Have you ever read a book that caused you sleepless nights after reading it? Every once in a while I’ll pick up one that has me tossing and turning with thoughts of it piercing my mind.
Just recently, I read Eclipse by Richard North Patterson, one of my favorite authors. His story has been in my head ever sense. Patterson drew me in gently, and then without warning he possessed my mind, pierced my conscience while shattering my heart. This is a story of man’s inhumanity to humanity. This story is about our dependence on oil and the monster it has created because of greed.
It’s about a gentle man who wants peace and environmental rights for his people, and he is willing to stand up for them at the cost of his life and others around him. Eclipse is a sad story, but there is hope in it along with a most certain fatalism.
Even though Eclipse is a work of fiction the origin for this story is Nigeria fifteen years ago when an environmental and human rights activist was hung by a corrupt dictator. The corruption, including oil bunkering, still goes on today in the Niger Delta and the environmental despoliation has continued. Patterson simplified the law for the lay persons like you and me, and it was easy for me to read and understand what went on during that period.
How much blame we must shoulder in the Western hemisphere is up to each individual. Myself, I believe our reliance on oil and all other oil dependent countries have created these fiends. My judgment is we should not buy oil from a country where the people don’t reap the benefits, but a corrupt government does. The ethnic group who lives in the Niger Delta is being murdered on a daily basis. It’s genocide pure and simple, and the land is without any law controlled by the lawless.
There is a love story in this story and Patterson weaves it in magnificently. He is a master storyteller who has managed to weave both fact and fiction throughout Eclipse. I recommend this book to both men and women to read. Just remember you may never get the descriptions out of your mind.
We as a people need to know that the basic human rights that we all take for granted have to be fought for, and if we ever stop fighting for them we’ll lose them. Nigeria is still fighting, but with a corrupt government it is an uphill battle.
After reading Eclipse I felt horrible shame for all we have at the expense of others. Do we really have that right? It’s a good question for all of us to ask of ourselves, but only after reading this story.
This is a thinking person’s book, and it is very worth reading.
Have a great week.