Monday, July 14, 2008

Humanity Suffering

A commentary piece by Johann Hari in The Independent this morning will stay with me...

"Here's just one everyday story about how that feels, unusually well documented because some journalists happened to be there. In October 1998, there was a leak of raw petroleum near one Delta village. Somehow – a stray cigarette, perhaps – a spark hit it, and a huge fireball whooshed up to incinerate over 700 people.

Three years later, the journalist Greg Campbell went back to see some of the victims. They had received no medical treatment. Christiana Akpode, a 24-year-old mother, could barely walk; her legs were forced into a permanent kneel. Campbell explained: "Her legs are hard to look at: from the shin to the knee, her legs are little more than red and purple scabs bleeding white pus. She scratches this section incessantly. Her days are spent warding away flies from the open wounds." As the journalist left, she pleaded: "You should kill me.""


"An old woman from the Delta tries, in the new American documentary Sweet Crude, to talk directly to you. She says: "I'd like people all over the world to realise there's a segment of humanity suffering as a result of oil production – ordinary men, women, children. They should think about them and not think simply of energy. Think of us as people. That's more important than anything.""

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