sexta-feira, fevereiro 24, 2006

'Mere' Tribalism in Nigeria

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Sunday March 26, 2006

Click to EnlargeClick to EnlargeThinking of Ken Saro-Wiwa tonight. The Biafran war, Shell Oil; this is a very old story. On one of his memorials is written,
"dance your anger and your joys. dance the guns to silence. dance, dance dance ..."

Click to EnlargeThe 'Ogoni Nine' were: Baribor Bera, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbokoo, Barinem Kiobel, John Kpuinen, Paul Levura, Felix Nuate, Ken Saro-Wiwa; hung on Friday, November 10, 1995.

Wife Maria, children Ken, Gian, Zina, Noo, Tedum; Hauwa Maidugu, son Kwame.

Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
It’s just an old war,
It's not a cold war,
Don’t say it in russian,
Don’t say it in german.
Say it in broken english.

Wednesday March 22, 2006

Now they are fighting over the census - census takers being hacked to death because some of the crowd who wanted Biafran independence don't want a head count for some reason.

Saturday March 18, 2006

Gen Collins Remmy Umunnakwe Ihekire, AU Darfur commander: "If someone hasn't got wings and you say he has failed to fly - I don't think you can call that failure."

Click to EnlargeThe new African Union force commander in Darfur, Collins Ihekire from Nigeria, inspects his troops in el-Geneina town, Sudan's West Darfur state March 16, 2006. A 7,000-strong AU force is deployed in Sudan's violent west trying to monitor a widely ignored ceasefire between mostly non-Arab rebels and government forces. Picture taken March 16, 2006 by Opheera McDoom.

Monday March 6, 2006

Oil goes above $62 a barrel, or 16 percent higher than a year ago, most recently on the fear of supply interruption in Nigeria. The best thing that could happen is for oil to go straight to $100 and then edge up from there - then we would see about America's 'addiction', cold turkey! If it goes up gradually they will have time to build nuclear plants. There is enough sunlight falling on the planet to power it all and then some, and enough heat left in the old girl for simple geo-thermal extraction with heat-pumps. Save the oil for lubrication. Yeah, yeah, too simple - true though.

There was a joke here in Newfoundland in the late 60s - "It's true 'dough." ('It's true though.' being a pun on 'It's Trudeau.') I remember my two friends Pius & Pius Jr. waiting for just the right moment to say it - and I laughed every time.

These women are drying tapioca using the heat of a gas burn-off from Shell's Utorogu flow station in Otu Jerenmi in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta. Talk about hardship - she doesn't look happy about it either. It has to just about burn the skin off you being that close to such flames. Meanwhile, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, urges Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in Abuja to give up Charles Taylor; and the militants are threatening shooting this time instead of kidnapping.

Thursday March 2, 2006

Speaking of spirals, here's a beauty, the Spiral Galaxy Messier 101. The name comes from Charles Messier , a French astronomer. It is far far away, and bright! The numbers are beyond anything that can be known; M101 is 190,000 light years across, 23 million light years away, and shines with the luminosity of 33 billion suns ... boggles the mind.

Brings things full-circle too; so to speak ... spirals, circles, Ezekiel saying, "as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.", Pynchon's Vheissu. Seeing those rosy threads takes me straight to visions of transparent skin; ai ai, it's all the same.

These 'Nigerian militants' are identified as being Ijaw, one of the tribes of the Niger delta - being towards the south-east of Nigeria. You can check it out at Wikipedia but you have to go beyond Wikipedia to discover that they had first-contact with the whites and were consequently hugely successful as slave-traders (apparently, what do I know for sure from this silly Internet?); the slaves being Yoruba and other tribes from the south-west. This actually has a personal connection for me because I learned about Iemanjá and the other Yoruba Orixas from a girl in Rio, who was, I guess, possibly descended from slaves traded by the Ijaw. Not that simple naturally - reading a little farther down I see that the Yoruba themselves got into the slave trade later on and sold their own.

(No more OED for me, have to go to the free one these days,; now I can spell farther just about however I want.)

Google does not (of course) work. They had a good idea and then got distracted by the fact that implementing a quarter of it would make them billionaires. And also discovered the joys of manipulation ("Co-operation iss goot, but control is bettah!"). So as things go it is sorta the best of a bad lot, but the business of finding anything out, of following a story, of restricting a search, say, to the last few days - all of this is obfuscated. I suppose there must be pay-per-view sites where those in-the-know can get their information more easily.

They tell me that this gent, Macon Hawkins, is from "Kosciusko Texas" - but Google Maps, which is another incomplete and thus useless piece of software, is usually half-decent at least for the U.S., and shows me Kosciusko in Mississippi not Texas.

Ahh, there are two of them, one in Texas and one in Mississippi. OK - I have still not been able to get it up in Google Maps. Well, there is more to the story, does not bring up Kosciusko at all, nor Attala, the Mississippi County. Anything with a .ca at the end does so seem to be a black hole; but escaping to, and there is Kosciusko, in Mississippi where it should be. A-And there is another one in Texas - Google Maps didn't show me, being focussed on showing me commercial listings, but Google did ... got there, must be a problem with the Server eh? WHEW!!!!

Manilla: Nigerian rebels release Pinoy and 5 other hostages
Yahoo: Nigerian rebels release six of nine foreign hostages
Delta State Governor James Ibori welcomed the released captives - Macon Hawkins of the United States, Egypt's Bardese Mohammed and Aly Shady, Tony Santos of the Philippines and Thailand's Muado Somsak and Arak Suwana - to his lodge in the city of Warri.

Friday February 24, 2006

Trudeau called it 'mere' tribalism. This is not 'mere'. This is looking like another Rwanda but with Christians and Muslims instead of Hutus and Tutsis; a little closer to the bone as it were ...

Trying to find Onitsha and Jos on a map ... Onitsa (not on the map) is just west of Asaba, Jos is about in the centre (marked with red dots). The names of the eastern provinces are Ogun, Osun, Edo ... some of the names of Yoruba Orixas I learned about in Brasil.

The Moslems (Muslims?) and the Christians are fighting over the infamous Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed. I was wondering this morning how anyone calling themself a Christian could go into the street in a rage and kill people, pour gas on them, and burn their body. I have heard a few Moslems saying the same about their co-religionists burning flags and embassies and so forth around the world. Now I think I know how that one feels..

Then I read a very interesting and forthright editorial from the Daily Nation newspaper in Kenya by Lucy Oriang' on tribalism: Nation: When did you last eat your tribe?; and things began to get a little less murky.

The first news piece I read on the subject included the phrase, "These things belong to Igbos", which gave me a clue that the strife was more tribal than religious. NYT: Nigeria Counts 100 Deaths Over Danish Caricatures.

In a not-quite-related story which I did not have time to post, they caught the ringleader: AFP: Killer of Parisian Jew arrested in Ivory Coast
Paris - A gang leader who confessed to the kidnap, torture and murder of a 23 year old French Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, was to be flown back from Abidjan to Paris yesterday. Youssouf Fofana, 25, was arrested overnight in Ivory Coast.

Violence in Jos: BBC: Scores die in Nigeria clashes
CSIS briefing; rigged census, Canada's oil interests, bank scams, etc.: CSIS: 1996 Background Paper, Nigeria: Prospects for Stability

Email from a colleague:

NIGERIA: I don't know if you've been getting news coverage about what happened here at Sea Eagle and on the beach at Shell / Agip oil installations and other places.
Anyway I arrived back onboard on Tuesday 10th Jan and was evacuated at 10.45pm on Weds 11th and sat in Costa del Warri for 13 days until Shell had 2 Navy gunboats in place, deeming it was "safe" to return.

The militia that attacked here was a far cry from your community mob. very well trained and heavily armed. We had 4 guys on the wellhead platform, who escaped capture by seconds. 3 militia boats containing 10 guys each, gave chase, but luckily the transfer boat is no slouch either and outran them to go deepwater. Now after this 1 boat circled Sea Eagle( we were all mustered in the galley) and unbeknown to us at the time fired an RPG thro the Stbd Hull, which also penetrated the cargo/ballast tanks! 20mm thick hull, then a fair distance and then went thro 15mm thick cargo tank bulkhead at the other side.

Ferkin lucky or whit!! Finally the 3 boats went after the security vessel, shot to pieces the bridge, control room and also punctured it several times below the water line. The militia stated that they knew there were 4 white guys onboard and that was what they wanted. This happened and they f***ed off.

During all of this our black OIM, kept stating that all was ok and everything was under control. Shockaroonie!!!!

Other things the militia done after this: Bear in mind Shell were stipulating that these terrorists would now go into hiding and bargain for the hostage release. WRONG or Whit!!! Next day.... militia attack Shell flowstation, blow it apart, set fire to all workers accomodation, shoot dead 18 people including civilians.

After this they attack Agip complex dressed as soldiers: shoot dead 11 people...rob 2 banks, torch the place and GTF. Just heard they done the Daewoo complex yesterday and robbed the bank.

They have now stated that they will not be releasing the hostages in the forseeable future as they still demand the release of 2 governers from jail and will begin attacks on oil installations on Feb 1st/2nd. Guess what installation is trying to start-up at this very minute??? Ye've got it!!

Shell and the goverment are not taking the threats too seriously they say and the release of the hostages is imminent. Sorry but I'm afraid that all prefer to believe the militia, as Shell have been very wrong up till now and I don't see the trend changing. At the end of the day, Shell are saying anything to get SE back in production. When that militia mob see that flare lit, it might just annoy them a wee bit!

That's enough o that for now!

A photo handed over by a militant group from southern Nigeria's Niger Delta shows four earlier kidnapped oil workers, on January 27. Guerrilla fighters launched multiple attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta, kidnapping nine foreign workers and setting fire to the loading platform at a major export terminal(AFP/The Punch/File)

58-year-old Macon Hawkins from Kosciusko Texas, held hostage and surrounded by militants, speaks to journalists in the Niger Delta area Friday, Feb. 24, 2006. Armed militants holding nine foreign oil workers hostage in Nigeria showed one of them to reporters for the first time Friday, a 68-year-old American who said he and his colleagues were being treated well. Three Americans, two Egyptians, two Thais, one Briton and one Filipino have been missing since they were kidnapped Feb. 18 by militants who stormed a barge belonging to a U.S. oil company in the Niger Delta's Forcados estuary. The kidnappers are demanding that people in the country's south receive a greater share of their region's oil wealth. (AP Photo/George Osodi)

M&G: Four Shell oil workers taken hostage in Nigeria

Posted fevereiro 27, 2006 6:03 AM by Anonymous blogsurfer /  

Hi there!
Kudos for this blog. It seems very interesting, well researched and touches on themes of great importance.

One suggestion though: I reached this blog by mere coincidence (I'm a blogsurfer, afterall) and could just as easily have missed it. To avoid that, you should register your blog on blog search engines, like technorati.

Keep on the good work. Did you take the Nigeria photos? They are impresive! Is this going to stop some day?

Posted março 01, 2006 6:23 PM by Blogger Tomas Dennis /  

is a link to another type of spiral that is in the news.