I was just listening to Public Radio International's The World and was pleasantly surprised to hear them discussing the disaster in Ecuador and interviewing the lead plaintiff in the suit against Chevron! Go here and click "download mp3" to hear the piece for yourself:
Ecuadorians Share Lessons for Battling Oil Companies
It was deeply moving, and quite horrifying, to hear the man's account of what happened when oil company personnel showed up in his village in 1963. He explains that his people had never seen helicopters before, and initially fled into the jungle, thinking some type of strange ghost had arrived.
He goes on to describe the oil company cutting down the trees which were sacred to his people. It's like a scene right out of the film "Avatar."
Then he explains that his people had never seen oil before, and that when they asked the oil company employees if the oil flowing into the river which provided their drinking water was dangerous, they were told that it was not only perfectly safe, but that it had medicinal properties, and could be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses!
This is mind-boggling to me. Why would anybody deliberately mis-inform the villagers? Were they intentionally trying to kill these people? Was it all just a big, funny practical joke to them?
"Hey, get a load of this: I just told them dumb sonsabitches that drinking oil was good for 'em, and they believed me!"
Because of what was done to their families and to their rain forest home, some Ecuadorians have concluded that God is dead.
I don't think God is dead, but I do suspect He's very angry.