The Open Sore of a Continent
A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis
By (author) Wole Soyinda
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Open Sore of a Continent by Wole Soyinda
Book DescriptionOn November 10, 1995, the Nigerian military government under General Sani Abacha executed dissident writer Ken Saro-Wiwa along with eight other activists, and the international community reacted with outrage. The response was quick, decisive, and nearly unanimous: Nigeria is an outcast in the global village. The events that led up to Saro-Wiwa's execution mark Nigeria's decline from a post-colonial success story to its current military dictatorship, and few writers have been more outspoken in decrying and lamenting this decline than Nobel Prize laureate and Nigerian exile Wole Soyinka. In The Open Sore of a Continent, Soyinka, whose own Nigerian passport was confiscated 1994, explores the history and future of Nigeria in a compelling jeremiad that is as intense as it is provocative, learned, and wide-ranging. He deftly explains the shifting dramatis personae of Nigerian history and politics , arguing that 'a glance at the mildewed tapestry of the stubbornly unfinished nation edifice' is necessary to explain where Nigeria can go next. In the process of elucidating the Nigerian crisis, Soyinka opens readers to the broader questions of nationhood, identity, and the general state of African culture and politics at the end of the twentieth century. He examines the different ways in which a nation can be defined, and asks how these varying definitions impact the people who live under them? Soyinka concludes with a resounding call for international attention to this question: the global community must address the issue of nationhood to prevent further religious mandates and calls for ethnic purity of the sort that have turned Algeria, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Sri Lanka into killing fields.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780195119213
(204mm x 135mm x 10mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 20-Nov-1997
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Wole Soyinda
Palm Wine Drinkard, Paperback (July 2014)
A novel that tells the phantasmagorical story of an alcoholic man and his search for his dead palm-wine tapster. As he travels through the land of the dead, he encounters a host of supernatural and often terrifying beings - among them the complete gentleman who returns his body parts to their owners and the insatiable hungry-creature.
Of Africa, Paperback (January 2014)
Seeks to understand how the Africa's history is entwined with the histories of others, while exploring Africa's truest assets: "its humanity, the quality and valuation of its own existence, and modes of managing its environment - both physical and intangible (which includes the spiritual)".
Forest of a Thousand Daemons, Paperback (September 2013)» View all books by Wole Soyinda
The first novel written in the Yoruba language and one of the first to be written in any African language.
US Kirkus Review » Nobelist Soyinka (Art, Dialogue, and Outrage, 1994; Ake, 1982; etc.) takes on the despotic regime of his native Nigeria in this series of scathing jeremiads. From its first days of nationhood, Nigeria has been plagued by an almost endless succession of violence, spectacular corruption (over $12 billion in oil revenues from the Gulf War just disappeared), and ethnic rivalries. The latest round of troubles began in June 1993, when national elections were voided by a repressive military coup. Soyinka himself went into exile, where he has served as a strong and constant protesting voice (even if, as he admits, he failed to vote in the elections). But the world took little note until the recent trumped up trial and hasty execution of writer Ken Saro-Wiwa along with eight other activists. But despite forceful protests and threats by other countries, the tacit fact is that Africa has been left to the Africans. Any solutions will have to be homegrown. So as Soyinka traces the roots of what went wrong in 1993, he also meditates on the meaning of nationalism and nationhood. This is a vital issue for a country as divided as Nigeria, its arbitrary borders enclosing innumerable tribes as well as three major religions. Soyinka's vague, half-hearted solution is what he calls an ethical "remapping." This is to be accomplished by a series of regional conferences in troubled parts of the globe like Nigeria. As Soyinka notes: "The history of many nations is so flawed that it screams constantly for redress." But as Canada has shown, even reasoned, ethical attempts at redress have proven difficult, although at least not fratricidal. Unfortunately, Soyinka's righteous, angry words are unevenly delivered. Often awkward, even strained, his prose has a rushed journalistic feel to it, certainly a far cry from the polish he displays as a playwright and memoirist. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Wole Soyinda
Wole Soyinka, an internationally acclaimed playwright, essayist, and memoirist, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. In exile from his Nigerian homeland, Soyinka divides his time between London and Cambridge, Massachussetts. He is the author of Collected Plays, Dance of the Forests, The Lion and the Jewel, The Road, Kongi's Harvest, and Three Short Plays (all OUP).
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