At the Doorstep of Royal Dutch Shell Headquarters in Dublin on Nov 10th
Shell to Sea Activists and AFRI commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the deaths of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni Nine outside “Corrib House:” Shell’s Irish Headquarters in Dublin. The activists carried crosses bearing the names of each of the men executed by the corrupt Nigerian Government on 10 November 1995. Many sources believe that these executions were done at the behest of Shell. Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people, had been actively leading successful civil society actions and demonstrations thwarting Shell’s development of oil on the land of these indigenous farmers and fishermen. Even though it hasn’t been explicitly proven that Shell ordered the killing… they did benefit from the outcome and later paid reparations to the families. (In 2009 Shell settled out of court to the tune of 15.5 million dollars to the families of the victims to avoid going to court in the USA.)
Among those bearing witness were Shell to Sea Activists Maura Harrington, Naoise O’Mongain and Terence Conway. Participating also were Independent TD’s Clare Daly & Mick Wallace. This action in front of Shell was done to show explicit parallels of behavior by Shell in Nigeria and their actions to invade occupy and take over Erris, the western most portion of Mayo. Over the last 15 years Shell schemed and bribed, bullied, and coerced Ireland not only into giving up Sovereign right to the oil offshore but to bring it ashore recklessly right through the middle of the communities of Erris and the environmentally significant Broadhaven Bay.
The world’s fossil fuel industry is ruthless and unrelenting in their actions. They are also very adept at obscuring responsibility behind a veil of supposedly independent subsidiaries, partnerships, shared ventures, & subcontractors that shape-shift and change their names and logos to cover their tracks or pretend to be independent & objective evaluators so that history and responsibility is twisted and obscured while they get the profit and hide from social responsibility. Shell says that the gas will flow soon in Mayo… Elsewhere in the world, Shell and the entire fossil fuel industry is in retreat as civil society begins to force corporations and governments to take responsibility for global warming and humanity’s addiction to fossil fuel.
Many believe that here at the start of the Anthropocene age, small countries like Ireland should assume Sovereign Responsibility for their off-shore and underground fossil fuel resources and keep them underground… As it is now, Shell will not pay taxes nor royalty to the Irish people for years to come… if ever! So the Irish people have nothing to lose but their supposed debt to Shell’s immoral and irresponsible continued fossil fuel exploration and extraction.
Ken Saro-Wiwa warned us about Shell and the unendingwork of activists 2 decades ago in this poem:
Keep Out of Prison
‘Keep out of prison,’ he wrote
‘Don’t get arrested anymore’
But while the land is ravaged
And our pure air poisoned
When streams choke with pollution
Silence would be treason
Punishable by a term in Prison.
Praise & honor to unceasing efforts of Maura Harrington, Naoise O’Mongain, Terence Conway and all the Shell to Sea Activists and their allies for bearing witness to this truth and carrying the burden seemingly forever against the latest foreign invasion of Hibernia! It is still not too late to cast out these new invaders!