“I’ll tell you this, I may be dead but my ideas will not die.”
–Ken Saro-Wiwa 1995
Twelve years ago today, on November 10, 1995, after 17 months in custody, and a trial that was universally condemned as being a sham, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists were hanged in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Their only crime was their success in exposing the Shell Petroleum Company’s role in destroying their land, their society, and their people.
Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni are not forgotten. Today in London, Ireland, Nigeria, and around the world, thousands of people paused to recall their sacrifice. Ken’s final words on the gallows were “lord take my soul, but the struggle continues” – and it has.
I was privileged to know Saro-Wiwa, (we were introduced by Andy Rowell, who writes for this blog). The last time I saw Ken we had a conversation about the need for a US organization that would educate about and organize around Big Oil’s impacts. Oil Change is that organization.
Today, Shell is leading investment into Alberta’s tar sands, which threaten to tip our climate into complete chaos. Gas flaring continues today in the Niger Delta, although Shell and the government promise it will end soon.
Ken is truly a hero to all of us struggling against the fossil fuel industry. The justice that he sought is still elusive, but the clarity and purpose of his vision is now shared by millions. They can’t hang us all.
In Remembrance: Baribor Bera, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbokoo, Barinem Kiobel, John Kpuinen, Paul Levura, Felix Nuate and Ken Saro-Wiwa.
In Solidarity: With activists from Nigeria, to Alberta, to Appalachia and around the world struggling against the fossil fuel industry.