Washington Babylon — June 4, 2010, 10:18 am

More on BP’s Oily Mess, in the Gulf and in Nigeria

The oil spill in the Gulf was the topic of an item posted yesterday, which cited the remarks of a man who grew up in Nigeria and now lives in the United States. I received further interesting comments from him today:

[There was an] oil spill in the Niger Delta in the years after high school when I worked with the Shell-BP Petroleum Development Co. Nigeria Ltd. So I was quite aware of the implications of the accident when it happened in the Gulf as I watched folks’ reaction escalate from day to day. It was interesting for me to observe how totally violated people here feel to a practice that is routine in the Niger Delta. There, the people’s environment have been ruined for generations. Folks cannot farm their lands or fish their waters and they breathe polluted air all their lives. When they complained they were killed or threatened by the government. Only the current government is trying to make good with the Delta communities, too little too late, after violent resistance.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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