From Tunde Oyedoyin, London
(Guardian Monday 9th July 2007, http://www.guardiannewsngr.com)
NOBEL laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, has accused the United States (U.S.) and other Western nations of deliberately and subtly wiping out any form of civilisation that doesn’t fit theirs.
According to the 1986 Nobel prize winner for Literature, the West would rather destroy any other form of civilisation than allow it to thrive parallel to it.
“If you can’t have it, and you don’t own it,” then “flood it,” is the philosophy of the West”, Soyinka argued, while speaking on “Civilisation, dead or alive,” at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, venue of the London Literature Festival on Saturday evening.
He described the U.S. invasion of Iraq as America’s way “of denying Iraqis their civilisation.” Besides, he accused the Americans of imposing their form of democracy on Iraq. America wasn’t the only country that came under his hammer as he condemned the attitude of the West to other cultures and civilisations, saying, the West always ensure that any civilisation that doesn’t originate from it is wiped out.
The literary icon added that the West was guilty of manipulating “civilisation to suit themselves.”
To buttress his claims, Soyinka pointed accusing fingers at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which, according to him, is “guilty of not helping to preserve the civilisation of the Afghanistans,” when the Talibans invaded the country a couple of years ago.
He said: “Since variety is the spice of life, other cultures and civilisations must be allowed to thrive,” alongside those of the West. And more importantly, there has to be an end to the “exorcist mentality,” of the West, Soyinka stated.
Turning to his own continent Soyinka, who blazed the trail as the first African to receive the Nobel prize for Literature when he won the coveted award 21 years ago, said Africa has not helped itself in proving to the world that civilisation existed among its people before the missionaries came in.” The lack of African historians made the western world feel the continent wasn’t civilised.”
Religion, particularly Christianity and Islam, were not spared either, as the Nobel laureate vented his fury on the two foremost faiths in the world. “I’m very bitter about what religion has done to the world,” he noted.
Soyinka, who according to a spokeswoman of the organisers “was given the liberty to choose the topic he wanted to speak on,” after agreeing to deliver the lecture, continued: “I’m for methodology, not religion.”
He also added his voice to those of many African leaders who have asked the United Nations (UN) to intervene in the Darfur crisis. “It is genocide,” and therefore, the “UN must intervene in Sudan on behalf of over two million people who have been displaced.”