Nigerian Human Rights Activist Describes the Real Cost of Oil: Report Back

 
I went to see Omoyele Sowore speak tonight at PSU. The room was filled with a good sized crowd, and the speaker was well worth listening to. I went, in part, because of the plans afoot to build a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plant along the Columbia river and I wanted to know what we might be in for if that is allowed to proceed. I came away with a feeling of connection stretching from the gas tanks of our cars all the way across the oceans, to the oceans of blood flowing from Nigeria to Ecuador.

Omoyele Sowore spoke about the oil wars raging across the globe. Everywhere that oil has been discovered, he said, the people suffer. He described the once-pristine lakes and waterways in his home land on the Nigerian Delta. The water was crystal clear, the night sky filled with stars, and, as he said, "life was good." But oil was discovered there in the late 1950s, and slowly the poison of avarice spread across the land. He saw the waters of the lakes turn from crystal clear to murky, to black as oil as he neared the oil strongholds. He saw fish floating dead in the water, and then livestock floating dead in the water. And he saw the human sacrifices offered up to the multinational conglomerations making up Big Oil.

His words made a clear path of understanding through the haze of obfuscation that the corporate media has created to isolate and pacify the people of this country into silent complicity. And he shared with us his perception that we, too, are victims of this new, rising, corporate police state. He talked about the victimization of Americans through the Patriot Act, and I had the sense that we are all in this together. In the end, he asked us not just to be "inspired" by his words, but to ACT. We need to stop taking more than we need. As he put it, "It is in this compulsive consumption that all these killings take place." He reminded us that we are all complicit so long as we continue to over-consume without considering the cost.

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