IT is exactly 60 years today November 18, 2009 when armed British colonial policemen opened fire on defenceless coal miners in the Iva Valley mine in Enugu. In those moments of collective colonial insanity, the colonialists within minutes murdered 21 Nigerian workers and injured 51.
The workers crime was that they dared to go on a strike which the colonial authorities interpreted as a political strike designed to pressurise them to quite the country and let Nigeria join other nations free from colonial misrule and exploitation.
Although theÂ Yarâ€™Adua government, like successive ones since independenceÂ will not mark this day, even with one word of appreciation for the struggles of many ordinary people who gave us independence, it is necessary that the Nigerian youth know that contrary to popular myth, our country did not attain independence on a platter of gold. Like other countries under colonial rule, our forebears fought for independence with many losing their livelihood, liberty and lives.
It is true that many of the official â€œnationalistsâ€ wore long traditional clothes about, making ineffectual speeches in parliament and attending constitutional conferences in LondonÂ where they had the privilege of taking tea with the colonial masters, but the true nationalists were the patriots who looked the colonialists in the face and demanded freedom. They are heroes like Bello Ijumu,Â Aminu Kano, Mokwugo Okoye, Nduka Eze, Anthony EnahoroÂ and Micheal Imoudu who put their lives on the line for freedom.
They are people like Osita Agwuna who on October 27, 1948 on behalf of the organised youths madeÂ public, â€A Call For Revolutionâ€ to cast off colonial rule, and Raji Abdallah who when charged with treasonable felony in 1948, told the court â€œI hate the crown of Britain with all my heart because to me and my countrymen, it is a symbol of oppression, a symbol of persecution, and in short, a material manifestation of iniquityâ€.
No exploiter concedes power by persuasion or repenting of his sins; pressure and power must be applied because as Franz Fanon explained, colonialism is a one-armed bandit. The coal miners who fell that day in Iva Valley had watered the tree of liberty with their blood.
Labour leader and nationalist, Nduka EzeÂ said of the chain reactionÂ of this massacre: â€œThe radicals and the moderates, the revolutionaries and the stooges, the bourgeoisie and the workers, sank their differences, remembered the word-â€˜Nigeriaâ€™ and rose in revolt against evil and inhumanityâ€.
The political scientist, Richard L Sklar wrote on the significance of their sacrifice : â€œ Historians may conclude that the slaying of the coal miners by police at Enugu first proved the subjective reality of a Nigerian nation. No previous event ever evoked a manifestation of national consciousness comparable to the indignation generated by this tragedyâ€.
The coal mine managers were British racists who had a sense of superiority over Nigerians. There were cases of physical abuse. In one case, a Briton T. Yates on September 2, 1945 slapped a worker, Okwudili OjiyiÂ who had the courage to bring up an assault case andÂ Mr Yates was prosecuted and fined.
On November 1, 1949 matters between the workers and management reached a head when the latter rejected demands for the payment of rostering, the upgrading of the mine hewers to artisans and the payment ofÂ housing and travelling allowances. The workers then began a â€œgo slowâ€ strike.
The managementâ€™s reaction was to sack over 50 of them. Fearing that the strike was part of the growing nationalist agitations for self- rule, the management also decided to move outÂ explosives from the mines on November 18, 1949.
Those of the Obwetti mines were easily removed, but that of Iva Valley was not because the workers refused to assist the management to do so.
The Fitzgerald Commission which the colonialists were forced to set up to investigate the massacre, found that â€œthe reason why the miners objected to the removal of the explosives was because they feared that once the explosives were removed, nothing stood in the way of the management closing the mine and thus effecting a lock â€“ outâ€.
Senior Superintendent of Police, F.S.Philip came to the mine to assist in the removal. He had two other officers and75 armed policemen. At a point there was a struggle between three of the policemen and the workers, and Philip withoutÂ any hesitation ordered his men to shoot.
There were mass protests in places like Port Harcourt, Aba and Onitsha and 18 prominent Nigerians set up the National Emergency Committee (NEC) to coordinate a national response to this crime against humanity. It was chaired by Dr Akinola Maja with Mbonu Ojike as secretary.
The colonial government issued a statement that the workers were armed, had tried to disarm the policemen and had attempted to seize the explosives. The Commission found all these to be lies. The Commission which partly blamed the union and said Superintendent Philip committed an error of judgement, found that: â€œ Not one policeman was injured, not one missile was thrown at them (and that) if the crowd was bent on using force against the police nothing could have saved these policemen from grave injury, whereas in fact they were not injured at all”. Such are the bloody legacy of British colonial rule and repression and the peoples struggle for emancipation.
Today, on this 60th commemoration, may the courage, patriotism and selflessness of the martyred Iva Valley miners and those of the true nationalists continue to inspire us in these neo-colonial times.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2009/11/iva-valley-massacre-sixty-years-of-struggle/#sthash.KCplqC7E.dpuf
refreshing to see that college students are beginning to do more than merely
protest against environmental and health-damaging issues pushed by corporate
America. They're also going beyond pushing for labels and
"co-existence." They've started to go for the economic throat of big
business by banning certain toxic products from campuses, such as bottled
Though this story is based on a Harvard student body
decision, as of early 2012, over 90 colleges and universities of varying sizes
and types throughout the USA have banned or restricted bottled water sales as
demanded from student-led referendums and lobbied directives. The motives are
But there are also health issues directly related to using
those plastic bottles and of course tap water. The offered solution is creating
stations on campus that can effectively filter and process out those chemicals
where students and faculty may refill glass or metal containers or even
reusable plastic containers.
Those stations, which purify water with charcoal filtration
and reverse osmosis, have become ubiquitous in health food stores and even
standard supermarkets. Instead of spending a half-dollar to a dollar-and-a-half
for a small bottle of water from multinational corporations that steal water
from regions at no or low cost while reselling their bottled water for high
profit margins, one can spend a quarter to a half-dollar for a gallon of water
purified the same way those multinationals do, if they actually do purify their
water at all.
By the way, Nestle seems to be the Monsanto of water. They
want to own it all, and their CEO has stated that they have that right but
public access to water is not a right. Here's more
Sure, some bottles say they're from certain springs and so
on. But usually they're from purified (maybe) tap water near or at a place
called whatever springs. A few companies have been forced to admit this.
This is not to detract from actual mineral water sources,
such as pricier Volvic water, which a scientist has assured contains silica
with the right type of suspension to leach aluminum from the brain.
Specific issues of
disposable plastic bottled water toxins and their environmental impact
It's not just BPA (bisphenol-A) in malleable plastics that
disrupts hormones as an estrogen mimicker. A recent German study found traces
of several other toxic chemicals in bottled water as well as more substantial
amounts of different chemical endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
Excerpted from a recent Natural News article by staff writer
The study's published abstract explains that 13 of the 18
bottled water products tested exhibited "significant" anti-estrogenic
activity, while 16 of the 18 samples were found to inhibit the body's androgen
receptors by an astounding 90 percent.
Additionally, the other 24,520 chemical traces besides DEHF
were also identified as exhibiting antagonistic activity, which means that
they, too, are detrimental to the body's hormonal system. Here's more
Then there's the issue of land fills, which is obviously an
overburdened toxic hazard, and the Pacific's plastic waste island.
Well, it's not really an island the size of Texas or any
other visible size. It's an estimate of the amount of plastic strewn throughout
the Northern Pacific known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the North
Pacific Gyre (swirl; vortex).
It's more like a stretch of plastic garbage stew, containing
particles that demand close observation to be noticed. But even without the
graphic drama, its ocean-polluting hazards are real.
Banning one-time-use plastic bottled water is a great idea
despite the cries of "anti-free market" from those who refuse to
separate dangerous, greedy corporations from individuals.
The most viable healthy solution would be plastics from
hemp, which is another topic for another time.
US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a picture with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt next to US First Lady Michelle Obama during the memorial service for South African former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)
By Roberto Schmidt
So here’s the photo, my photo, which quickly lit up the world’s social networks and news websites. The “selfie” of three world leaders who, during South Africa’s farewell to Nelson Mandela, were messing about like kids instead of behaving with the mournful gravitas one might expect.
In general on this blog, photojournalists tell the story behind a picture they’ve taken. I’ve done this for images from Pakistan, and India, where I am based. And here I am again, but this time the picture comes from a stadium in Soweto, and shows people taking a photo of themselves. I guess it’s a sign of our times that somehow this image seemed to get more attention than the event itself. Go figure.
Anyway, I arrived in South Africa with several other AFP journalists to cover the farewell and funeral ceremonies for Nelson Mandela. We were in the Soccer City stadium in Soweto, under a driving rain. I’d been there since the crack of dawn and when I took this picture, the memorial ceremony had already been going on for more than two hours.
From the podium, Obama had just qualified Mandela as a “giant of history who moved a nation towards justice." After his stirring eulogy, America’s first black president sat about 150 metres across from where I was set up. He was surrounded by other foreign dignitaries and I decided to follow his movements with the help of my 600 mm x 2 telephoto lens.
So Obama took his place amid these leaders who’d gathered from all corners of the globe. Among them was British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as a woman who I wasn’t able to immediately identify. I later learned it was the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt. I’m a German-Colombian based in India, so I don’t feel too bad I didn’t recognize her! At the time, I thought it must have been one of Obama’s many staffers.
Anyway, suddenly this woman pulled out her mobile phone and took a photo of herself smiling with Cameron and the US president. I captured the scene reflexively. All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two. The atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not. We are in Africa.
(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)
I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture. But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.
I took these photos totally spontaneously, without thinking about what impact they might have. At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you. I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the stadium. For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural. I see nothing to complain about, and probably would have done the same in their place. The AFP team worked hard to display the reaction that South African people had for the passing of someone they consider as a father. We moved about 500 pictures, trying to portray their true feelings, and this seemingly trivial image seems to have eclipsed much of this collective work.
(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)
It was interesting to see politicians in a human light because usually when we see them it is in such a controlled environment. Maybe this would not be such an issue if we, as the press, would have more access to dignitaries and be able to show they are human as the rest of us.
I confess too that it makes me a little sad we are so obsessed with day-to-day trivialities, instead of things of true importance.
During Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)
correzione...(.... altre culture altre concezione....).la morte e funerale di Mandela non è un evento trieste nella cultura Africana...quindi ben venga balli, feste, fotografie , giochi...Si chiama da noi 'festa di funerale' cioè celebrando il bel grande passaggio all' altro stato con le feste: Quindi Go on Obama & co!!!!
Un autoscatto da big. In occasione del memorial
dedicato a Nelson Mandela, non mancano le foto ricordo per un evento che
ha raccolto in Sudafrica i grandi del mondo. Al centro, tra Barack
Obama e David Cameron, il primo ministro danese Helle Thoring Schmidt.
Non è chiaro a chi appartenga lo smartphone ma negli Usa si leva già
qualche voce critica per l'atteggiamento troppo scherzoso tenuto dal
presidente in tribuna per un'occasione così solenne e triste (non
assecondanto da Michelle, come si vede anche nella foto in cui il presidente scherza con la Schmidt). Il giornale di tech Mashable,
ad esempio, già titola: "Caro Obama, i funerali non sono luoghi adatti a
un autoscatto". Su Twitter molti utenti criticano il cattivo gusto, e
anche la mancanza di tatto per non aver incluso Michelle nella foto. La
fotografia è di Roberto Schmidt, Afp/Getty (afp)
Il massaggio Shiatsu che si effettua tramite la pressione delle dita, dei palmi delle mani e dei piedi e dei gomiti su tutto il corpo, agisce sui punti energetici considerati dall'agopuntura. Stimola la circolazione sanguigna ed il flusso linfatico, agisce sul sistema nervoso allentando la tensione muscolare più profonda, rimuove le tossine dei tessuti, risveglia il sistema ormonale e sollecita la capacità di autoguarigione del corpo.