1900-1919 | 1970-1979 | Environmental devastation | Nigeria | Racism

19 JULY

BLACK SOLDIERS EXCLUDED FROM THE VICTORY CELEBRATIONS

Public domain via Wikimedia.

[ 19 July 1919 ]

On 19 July 1919,  a vast military parade was held in London to celebrate the Allied victory in the First World War. Streets were festooned with flags and bunting and military bands accompanied the march, which included a large number of troops who had been shipped across the world to attend the event from Australia, Canada, India and South Africa. However, no soldiers from the British West Indies or from other black units were allowed to join them. A Colonial Office mandarin explained that it would be ‘impolitic to bring coloured detachments to participate in the peace processions.’1

BRITISH LINKED TO ASSASSINATION OF BURMESE NATIONALIST AUNG SAN

[ 19 July 1947 ]

Today in 1947, Bogyoke Aung San,  ‘the father of modern day Myanmar’ and a committed parliamentary socialist, was shot dead by paramilitaries under orders of Burma’s former prime minister, U Saw, who had recently received weapons supplied by British army officers.

OIL BLOW-OUT POISONS NIGERIAN FARMLAND

A London vigil protesting Shell’s responsibility for pollution in Ogoniland – Platform London via Wikimedia.

[ 19 July 1970 ]

On 19 July 1970, a massive blow-out of an oil well, owned by the Anglo-Dutch multinational Shell in Ogoniland in South Eastern Nigeria, devastated farmland for many miles around, poisoning the water supply.  One eyewitness described an ‘ocean of crude oil… moving swiftly like a flood, successfully swallowing up anything that comes in its way.’ Those farmers who were able to return to their fields had to wade knee-deep through crude, while surrounding populations had to breath the toxic smoke which smothered much of Ogoniland. Little was done to clean up the land or compensate the local people and the oil was still contaminating the land twenty years later.2

FOOTNOTES

  1. Cited in David Olusoga, Black and British: A Forgotten History, Pan Books, London, 2017, pp. 446-447.
  2. Cited in Paul Kenyon, Dictatorland: The Men Who Stole Africa, Head of Zeus Ltd, London, 2018, pp. 226-227 and Cyril I Obi “Environmental Movements in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Political Ecology of Power and Conflict,” p. 8 accessed at https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/91580/15.pdf

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