Samstag, 4. April 2009

Wiwa vs. Shell - finally in court

In 1995, I spent many, many afternoons camped out in front of Shell petrol stations. Rain or shine, a good number of us were determined to make Shell notice that their complicity in atrocoties in Nigeria was not going unnoticed. We were called the "Edinburgh Coalition Against Shell" and a true coalition we were: Church people, students, Nigerians in exile, et al.. During all those hours in front of drab petrol stations, friendships were formed. There were bizarre moments, like when a lady stopped to thank us - and it turned out she worked for Exxon ... There were beautiful moments, like when some random person nobody had seen before, read out some of Ken Saro-Wiwa´s powerful poetry. There were - many - frustrated moments, when we seemed so small and insignificant and Shell customers did not care. There was real despair, when, on November 10th 1995, we learned that Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni leaders had, after all, been killed. Murdered. After a sham trial. Despite global protests and pleas from many who seemed important, but were impotent - like us. - Defeats like that stay with you. They are, like extinction, for ever. They never stop hurting. May be it would be wrong, if they did. - Yet, yet. Ken Saro-Wiwa would not want us to wallow in sadness. Facing the executioners, he reportedly said: "Lord, take my soul, but the struggle continues". Hence I applaud the efforts of enterprising lawyers, Earthrights and others. As a result of their tireless efforts on May 27th 2009, a landmark trial will start in New York - Wiwa vs Shell - finally. The event is significant enough to deserve a ´trailor´ - which you can watch below. To me, it was a bit scary to see all those images again. Aside from the new lawyer interviews, I think I knew every single image in this video. The devastation still makes my heart bleed. If you haven´t seen these images before ..., well, I hope they make you angry. May justice be done in New York, if over 12 years late! Mark May 27th in your diaries.

P.S. I had to repost the video as Shell had taken legal action to remove it from the original website. Meanwhile, the trial has been delayed. Go here for regular updates.

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