Friday, January 14, 2005

NoLogo excerpt

Background: Shell oil has been involved in numerous scandals because of their involvement with countries that violate human rights. So much so, there were many boycotts of Shell in 1996 and 1997. This means more contracts for shells competitors, like Chevron. But it seems even when you win you lose.

Try to realize how good we have it here in that we can actually protest, and even if we do so in violation of the law, we will (usually) be treated with a decent code of behaviour.

All of the following is an excerpt from pages 418-419.

Less than a year later, Bola Oyinbo, a thirty-three-year-old activist who led an occupation of a Chevron oil barge in Nigeria's Ondo State, would be writing the following report:

"Just as we were preparing to leave we saw three helicopters (choppers).They
came like eagles, swooping on chickens. We never expected what followed. As the choppers landed one after the other discharging soldiers, what we heard were gunshots and fire. In fact they started shooting commando style at us even before they landed. They shot everywhere. Arulika and Jolly fell. They died instantly. Larry who was near him rushed to his aid, wanting to pick him up, he was also shot. More soldiers came and more shooting followed. Some of my colleagues jumped over board into the Atlantic, others ran into the platform. There was pandemonium. They shot teargas. White men flew all the helicopters...We were defenceless, harmless."

The protest had begun peacefully on May 25, 1998, and it ended three days later in a bloodbath, with two activists dead. The circumstances were eerily similar to those that had prompted Ken Saro-Wiwa's campaign against Shell five years earlier. "Go to Awoye community and see what they have done," Oyinbo writes. "Everything there is dead: mangroves, tropical forests, fish, the freshwater, wildlife etc. All killed by Chevron.... our people complain of 'dead creeks.'" According to Oyinbo, the community attempted on several occasions to negotiate with Chevron, but its executives never showed up at the meetings. The occupation of the moored barge was a last resort, they say, and the only demand was for a formal meeting with Chevron.

Oyinbo and his comrades accuse the company of hiring the soldiers who raided the barge, killing two men and injuring as many as thirty others. Chevron says it is not responsible for the actions taken by police officers on its rig — they were simply enforcing the law against "pirates." Chevron spokesperson Mike Libbey denies that the company paid the security officers to intervene, though he admits to alerting the authorities and providing transportation to the platform [Italics added - DM]. "We think it is unfortunate that people died, perhaps unnecessarily, but that at doesn't change the fact that in order for Chevron to do business in ninety countries around the world, we must cooperate with governments of many kinds," he told reporters.


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