M.E.N.D.: Movement for the Emancipation of the Nigerian Delta is approximately 25 pages long and consists of a series of images accompanied by quotes from Jomo Gbomo, the alleged guerrilla leader of the militant group, M. E. N. D. There is a foreword written by Fergus Gleeson, a brief explanation of the work, and a brief explanation of events in the Nigerian Delta, presumably by the artist, Josh Mongeau. It’s very difficult to describe this book as it’s not a story or truly a work of nonfiction. In looking up the item on Amazon where it was originally published via Createspace, I found additional information from the author who explained that his inspiration came from watching news events on BBC.

The work’s introduction is drawn as though it were written on a chalkboard. The smears of white make it difficult to read. The forward follows and explains the contest of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Nigerian Delta, describing Mongeau’s work as “vibrant, evocative and beautiful.”

The first spread depicts a graphic of the M.E.N.D. slogan, accompanied by a shadow picture of a man typing at a laptop in the jungle — a representation of Jomo Gbomo, the name given to the movement’s spokesperson who communicates via laptop from the jungle. This is followed by a series of images showing indistinct images of people, places, and events. The art style shifts to a lighter, pencil sketch style interspersing pictures of people going about their daily life amidst armed conflict. Some appear to be depicting actual events, like canoes and small boats surrounding a large ship which then seems to escalate into some kind of attack. The images shift back to indistinct, shadowed pictures and they culminate in an explosion, the colors bleeding into yellow and signaling a violent finale. Among the quotes from Gbomo is a section written by the Human Rights Watch regarding the conflict in the Nigerian Delta.

Amazon’s website lists this book as “M.E.N.D. Book #1” so it is possibly the first title in a planned series. It’s available on Baker and Taylor, as well as Amazon, but it’s difficult to see an audience for this piece. It’s more of a piece of art than an introduction to a complex and controversial set of issues and current events. Without any background knowledge, the pictures don’t carry much meaning and feel almost like propaganda. This might be of interest in an academic library, or as supplemental material to more in-depth works on M.E.N.D. and the African conflict, but is unlikely to find a place in the average adult graphic novel collection in a public library.

M.E.N.D. Movement for the Emancipation of the Nigerian Delta
by Josh Mongeau
ISBN: 9781489521323
Createspace, 2013

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library


    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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