Monday, February 19, 2007

News from the Niger Delta

Consider this homework in advance of our April Earth Day activities: depressing news from the Niger Delta,

But it was hard to escape the conclusion that it might all be too little too late. There are people of genuine goodwill working for the oil companies, many of whom are determined to find a way to earn that elusive and much talked-about “SLO” (social license to operate) that makes it possible for their employers to work in peace in the Delta. But increasingly, alongside good intentions and innovative approaches to community and media relations, there is also a mood of resignation and gathering despair, a feeling that things may have gone too far, too deep, in a way that no amount of goodwill can turn around. “The Pope himself could not fix things now,” was the way one activist described the situation of the Delta to me. “He would just be corrupted or killed or co-opted by one group or another. Today, every little boy in Nigeria is talking about ‘big money,’ not hard work. People are assassinating one another to become local councillors. How can you turn something like that around?”

The author of this article, John Ghazvinian, has a book coming out which could well be a future Rights Readers selection.
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