Saturday, November 10, 2012

In Memory:  Ken Saro-Wiwa
Today is Saturday, 10 November 2012.
One of the last things I do every evening, or, failing that, one of the first every morning, is to consult, on the Wikipedia Main Page, “On this day…” 

I believe that one of the central things which distinguishes persons who choose to define themselves as objects (or allow themselves to be defined as objects, usually under the impact of seemingly-overwhelming power), and those who choose to define themselves as subjects (in the existential sense of acting, instead of merely being acted upon), is a continuously renewed sense of one’s place in the continuum of the history of humanity, the planet, and the universe.

On this date in 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa of Nigeria was assassinated by hanging, by the military dictatorship of General S. Abacha.  His crime:  playing a leadership role in nonviolently defending his Ogoni people against the environmental destruction occasioned by the international petroleum industry, particularly Royal Dutch Shell.  I recall keenly taking part in a subsequent protest, I believe at the Nigerian Mission to the United Nations.

When this murder was recalled to me last night, I suddenly felt incredibly old, as it seems so green in my memory. To remember and honour those such as Saro-Wiwa helps to preserve our own humanity.


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