Don't Let Shell Kill Again


"Don't Let Shell Kill Again"

Producer's NotesDon't Let Shell Kill Again - The Death of Ken Saro-Wiwa
This public policy video Don't Let Shell Kill Again was edited from two films to support the City of Berkeley’s boycott of companies doing business with Shell Oil Company because of the multinational corporation's impact on Nigeria and for the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa with eight other environmental activists.

This video presentation was first viewed as part of the City Council agenda at the City of Berkeley's Regular Council meeting in July of 1997 as well as several public showings in our Berkeley community.
Special thanks to Carol Denney (voiceover), East Bay Media Center (editing facilities) and to Project Underground
Produced by Berkeley Citizen, Carolyn Erbele & L A Wood
Copyright 1997
All Labors donated
Berkeley Citizen

Ken Saro-Wiwa

On May 14, 1997 the Berkeley's Project Underground group staged a street action at the corner of Ashby Avenue and San Pablo
...the site of one of Berkeley’s Shell gas stations. The early morning action was designed reach commuters on their way to work about the devastating impacts the oil company has had on Nigeria and why they should boycott Shell Oil.

Shell Gas Station, corner of Ashby Avenue
and San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley CA

Community Cable BTV 25 brodcast schedule
of the video "Don't Let Shell Kill Again"

"Don't Let Shell Kill Again" Berkeley: City Council Video Presentation (Script)

Much of the footage you are about to see was smuggled out of Nigeria at great personal risk. This video is edited for length from two fine films made by Catma Films, called Delta Force and In Remembrance: Ken Saro-Wiwa

ken Saro-wiwaNarrator
In Nigeria, 250 ethnic groups are dominated by just three: the Arriba, the Ebu, and the Howzer who control the army. Since independence from Britain, a succession of Nigerian dictators have been sustained by oil, 50% of which is produced by Shell.This oil accounts for 14% ofShell’s global profits, and provides the military regime with eleven million dollars a day in oil revenue. However, most of the people are living in poverty.

Ken Saro-Wiwa
Great Ogoni, land of honor. Great Ogoni, land of wealth…even when I was young, I could see that nothing was coming to the Ogoni people from oil, and I started writing about it almost immediately even though I was only a high school student at the time. What you see behind us is something that the Ogoni people have had to live with all their lives. This spill has been going on for the last 6 weeks.

Osaro-O (farmer)
This is my entire farm. I have nowhere else I can grow food. The problem of spillage is common here in Tai, Gokana and Khana. This is how Shell has treated everyone here. In a fifteen-year period, official figures: an average of 4 oil spills per week on the delta.

Ken Saro-Wiwa
What we are walking on is crude oil, not soil. This land is lost forever. For the next 1000 years, nothing will be able to grow here.

Martha Naakuu, Kogbara Doro Village
Shell has taken away our village We have nothing in the farms anymore and they don’t pay us. All our yams are gone, we are hungry. Whatever we plant does not yield.

In Ogoni we have a leadership in the person of Ken Saro-Wiwa who motivated the people with organizations like MOSOP, that was the first of its kind in that part of the world. Grassroots democracy trying to mobilize all segments of the people.

In early 1993, the movement became fully mobilized with 300,000 people taking part in peaceful marches in all six kingdoms.

(Villagers singing)
Who will deliver us from trouble? Ken and MOSOP will deliver us from trouble.We give you (Ken Saro-Wiwa) this broom to sweep away Shell and every obstacle in your path.

Ken Saro-Wiwa
The United Nations recognizes the rights of all the world’s indigenous people. Indigenouspeople have been cheated too long, and so we are gathered here today. (crowd roars, drums)

Crowd and Ken Saro-Wiwa
No to Shell! No to Shell! No to Shell!

Ken Saro-Wiwa
(crowd cheering) We are going to demand our rights, peacefully, non-violently, and we shall win!

For the first time, peaceful protest forced Shell out of the area. A tiny ethnic group had defied the largest army in Africa and one of the biggest companies in the world. Widespread rioting broke out across Nigeria during the summer of 1993 when a promise of a return to civilian rule was broken by the dictator, Babangita. He announced a crackdown on all pro-democracy activists, including the Ogonis. Ogoni was surrounded, villages were blocked in by military checkpoints and attacked. Over 800 people were slaughtered.

We shall win. (cheers)

Danu Mark, Kaa Village
Everything was destroyed. My home was burned to the ground. The Ogoni had no quarrel with the Andoni. This was all planned by the government.

In the autumn of 1993, there were further brutal attacks on ten Ogoni villages which resulted in the deaths of 750 people, and left 30,000 homeless.

Major Okuntimo
The machine gun with 500 rounds will open up. When four or five open up and we're throwing a grenade into the bush and it goes boom, what do they see? They know I’m around! And what will the people do?

Ken Saro-Wiwa
I do not know anymore how many Ogoni will be left behind by the time the ecological war of Shell and the military obscenities are over, but even if there is but one Ogoni man or woman left, I have a message for him or her. You are Ogoni. Be aware of the need to protect our first right: the Ogoni environment.

The time had come to silence this eloquent and outspoken critic. Exactly three weeks later, Abacha’s henchmen seized Saro-Wiwa. Four prominent Ogoni chiefs had been murdered in an alleged mob riot and burned to death in this car. One victim was a relative of Saro-Wiwa. The military accused Saro-Wiwa of inciting the attack even though security agents had prevented him from entering Ogoniland earlier that day. Ken Saro-Wiwa and fourteen colleagues were held without charge for nine months in a military camp under appalling conditions. Even so, he managed to smuggle out a speech for Ogoni Day which was celebrated against all odds.

Ken Saro-Wiwa’s speech read:
My brothers and sisters, my beloved children, dance, dance. Dance this 4th of January, 1995 as we inaugurate the United Nations' Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. Dance your anger and your joys. Dance the military guns to silence. Dance their dumb laws to the dump. Dance oppression and injustice. Dance the end of Shell’s ecological war of 30 years. (Crowd cheers.) Dance my people, for we have seen tomorrow and there is an Ogoni star in the sky. (Crowd roars!)

The trial finally began in February of 1995.

Michael Birnbaum, QC, (Observer for the British Bar Assoc.)
What the Nigerian government did, quite cynically in my view, was to take this trial away from the ordinary Nigerian courts and put it in front of a so-called civil disturbances tribunal consisting of two judges and a military officer. Those three people were personally appointed by the dictator of Nigeria, Abacha.

As a lawyer, Mitee attempted to defend himself, but was continually blocked by the tribunal.

Those are opportunities for explanation, so I feel that…

Tribunal member
At this stage of the proceeding you cannot do so. (Mitee sits down)

A number of the main witnesses for the prosecution have admitted to being bribed to discredit Saro-Wiwa.

Charles Charles Danwi (February 14, 1995)
I was promised a house anywhere in the country, a contract from Shell and OMOADEC, and money to buy musical instruments.

Michael Birnbaum
Ken’s stance in relation to the tribunal was that it was a farce, it was all a fix, so he is not going to give evidence. Ken wanted to put in before the tribunal a long forty page statement of denial of his guilt. The tribunal said, “ We’re not going to look at that if you’re not giving evidence.”
Despite Shell’s efforts, during the summer protests intensified. It was at this time that the head of Shell Nigeria, Ben Anderson, held private meetings with Owens Wiwa in Lagos.

Owens Wiwa
And I asked him again about my brother and the other detainees for their freedom. He said that he needed some goodwill from the Ogoni people, from MOSOP, for that to happen. So I asked him, “ What was the goodwill?” He said I should write a press release on the MOSOP letterhead, get it published in a Nigerian newspaper, and give him the original. And the press release should say that’s there no environmental devastation in Ogoniland. Secondly, he asked that we call off the international campaign that was going on.

Dr. Wiwa says he passed on this offer to Ken Saro-Wiwa who wrote back that it was time for Shell to show goodwill rather than the Ogoni. Before judgement was passed, in his last public statement, Ken made a final appeal for the people of the Niger Delta.

Ken Saro-Wiwa
There’s no possibility whatsoever that I or MOSOP would ever have planned any such action. And I will now forever vow it, no matter what any forum decides upon. I appeal to you, my lord, for only one thing. The Ogoni people have suffered tremendously in this country. They have made tremendous contributions to this country. The Niger itself is in serous trouble. We need every assistance we can get.

On the 31st of October, the Ogoni Nine were found guilty and sentenced to death. Despite worldwide appeals for clemency, on November the 10th, 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogonis were taken to Port Harcourt Prison and hanged by the neck. (Condemned shown getting into prison bus.) Governments around the world discussed sanctions against Nigeria, but five days after the hangings, Shell announced their commitment to their liquefied natural gas project, the largest development in Africa. The project has gone ahead, and it is intended that the pipeline will pass through Ogoni. Known as the Ogoni Nineteen, a further group of young men has also been charged with the 1994 murders.

Ken Wiwa, son of Ken Saro-Wiwa (Ogoni Day, UK at Shell Center)
I urge all of you here to keep the pressure on Shell to accept the responsibility for what has happened to Ogoni and what is still happening. (singing of protesters with signs: SHELL IS GUILTY)

The thing that always gladdens one’s heart is the spirit, the irrepressible spirit of the Ogoni people to continue to believe in this struggle in spite of all odds. And that is the thing that drives all of us on

Ken Saro-Wiwa
(1941-1995) speech (rolling credits with singing about Ogoni and Ken Saro-Wiwa)

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