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In defence of Soyinka


 Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka

Sir: Whatever Professor Wole Soyinka says or does these days makes the news. Some people never tire of interpreting his actions in ways pleasing to them even when they are in a derisive and gauche manner. His stance on the election in the United States and the victory of Donald Trump is now a vocation for denunciation from those who see him as their bete noire.

But I wonder! Should people spend half their time in quarrels especially against statesmen known for holding age-long convictions on issues without fail? Here is a man known for confronting bad behaviour from his youthful days. Why should he change now? I wonder if the other 70 Nobel Prize winners who denounced Trump are also taking a bashing from their country’s citizens. The same goes for some UN scribes who openly rooted for Hillary and warned of a Trump victory. Maybe Americans will even stop reading the New York Times and watching CNN for obliquely supporting Hillary Clinton.

Respect for differing views that aren’t based on demagoguery must be encouraged. Soyinka is no demagogue. His views are not given as a fallout from primal emotion but within the ambit of thought and reason. His ideas can be questioned no doubt, he isn’t infallible. But what doesn’t make sense is to see folks without character question his motive for his actions and his level of patriotism.

Although in the evening of his life, Soyinka is not tired of being resourceful to the world. These bogus experts who love to criticise his every move should, like Abraham Lincoln once admonished, submit to “the better angels” of their nature to be courageous for the right reasons and for the common good.

At Soyinka’s age and stage of achievement, a venture to the Americas is no more a thrilling experience but he wants a thrilling experience for youngsters. This is the chief reason that he campaigns for the world becoming smaller, rather than larger.

Until we rid the mind of the cankerworm of hatred and strive to improve conditions for others, we cannot move the world forward and collectively advance human consciousness.

Simon Abah wrote from Port Harcourt.

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Wole Soyinka
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