Is your life worth $700,000?

“Europe’s largest oil company agreed on Monday to a $15.5 million payout to settle a lawsuit over alleged complicity in human rights abuses under the former military regime in Nigeria during the 1990s.

The case, initiated 13 years ago, had been due for trial in the United States next week.

The victims included the Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who led a non-violent protest against environmental destruction and abuses against the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta. He was hanged in 1995 along with other activists after standing trial in a military court. The activists’ deaths triggered international condemnation and outrage.

Though willing to pay up, Shell was quick to reject the claims concerning the 1995 execution of six anti-Shell activists by the African country’s military regime.”

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I know that money won’t bring the dead back, and I know that something is better than nothing at all, but I also know that a life is worth more than $700,000! These oil companies make billions, so milions is a drop in the ocean. The oil giant has made that 15 million back many times over since the ruling was decided, plus the company accepts no responsibility for the activists’ deaths. Surely the point of the case was to show how the company played a part in the executions, yet suddenly money made everything all right.

The developed world takes advantage of Africa so often. The ‘western world’ dumps chemical waste on African beaches or rivers, pollutes the African atmosphere by pumping more harmful chemicals into the air, and then destroys farmers’ livelihood through unfair trade. What do some African leaders do? They let it happen time and time again because they’re in a huge mansion with luxuries, that you and I can only dream of, far away from the people suffering the consequences of greed.

So….is your life worth $700,000?