Environment / Injustice / Poetry / Thirdworld / World speaking out

The poet killed by Shell

Ken Saro-Wiwa  was an activist, writer, and member of the Ogoni people, whose homeland in the Niger Delta has been used for crude oil extraction since the 1950s. The land has suffered extreme environmental damagefrom decades of petroleum waste dumping and leaks and spills, and the people have been tortured, abused, and murdered.

Saro-Wiwa was tried by a military tribunal for allegedly masterminding the murder of Ogoni chiefs, and was hanged in 1995 under the military dictatorship of Sani Abacha. At least two witnesses however who testified that Saro Wiwa was involved in the murders later recanted, stating they had been bribed with money and job offers with Shell, in the presence of Shell’s lawyer.

Saro-Wiwa wrote:

True Prison:

It is not the leaking roof
Nor the singing mosquitoes
In the damp, wretched cell
It is not the clank of the key
As the warden locks you in
It is not the measly rations
Unfit for beast or man
Nor yet the emptiness of day
Dipping into the blankness of night
It is not
It is not
It is not

It is the lies that have been drummed
Into your ears for a generation
It is the security agent running amok
Executing callous calamitous orders
In exchange for a wretched meal a day
The magistrate writing into her book
A punishment she knows is undeserved
The moral decrepitude
The mental ineptitude
The meat of dictators
Cowardice masking as obedience
Lurking in our denigrated souls
It is fear damping trousers
That we dare not wash
It is this
It is this
It is this
Dear friend, turns our free world
Into a dreary prison

ken

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