embassy in Dublin, daughter on my shoulders, and the sniggers of the diplomats inside. What a waste, what a man.
posted by Wilder at 5:26 AM on November 14, 2005

That was when the Yoruba were in charge.
posted by delmoi at 6:18 AM on November 14, 2005

Someone should make a movie about this, I think the time is right. This guy makes me want to fight the power! Someone should make a movie about all these oil companies, I mean I really can't think of a scarier bad guy. *promises self to use car even less* Walking as a form of political protest!
posted by los pijamas del gato at 6:39 AM on November 14, 2005

Ken Wiwa writes for the Globe and Mail. He's written some incredibly moving pieces about his father. Ken Saro-Wiwa's death is utterly different when viewed through the eyes of his oldest son, instead of seeing his as just another dead activist.

The Globe requires paid registration, but oddly you get gets there for free via google news. Go here and click on "The greatest story he ever told was to die for his people".
posted by GuyZero at 6:43 AM on November 14, 2005

posted by Smedleyman at 6:45 AM on November 14, 2005

posted by Deathalicious at 7:03 AM on November 14, 2005

Delmoi: It isn't as ethnically simple as that. In Nigeria, the armed forces are composed predominantly of Northerners. Most are Muslim, the Yoruba are split 50/50 between Christians and Muslims (with about 100% maintaining traditional Yoruba beliefs as well.) The southeast is predominantly Christian.

As always, Obsanjo plays all sides of the fence,but on a political, not an ethnic basis.

Nobody really succeeds in ruling Nigeria on an ethnic basis, and many Yoruba are painfully aware of it.

If you want to point fingers, Shell is happy to buy any politcal administration - anywhere - that was or is for sale.
posted by zaelic at 7:25 AM on November 14, 2005

It's been ten years? Wow. Thanks for the reminder.

And zaelic, as usual, is right on the money.
posted by languagehat at 7:55 AM on November 14, 2005

Thank you for this. I'd been backlsliding on my commitment to never by anything from Shell.

If you (like me) must buy gas from somewhere, Citgo is a good alternative.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:11 PM on November 14, 2005


Guyzero is absolutely right. I was lucky enough to meet Ken Saro-Wiwa's son about 8 years ago. He talked about his father and I came away with my head spinning - not just at his father's bravery but also at how determined Ken Wiwa was to bring something positive away from his father's death. A real inspiration.
posted by greycap at 1:10 PM on November 14, 2005

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