Monday, 14 March 2011

Bitter sweet with Seven Weeks for Water

This week's Seven Weeks for Water has just been posted and includes a trailer from the documentary film "Sweet Crude" by Sandy Cioffi. The focus is water and oil, specifically in relation to the Niger Delta.

Rev. Canon Dr. Ezekiel Olusegun Babatunde, from Immanuel College of Theology and director of the Institute of Church and Society of the Christian Council of Nigeria, has written this week's biblical reflection on Transforming the bitter water waters of Marah. Remembering the Exodus story of Moses making the bitter water sweet, Babatunde looks at the desperate need for transformation in the Niger Delta where oil spills are common place and water is turned bitter with pollution. Here's a taster:
Today, in the Niger Delta area people are also thirsty, searching for clean water in order to survive, similar to the Israelites in Exodus. Their situation is “bitter” – despite an abundance of water around them, they have no water to drink. Searching for clean and drinkable water is a herculean task particularly for women and children who often walk more than three kilometers to get water for their families. Like many other blessed nations situated in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria has abundant natural resources, particularly oil, which has made it attractive to multinationals scrambling for its resources. Three decades of oil exploitation have caused ecological devastation in the region. Water provided by various rivers in the area has been polluted, making it undrinkable. ... The Niger delta seems to be indeed a place of bitterness. Yet its inhabitants have not lost their hope and faith. ... The Nigerian people need such leaders, leaders who can liberate them, who can bring justice to the innocent men, women and children who have been mistreated, and to those to whom access to good drinkable water and a good life have been denied. Leaders who will, like Moses, not only purify water but heal the people and restore their trust.
You can find further background to the situation in the Niger Delta here and an article on the dilemma of restorative justice in that situation.
Meanwhile to be part of transforming bitterness to sweetness you can join the oil fast, or sign Operation Noah’s oil resolution asking for the world’s biggest oil producers Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum to be removed from the Stoxx Europe Christian Index. You can also pray for "Just Water" and use the EWN-WSCF prayer resource “Just Water” for the Universal Day of Prayer for Students (21 March) and World Water Day (22 March) to pray for justice and peace for all people.It's just one week away.

Photo: Daniel Zimmel