American Business interests Killed Ken Saro Wiwa


Jersay
#1
Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa (October 10, 1941 - November 10, 1995) was a Nigerian author, television producer and environmental activist.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was a member of the Ogoni, an ethnic minority whose homelands in the Niger Delta have been targeted for oil extraction since the 1950s. Intitially as spokesperson and then President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Saro-Wiwa led a nonviolent campaign against environmental damage associated with the operations of multinational oil companies, especially Shell.

Saro-Wiwa was also a successful businessman, novelist and television producer. His best known novel, Sozaboy: A Novel in Rotten English, tells the story of naive village boy recruited to the army during the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). His war diaries, On a Darkling Plain, document Saro-Wiwa's experience during the war, when he served as the Civilian Administrator for the port of Bonny in the Niger Delta. His satirical television series, Basi & Co., is purported to have been the most watched soap opera in Africa.

In the early 1970s, Saro-Wiwa served as the Regional Commissioner for Education in the Rivers State Cabinet, but was dismissed in 1973 because of his support for Ogoni autonomy. In the late 1970s, he established a number of successful business ventures in retail and real-estate, and during the 1980s was able to concentrate on his writing, journalism and television production.

In 1990, Saro-Wiwa was one of the founding members of MOSOP, to advocate for the rights of the Ogoni people. The Ogoni Bill of Rights, written by MOSOP, set out the movement's demands, including increased autonomy for the Ogoni people, a fair share of the proceeds of oil extraction, and remediation of environmental damage to Ogoni lands. In 1992, Saro-Wiwa was imprisoned for several months, without trial, by the Nigerian military government.

In January 1993, MOSOP organised peaceful marches of around 300,000 Ogoni people - more than half of the Ogoni population - through four Ogoni centres, drawing international attention to his people's plight. The same year, Shell ceased operations in the Ogoni region.

Saro-Wiwa was arrested again and detained by Nigerian authorities in June 1993, but was released after a month. In May 1994, he was arrested and accused of incitement to murder following the deaths of four Ogoni elders, Saro-Wiwa denied the charges, but was imprisoned for over a year before being found guilty and sentenced to death by a specially convened tribunal. The trial was widely criticised by human rights organisations.

On November 10, 1995, Saro-Wiwa and eight other MOSOP leaders were executed (hanged) by the Nigerian military government of General Sani Abacha, provoking the immediate suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth of Nations, which was meeting in New Zealand at the time.

A biography, In the Shadow of a Saint, was written by his son, journalist Ken Wiwa. Ken Saro-Wiwa's daughter Zina Saro-Wiwa is a filmmaker and arts journalist.

[edit]
Statement made by Saro-Wiwa just before his execution
"My lord,

We all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas. Appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a richly endowed land, distressed by their political marginalization and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of their land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and to a decent living, and determined to usher to this country as a whole a fair and just democratic system which protects everyone and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human civilization, I have devoted my intellectual and material resources, my very life, to a cause in which I have total belief and from which I cannot be blackmailed or intimidated.I have no doubt at all about the ultimate success of my cause, no matter the trials and tribulations which I and those who believe with me may encounter on our journey. Nor imprisonment nor death can stop our ultimate victory.

I repeat that we all stand before history. I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial and it is as well that it is represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief.The Company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come and the lessons learnt here may prove useful to it for there is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war that the Company has waged in the Delta will be called to question sooner than later and the crimes of that war be duly punished. The crime of the Company’s dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be punished.

On trial also is the Nigerian nation, its present rulers and those who assist them. Any nation which can do to the weak and disadvantaged what the Nigerian nation has done to the Ogoni, loses a claim to independence and to freedom from outside influence.I am not one of those who shy away from protesting injustice and oppression, arguing that they are expected in a military regime. The military do not act alone. They are supported by a gaggle of politicians, lawyers, academics and businessmen, all of them hiding under the claim that they are only doing their duty, men and women too afraid to wash their pants of urine. As we subscribe to the sub-normal and accept double standards, as we lie and cheat openly, as we protect injustice and oppression, we empty our classrooms, denigrate our hospitals, fill our stomachs with hunger and elect to make ourselves the slaves of those who ascribe to higher standards, pursue the truth, and honor justice, freedom, and hard work.

I predict that the scene here will be played and replayed by generations yet unborn. Some have already cast themselves in the role of villains, some are tragic victims, some still have a chance to redeem themselves. The choice is for each individual.

I predict that the denouement of the riddle of the Niger delta will soon come. The agenda is being set at this trial. Whether the peaceful ways I have favored will prevail depends on what the oppressor decides, what signals it sends out to the waiting public.

In my innocence of the false charges I face here, in my utter conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights. History is on their side. God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura 42, verse 41: “All those that fight when oppressed incur no guilt, but Allah shall punish the oppressor.” Come the day."

—Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Saro_Wiwa

http://www.opendemocracy.net/democra...ticle_2187.jsp
 
Jersay
#2
So American business interests, it appears may have led to the death, with regards to shell oil, to Ken Saro Wiwa and who knows how many more.
 

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