ED KASHI
ArchiveCategory
April 15, 2009

A first hand account relating to images from Curse, provides a unique insight into the lives of innocent Nigerian civilians.

Mayowa: “…images [left] that I felt [were] very powerful, and really brought the message home of the lack of human rights within the Niger Delta…depicts a malicious military attack on Aker camp. …The expression of the woman viewing pictures of her bar that was destroyed is priceless. She has a look of despair in her eyes, as she reminisces about what everything that she worked for and the ruins in her surroundings add to the discouraging scene. This bar was a very popular meeting spot for MEND meetings, in fact the Grand Commander and I had a meeting a couple weeks before the attack happened.”

Mayowa again provides a personal story: “…one of the photos [right] that I can relate to most in this book because of the degree of burns and injuries that this man underwent. I have seen many of my men die in my arms and experience injuries and violence of the same level as Patrick. This picture represents the struggle that the civillians in the Niger Delta experience. It was all due to a military attack while he was resting inside the ‘comfort’ of his own home. It is sad that the turmoil in the Niger Delta has robbed people of their homes, families, and even their lives. This is the reason that MEND must fight, to defend the simple rights of its people.”

The picture [left]”…of the MEND soldier being buried, hits close to home again because I knew that man. He was a valiant soldier whose sole commitment was to fulfill all of his duties of being in MEND. He risked his life for the people in the Delta. I feel that there was a reason that you used this picture as the last one of the book and I think it ultimately symbolizes the injustice, suffering, and struggle that we are going through here in the Delta. …’The Delta people must be allowed to join in the lucrative sale of crude oil… only in this way can the cataclysm that is building up in the Delta be avoided. Is anyone listening?’ It prompts me to wonder; will this struggle never end?”

Mayowa, thank you for sharing so much of your personal trials and tribulations!

The notations made for this post can not possibly communicate Mayowa’s experiences and thoughts completely. Please read the complete essay by clicking below.


Name: Mayowa Ogundipe
Section leader: Tara Diener
Date: 04-07-09

Jomo Gbomo’s final email

Hi Ed, I just finished reading the final product of Curse of The Black Gold . I was very intrigued by the photographs that you used to represent the struggles within the Niger Delta. The depictions of what MEND has gone through and sacrifice to achieve the emancipation of the Niger Delta were also very interesting. I also liked the idea of using the pictures in conjunction with different passages to properly describe and illustrate the troubles that we have gone through in the Niger Delta. I hope you dont mind, but I was interested in giving you some quick feedback of a couple of my favorite parts of the book. This will probably be the final email you receive from me.

One of the images that I felt was very powerful, and really brought the message home of the lack of human rights within the Niger Delta, was the spread on pages 200-201, w hich depicts a malicious military attack on Aker camp. Aker Camp was one of the slums in Port Harcourt where innocent civilians were attacked in the Niger Delta. The expression of the woman viewing pictures of her bar that was destroyed is priceless. She has a look of despair in her eyes, as she reminisces about what everything that she worked for and the ruins in her surroundings add to the discouraging scene. This bar was a very popular meeting spot for MEND meetings, in fact the Grand Commander and I had a meeting a couple weeks before the attack happened.

On page 206-207 A man named Patrick Oghogho, is photographed with several burns and cuts on his body. This page is indeed one of the photos that I can relate to most in this book because of the degree of burns and injuries that this man underwent. I have seen many of my men die in my arms and experience injuries and violence of the same level as Patrick. This picture represents the struggle that the civillians in the Niger Delta experience. It wass all due to a military attack while he was resting inside the “comfort” of his own home. It is sad that the turmoil in the Niger Delta has robbed people of their homes, families, and even their lives. This is the reason that MEND must fight, to defend the simple rights of its people.

I was very interested to read the interview with our MEND Grand Commander Tompolo addressing MEND’s attacks on the Oil facilities. In my opinion, General Tompolo represents our views very well and handles O’Neill’s questions with poise. O’Neill questions the attacks that we have made and General Tompolo responds by saying “ we want a public apology (for the ambush killings) but they have not done it… Why are the bodies (of the ambush victims) not released in a public way for burial?” (p. 197) It is obvious that your pictures of the victims of the militant victims are harsh depictions of life in the Niger Delta, but in order for MEND’s goal to be fulfilled we need more alliances like your’s to depict to the world the hardships that the citizens in the Niger Delta go through.

This battle that MEND is fighting is not intended to harm people, we are simply looking for emancipation of the Delta. Towards the end of Nero’s Folly it says; “What is clear is that there is no military solution to the crisis in the Delta.” (p. 191) I disagree with this quote obviously because we in MEND use forceful military tactics to halt the problems in the Delta. On page 210 – 211 the spread It shows young MEND militants brandishing their weapons and also references that MEND’s forceful military tactics have led to 25% of Nigeria’s oil output being deferred. This is evidence that the tactics that we have been using have been efficient and we need to continue to fight against the oil companies and government.

Th
e picture on page 217 of the MEND soldier being buried, hits close to home again because I knew that man. He was a valiant soldier whose sole commitment was to fulfill all of his duties of being in MEND. He risked his life for the people in the Delta. I feel that there was a reason that you used this picture as the last one of the book and I think it ultimately symbolizes the injustice, suffering, and struggle that we are going through here in the Delta. I think that the placement of the quote fits very well on the page. “The Delta people must be allowed to join in the lucrative sale of crude oil… only in this way can the cataclysm that is building up in the Delta be avoided. Is anyone listening?” (p. 217) It prompts me to wonder; will this struggle never end?

Ed I really feel that this book did an excellent job of bringing our situation in the Niger Delta to life. Your use of graphic images and different passages to give background to the images was an excellent idea. The only thing that I regret is that a photo of my own was not displayed in your book. One final note; I just want to point one thing out to you “ I never met Jomo Gbomo. At least, I don’t think so” (p. 25). We have met face to face, but that specific date and time shall forever be my secret and will be taken to my grave.

The opinions expressed in this paper are not actual thoughts of MEND leader Jobo, but interpretations of what I would have believed Jomo’s interpretation and opinions towards this book would be.

Categories: Educational, Shout Outs

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