For 50 years, multinational oil companies have been pumping billions of gallons of oil from beneath the Niger Delta. Nigeria now produces 2.1 million barrels per day, and has the second-largest reserve in the world. But pollution and poverty plague the land, while the government colludes with corporations to wallow in cash while the average Niger Deltan lives on less than a dollar a day.
Anita was close friends with Ken Saro-Wiwa, a playwright and poet who organized the Ogoni people native to the region to fight for justice against the major oil producers. He was executed by the government for sedition.
An Ogoni song about the constant flare fires from Shell sites goes like this:
"The flames of Shell are flames of Hell,
We bask below their light,
Nought for us to serve the blight,
Of cursed neglect and cursed Shell."
We found in today's Slate magazine a beautiful multimedia piece by Julie Winokur based on photographer Ed Kashi's gorgeous book, Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta.