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13562 vs Shell

Stories and News No. 1303

An imaginary, albeit plausible, excerpt from the desirable trial against the oil multinational Shell in the High Court in London:

Yes, Your Honor, we are from Nigeria.
Everyone, that's right.
How many are we? At a guess about 14,000.
Exactly? Look, sir, today we are exactly 13562.
Yes, I know, we are many, that is true, but we could have been many more, to be honest, and this is an essential part of the problem. That is, the crime.
What do I mean? I'll get there, Your Honor, give me a moment, I won't take up too much of your time. To be honest, I won't steal anything from you, we're not the criminals and in this diatribe, I can speak for everyone else, present or not.
What crime, Your Honor?
Well, this is a complex aspect, because we could dedicate much more than a single trial to it, but I will try to simplify it, since it is already an unexpected success to have come this far.
The law is the same for everyone, you say? If it were, Your Honor, we would not have had to once again cross the seas and atrocities that divide us to be heard.
Yes, of course, I'll get to the point.
You see, it all started more or less 80 years ago, 86 to be precise. It was 1937 when the British of Shell D'Arcy, as it was called then, began drilling and excavating our lands. I like to emphasize “our”, because it seems that this possessive adjective only matters when we are the ones who make the reverse journey.
In any case, after the usual promises by a white colonialist about the numerous advantages for the local populations of this umpteenth unpunished invasion, it took almost twenty years for oil to finally enter the scene.
Let's say that it often behaves a bit like the Godot of the well-known comedy, moreover the work of a compatriot of the defendants, and over time we convinced ourselves that it would have been wonderful if our story had ended in the same way. Instead in our case the long-awaited guest has arrived and so our misfortunes began from there.
Yes, Your Honor, you got it right: having oil under your feet doesn't necessarily mean it's a blessing, especially if you're African. But let's get to our accusation in detail.
We inhabitants of the Niger Delta, in particular the communities of Ogale and Bille, hold the gentlemen of Shell responsible for having devastated the environment in which we were born and raised, literally killing the water and what lives in it, which is nourishment for our families and especially our children.
The evidence, Your Honor? The evidence is here, now.
We are the evidence.
The evidence is the eleven thousand babies who die prematurely each year.
The trials are the signs of hunger and hardship of thousands of people deprived of the means to survive.
And if all that weren't enough, the evidence is in the pockets, bank accounts and bellies of the destroyers of our future, who grossed at least $30 billion in the first nine months of last year alone.
What do we ask, Your Honor?
Easy to answer, you may call it restitution, reparation or simply justice, because it is what has rightfully belonged to us for centuries and as long as we have life in the body we will come back incessantly to obtain it.

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