Oil and Chaos, as per usual

Hubert Saurier, the director of the brilliant documentary Darwin’s Nightmare, put it like this:

It is, for example, incredible that wherever prime raw material is discovered, the locals die in misery, their sons become soldiers, and their daughters are turned into servants and whores. Hearing and seeing the same stories over and over makes me feel sick. After hundreds of years of slavery and colonisation of Africa, globalisation of african markets is the third and deadliest humiliation for the people of this continent. The arrogance of rich countries towards the third world (that’s three quarters of humanity) is creating immeasurable future dangers for all peoples.

Take for example the explosion several hours ago of an oil pipeline in Nigeria. These tubes of steel carrying go-juice run through countless miles of slums, and the locals cut into the pipes to steal petroleum and kerosene. This of course causes the pipes to explode, killing scores of the same desperate individuals. One doesn’t need a guerrilla army to disrupt oil production, just the millions who become impoverished by the production of the oil itself.

Does this story sound familiar? That’s because the same thing happened, in the same country, just over a year ago. Micheal Watts has a good article about that explosion, caused by “the venality, waste and corruption of a Nigerian petro-capitalism fuelled by windfall profits and modernity’s addiction to the automobile.” I think his piece is still just as relevant today.


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