The devastating impact of 50 years of oil exploitation on the Niger Delta.

The devastating impact of 50 years of oil exploitation on the Niger Delta.

The devastating impact of 50 years of oil exploitation on the Niger Delta.

Notes from different corners of the world.
Sept. 5 2008 7:43 AM

Curse of the Black Gold

The devastating impact of 50 years of oil exploitation in the Niger Delta.

Fifty years ago, oil was discovered in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Today, at 2.1 million barrels per day, Nigeria is the sixth-largest oil-producing country in the world and a major oil partner of the United States.  Although its oil industry generates millions of dollars in revenues daily, the average resident of the Niger Delta struggles to survive on less than $1 per day.

These startling facts are portrayed in Curse of the Black Gold, a multimedia video produced by Julie Winokur of Talking Eyes Media. The video, which contains hundreds of photographs by Ed Kashi, exposes the enormous costs and devastating impact of oil exploitation on the region. The impassioned voices of Nigerian activists and poets describe how the convergence of government corruption, irresponsible oil-company practices, and abject poverty has created a militant movement seeking redress.

Photos in the video were culled from Kashi's award-winning book Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta. The book, edited by Michael Watts, also features text by Nigerian journalists and human-rights activists.

Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker, and educator.

Julie Winokur is a documentary filmmaker and founding director of Talking Eyes Media. This film was co-produced with MediaStorm.