Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa – the Ogoni people & the greed for oil

Ken Saro-Wiwa became a legend for his non-violent campaign against environmental degradation of the land and waters of Ogoniland by the operations of the multinational petroleum industry, especially Shell. His case is cited in numerous academic and cultural works, such as:

Europeans, Americans and Chinese are all in high demand and thus on a race for natural resources again, with big promises to African governments of how their nations will thrive on the deals in return to oil, gas, diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, woods and tropical fruits. Will that really be the case? Will the deals be good for Africa?

Well, for once our leaders can chose to shake hands with ex colonial powers or the dragon, which gives at least some room for negotiations.

What would be more needed in African nations however, is adding value to the resources; processing it at place so goods can be sold and shipped at a higher price. But who wants to invest in such? Assisting to raise the price on the market – sounds not very logical? True, and that’s why it is not happening. But then, what is the good deal for Africa in the trading of resources with the big players?

We look back a few years, when the Ogoni people of Nigeria with their leader Ken Saro-Wiwa had a serious fight against Shell:

Dance your anger and your joys

Dance the military guns to silence

Dance their dumb laws to the dump

Dance oppression and injustice to death

Dance the end of Shell’s ecological war of 30 years

Dance my people for we have seen tomorrow

And there is an Ogoni Star in the sky

The poem was written by Ken Saro-Wiwa to invoke the jubilant mood for the celebration of Ogoni Day, the first held on 4 January 1993, which drew an unprecedented crowd of more than 300,000 Ogoni people.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was arrested and executed in 1995.

The organization Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) lives on to make sure things like that never happen again to the Ogoni people.

Find MOSOP on facebook

Check as well a later post in his honor at A point of Entry into the World

7 thoughts on “Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa – the Ogoni people & the greed for oil

  1. Pingback: A Point of Entry into the World; Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa « africanperspectivesblog

  2. Pingback: OPEN LETTER to President Goodluck Ebele Johnathan « africanperspectivesblog

  3. People did not know it from the small begining but the poem worked greatly. It is still working for the Ogonis till present. May the spirit of Ken Saro Wiwa rest in peace.

  4. Great post! I recently finished Rob Nixon’s ‘Slow violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor’ in which Ken Saro Wiwa is discussed at length. Thought I’d share the title with you, God Bless.

  5. He is indeed ‘an Ogoni star in the sky ‘ while the rest still struggle with injustice and betrayal by their own people.

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