Sometime last year, Steve and I watched a documentary series on TV called "Ross Kemp in search of pirates". I will never forget seeing the images of the pollution in the Niger Delta. As Ross travelled up a stretch of waterway in a small boat, the camera caught the metres-wide strip of rubbish that sat on top of the water all along the edge where the water met the bank. And then behind that were the shacks, where people 'lived'. I was astonished that people could live in such a place. And I was even more astonished that it had got into such a state in the first place. Surely, you think to yourself, ordinary sane people would never allow that. But, oil companies are not run by ordinary sane people!
I have found on YouTube the video clip that I saw on the Ross Kemp programme and you can watch it for yourself here. I have also found an article describing how Nigeria got into such a dreadful state, as a result of the appalling human rights violations and gross environmental negligence of the oil companies: "Niger Delta - by the Light of Shell's Flares Bursting in Air!"
Those images have stuck with me. I don't believe I have seen worse images of environmental degradation anywhere - even though there are dreadful things going on all over the globe. Then mid-last week, suddenly remembering those images again, I said to Steve that I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of those responsible for that pollution, for they will experience first hand what they have done, when they pass to the next world. Their life may be cruisy now, but their life in the next world won't be. They do have a reckoning coming, even if they deny it.
That night, I had a dream about what was coming to those people. I didn't ask to see it, but for some reason the Lord decided to show it to me. I found myself standing in front of a table with a book sitting on it. It was one of those books that is crammed full of high quality colour photos, with little text. The sort of thing that might sit on a coffee table. It was open and as I looked down and focused my attention on the photos, I realised that they were of a terror that was so horrible it was beyond anything one could imagine. The images were of masses of naked bodies, all black, in positions that suggested unimaginable torment. I could barely look at them, they were so dreadful. They were like serious close-ups of bodies in piles, such as were found in the concentration camps. I kept taking glances and then turning away. But I couldn't get rid of the sick feeling I had - like I was standing in a medieval torture chamber that was so large it constituted the whole world.
I began turning pages back toward the beginning of the book, in a bid to turn away the horror and find something nice to look at. But as I turned, I found more and more images, just as bad as before. As I turned, the horror became relentless. There seemed to be no escape. I began to see that the book had sections, and each section was devoted to a different 'shade' of torment. First, there was a section of male bodies, and then a section of female ones, and so on. I said to myself: "Dear Lord, there are variations on torment! Endless variations! Surely, this is hell. Anyone who has seen this would never do anything that might displease the Lord, for fear that they might end up here!" I wanted the experience to end, and so I kept turning the pages and trying to get to the beginning of the book. Then it dawned on me that there was no beginning of the book. I could turn forever and the sections of the book would vary and vary and vary, but the horror would never end. When I realised the book had no beginning, I woke up in shock. I knew that I had been shown images from a book depicting hell. But those who live there, never leave, never wake up.
Later, I wondered why all the images were of black bodies and I thought of the movie "Amazing Grace". The man in that movie who was responsible for carrying 20,000 Africans by ship to America was tormented by the images of those souls. I guess those responsible for polluting the Niger Delta, and forcing its inhabitants to live in misery, will be similarly tormented by images of those they have so badly wronged. If they ever saw what I have seen, they would crawl on the ground like a snake if it meant avoiding that fate. Anyone who knew it to be their lot would do anything to avoid it.