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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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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