Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights, and Oil

By Turner, Terisa E. | The International Journal of African Historical Studies, May 1, 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights, and Oil


Turner, Terisa E., The International Journal of African Historical Studies


Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights, and Oil. By Ike Okonta and Oronto Douglas. New York: Verso, 2003. Pp. xii, 267. $17.00 paper.

Just as I was writing this review, I received notice that the U.S. government has approved petroleum exploitation in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. This terrible mistake can better be understood as such by the story of community resistance in a powerful book that Shell for years tried to suppress.

Since its publication, Where Vultures Feast has stood as the number one, worldwide legal authority on Shell, ChevronTexaco, and other big oil companies' devastations in the Third World. Nigerian resistance is chronicled with the keen eyes of those on the frontlines, enriched by direct statements by those who suffered and fought back. For instance, we hear how ChevronTexaco transport equipment conveyed armed security officers who massacred villagers as they asserted their land rights. A whole chapter is devoted to rip-off s and corruption by government office holders, often with the complicity of the hangers-on, the shady and dodgy lowlife who populate the interstices of Imperial oil, hubris bolstered by the Bush II regime. Shell is the primary vulture in this co-authored, exciting, and fast read, a vulture that feeds on the exquisite lands and waters of a very special place and people: those of West Africa's Niger Delta. From the 1600s on, millions of African captives were exported from the Niger Delta to produce the metals and foods in the Americas that fueled Europe's industrial revolution. Machinery's thirst for lubrication drew forth the Niger Delta's sequel to labor power-palm oil, which by the late 1900s had surpassed people exports. This labor-intensive, renewable source of light before kerosene and lubrication before rock oil or petroleum was massively available gave way, in the 1950s, to the Niger Delta's "curse"-oil and gas exploitation by Shell.

Shell-BP was a creature, in some senses, of the British Colonial Office, or was it the other way around? By 1967 France and the USSR challenged Britain's imperial grip on the Delta by arming a breakaway Igbo faction of the military that was trying to create a sovereign Biafra encompassing the oil deposits. After a bloody three-year war in which a million people died, the British won; Nigeria remained a federation, and several oil majors joined Vulture Shell in a renewed feeding frenzy. This gathered steam with the quadrupling of oil prices in 1973 and their further doubling in 1979.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights, and Oil
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?