While Obama and his cronies continue to pressure the Nigerian government into making concessions to the Boko Haram Islamist terrorist group, which has murdered thousands of Christians and is believed to have ties with Al Qaeda, Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s only Nobel Laureate, the first black person to win a Nobel Prize for literature and the only African to win a Nobel Peace Prize for something other than the ubiquitous “Peace”, has spoken out against the “abysmal appeasement” of such a policy.
Soyinka, a 78-year-old playwright and essayist, was once marked for death by one Nigerian military ruler. He has both has feuded with and befriended others. Africa’s most populous nation now has a civilian government, though the military remains a powerful behind-the-scenes force.
Despite his often strained relations with his country’s military, Soyinka said the military go after Boko Haram while avoiding civilian casualties.
He acknowledged that grinding poverty in Nigeria’s north gave rise to Boko Haram, but said negotiating with “mass murderers” would not end the cycle of violence tearing at the country. He also suspects that crooked politicians had a role in Boko Haram’s early rise.
Politicians who wanted to rig elections “activated this brainwashed horde of religious militants. That’s how it started,” Soyinka told foreign journalists in Lagos. Boko Haram members then “looked at those who unleashed them and they realized they were being manipulated. … And now they are completely out of control.”
Soyinka called the prospect of the government engaging in peace talks “abysmal appeasement.”
“The issue has become a security issue in which the question becomes: who goes down? Is (it) the community, the nation, the society that goes down or is it a bunch of killers who are totally beyond control?”
That is of course not just the question of Boko Haram’s war in Nigeria, but the entire question of the Clash of Civilizations. Will societies and nations fall or will a bunch of killers who fight to impose their killer religion on the rest of the world be forced back on their heels?
Wole has expressed similar sentiments in other interviews.
You go from the rejection of books to the rejection of institutions which utilise the book, and that means virtually all institutions. You attack universities, you kill professors, then you butcher students, you close down primary schools, you try and create a religious Maginot Line through which nothing should penetrate. That’s not religion; that’s lunacy. My Christian family lived just next door to Muslims. We celebrated Ramadan with Muslims; they celebrated Christmas with Christians. This is how I grew up. And now this virus is spreading all around the world, leading to the massacre of 50 students. This is not taking arms against the state, this is taking up arms against humanity.
The unrest which is taking place as a result of Boko Haram, in my view, has attained critical mass. When a movement reaches that state of total contempt even for universal norms, it is sending a message to the rest of the world, and to the rest of that nation, that this is a war to the end. The president of Nigeria is making a mistake in not telling the nation that it should place itself on a war footing. There’s too much pussyfooting, there’s too much false intellectualisation of what is going on, such as this is the result of corruption, this is the result of poverty, this is the result of marginalisation. Yes, of course, all these negativities have to do with what is happening right now. But when the people themselves come out and say we will not even talk to the president unless he converts to Islam, they are already stating their terms of conflict.
He appraised the spate of violence across the country and expressed his belief that “Nigeria is at war.”
Soyinka said: “I believe Nigeria is at war, the war is between forces of light and darkness, intellect and retrogressive thinking,forces of hatred against humanism.
“I believe that if we surrender to these forces, we cease to be human.
And he has traced the atrocities in Sudan to the Arab slave trade
Tracing the abuses to a vestigial legacy of the Arab slave trade that pre-dated transatlantic slavery, and likening the Darfur cause to anti-apartheid, when “non-Africans felt aggrieved by the assault heaped on humanity”, Soyinka says: “This can’t go on. Over 2 million refugees, and still raids by Janjaweed, backed by the Sudanese government military, with the war spilling into neighbouring countries.” Instead of public indictments and sanctions with teeth, “people make token resolutions. It’s yet another failure. I don’t understand how this can be happening in the 21st century.”
This isn’t the first time that the African Nobel Laureate has spoken out and been blasted for his words. And he has had some interesting things to say about the willingness of the West to accommodate Islamism.
“England is a cesspit. England is the breeding ground of fundamentalist Muslims. Its social logic is to allow all religions to preach openly. But this is illogic, because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence. And yet England allows it. Remember, that country was the breeding ground for communism, too. Karl Marx did all his work in libraries there.”
Why is Britain the way it is? “This is part of the character of Great Britain,” Mr. Soyinka declares. “Colonialism bred an innate arrogance, but when you undertake that sort of imperial adventure, that arrogance gives way to a feeling of accommodativeness. You take pride in your openness.” And so it is, he says, that Britain lets everyone preach whatever they want: It confirms a self-image of greatness.