When I read the article on Shell last week I didn’t think I had a strong commitment to one side. I realized that the article was a little bias and because of that I took everything it said with a grain of salt. But once we began class discussion I found myself consistently taking Shell’s side. I couldn’t shake the feeling that Saro Wiwa had pulled Shell into the middle of a political nightmare between the government and Ogoni people. I understood that Shell was involved in the oil business and because of this there was an element of overlap with the Nigerian government, but I had never gotten the impression that their relationship with the government was anything more than the absolute minimum. In class I had argued that Shell did not involve themselves in the politics (and according to the case this was true).
Because of this I set out on a mission this week to defend Shell and its devotion to its business practices. When I stumbled upon this blog in my research, I began to see my devotion to Shell crumble. http://2012indyinfo.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/shell-oil-paid-nigerian-military-to-put-down-protests-court-documents-show-world-news-the-guardian/ (author Laura Tyco).
Recent developments in the form of court documentation now reveal that in the 1990s Shell routinely worked with the Nigerian government and mobile police to suppress resistance to oil activity. They paid the military to stop peaceful protests and helped plan raids on villages suspected of participating in such activity. After reading this my heart sank. Evidence like this proves that Shell’s involvement with the Nigerian government was not just business. They willingly choose to involve themselves politically, and because of this I believe they should have taken a much more active role in the trials (which resulted in the execution of Saro Wiwa and others). Their decision to remain passive, in my opinion, can mean one of two things.
- That they agreed with the verdict to execute Saro Wiwa and other protestors.
- That they were too cowardly to take a position publicly against the verdict because it was not worth the risk.
Honestly, I am not sure which one is worse.