Friday, March 26, 2010

"They'll kill me, you know"

Saro-Wiwa’s tribe, the Ogoni, numbers about half-a-million people living in an area of four-hundred square miles in the delta of the River Niger. Unfortunately for them, their land of forests and creeks was discovered in the 1950s to be oil-bearing. According to Saro-Wiwa, the oil companies —principally Shell—have extracted $30 billion worth of oil from Ogoniland in the last thirty years, in the process degrading the soil, polluting the water, and causing the Ogonis to live under the eternal light of gas flares. And the Nigerian federal government to which Shell paid enormous royalties has spent none of them on Ogoniland, which remains without proper roads, schools, clinics, or facilities of any kind. Instead, the royalties have lined private pockets and built an extravagantly luxurious new capital at Abuja.

“The rascals, the rascals!,” Saro-Wiwa exclaimed, and shook the room again with his laughter. Rascal is a word that is generally used with a degree of affection, so what Saro-Wiwa said next was all the more shocking. “They’ll kill me, you know. They’ll kill me.”

He was right, too. Dalrymple on the Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa.


Anonymous said...

With regard to your previous post, where you write "Used to the increasing marginalisation of Christianity in the political sphere over the last 50 years, they haven't realised that the past isn't necessarily a guide to the future."

I think its rather the opposite to what you say.
These people are believers in "the end of history"
They don't believe that the past is any guide to the future at all.
If they did, they would be worried because the loss of religion throughout history has always been replaced in a relatively short space of time by another, either by the same people or a new people.
That new religion is often no more 'enlightened' than what existed before, and I can think of a fair few examples where it was worse.

Anonymous said...

These people dont learn any lessons from history.

OK a couple of lessons; certain events in Germany '33 to '45 are more important to them than anything else. Then there is the British Empire, of course the other European empires are evil too, but they tend to be hazy on the details.

So the two lessons are 1) white people who are nationalistic are very bad. 2) White people and all their works are bad. Thats all you need to know about history. There is I suppose 3) When in doubt refer to 1) or 2).

Other than that, no, the past is just a bunch of stuff that happened. Nothing is connected to anything else, just random events happening sequentially.

Instead we have progress, countries "move forward", which means abandon Christianity, have mass non-white immigration, swearing on TV, lots of sex n drugs. Or they "move backwards" ie stop having those things.

So the only part of history which counts, apart form lessons 1 and 2& 3, is that which applies to "forwards" and "backwards".